Iowa State Details Plane Trips For President’s Doctor Visits

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State University is detailing trips in which a university airplane flew President Steven Leath to and from Minnesota so that he could attend personal medical appointments.

Leath announced last month he was reimbursing $3,800 for costs of flying to doctors’ visits at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, a three-hour drive from Ames.

Leath said that he believed that the plane use was appropriate “because I had to get back to Ames for important university commitments.” But after an audit questioned those flights, he said he’d feel “more comfortable” paying himself.

Leath didn’t specify which of his numerous Rochester trips the reimbursement covered.

ISU spokeswoman Megan Landolt said Thursday the reimbursements covered flights in which university pilots dropped Leath off in October 2015 and picked him up days later and a same-day March 2016 roundtrip.

Landolt said the reimbursement didn’t include multiple flights Leath made to Rochester in July 2015, days after he made a hard landing in the university’s smaller airplane. She says those were fundraising trips.

A spokesman says the Division of Criminal Investigation is still investigating Iowa State’s flights. State law prohibits the use of public assets for private purposes.

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