Embattled local official wants promotion

Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

Branded “not authorized to speak” by his own board and the possible subject of county and state investigations, Scott Japp wants a promotion.

Scott Japp

Known mostly, if not only, for his run-ins with the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District—the tax supported agency responsible for building dams to keep Omaha from flooding—Japp announced Monday (today) that he’s running for the state legislature.

In a statement released to Nebraska Watchdog, Japp—who lives in the small Washington County town of Arlington in District 16—says he’s stood up to “special interests and corruption” on the NRD board.

And while he doesn’t attack incumbent Sen. Lydia Brasch by name, Japp says voters in the district need results not “hackneyed excuses for failure” especially when it comes to tax reform.

Sen. Lydia Brasch

Twice this year Japp has been publicly censured by the 11-member Papio board which has accused Japp of “rude and abusive behavior “to staff and fellow board members as well as “extreme and reckless assertions and accusations” concerning the NRD.

Japp has fought a proposed 225-acre, $42 million dam site in northwest Douglas County due to be completed in two years.

While the NRD is acquiring land for the project, Japp apparently is urging landowners to cut a separate deal.

According to a Nov. 25, 2013, letter sent to Nebraska Watchdog by the NRD, Japp, who signed the letter, made the following sales pitch:

“I have been asked to represent Canudigit LLC, a firm which wants to acquire a lease agreement for the topsoil and the mineral material aggregates on the section of land…that would be acquired from a governmental agency. This royalty would be addition (sic) revenue to the price you would receive from the sale of the land to the PMNRD.”

When asked by Nebraska Watchdog to explain his dealings with Canudigit, Japp said the company’s lawyer asked him to circulate the letter.

“I know nothing about the company,” he insists.

Papio General Manager John Winkler calls the move an “effort to interfere with the NRD’s land acquisition program.”

After first making the Douglas County Attorney aware of Japp’s actions, last week the board asked the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission to investigate Japp.

Both Brasch and Japp are Republicans.

Brasch was elected to the legislature in 2010.

Japp’s been elected to the NRD board twice by voters in Washington, Burt, Thurston, and Dakota counties; his seat is up in 2016.

Contact Joe Jordan at joe@nebraskawatchdog.org and listen to Joe every Monday morning at 7:40 on KFAB radio in Omaha.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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