Romney Visits Iowa ‘Farmer’ Who Is Also A Millionaire Real Estate Mogul With A Spaceship House

Written by Stephen Lacey

If Mitt Romney wants to change perceptions that he’s out of touch with the average American, he might want to try a little harder.

In an attempt to show his concern for farmers hit by the devastating drought that has swept 78 percent of the country, Romney had a photo-op with Iowa “farmer” Lemar Koethe. However, Koethe isn’t exactly the rugged down-home farmer struggling to keep his operation going that you might expect.

Or should I say operations — 54 of them. Yes, according to the Des Moines Register, Koethe owns 54 soy and corn farms. And that’s just one of his jobs.

In previous reports on his activity over the years from the Des Moines Register, Koethe is also a described as a millionaire, a real estate mogul, and a former concert promoter who booked acts like Slipknot at his 24,000 square foot event center.

Making this farmer’s life that much different from the average person, Koethe lives in a spaceship house. It might not have a car elevator like Romney’s planned home, but it’s got its own car wash bay and recreation center (see a photo here).

Here’s how the home was described by the Environmental Design Group:

Arguably one of the most distinctive homes in Iowa-if not the nation-this personal residence takes unique architecture to a new level. It contains an underground garage equipped for multiple vehicles, as well as a car wash bay. The lower level also contains a large recreation center with an art display area. Grade-level entry provides access to the elevator and a spiral staircase rising 35 feet to the main living area. The main level provides an amazing panoramic view of the area.

Not your typical farmhouse.

Finally, according to figures from the EWG Farm Subsidies database, Koethe has received $130,575 in conservation payments from the federal government. Conservation payments, which add up to about $5 billion in federal spending each year, are typically used by the government to encourage farmers not to grow crops — sometimes to stabilize prices and sometimes to preserve land.

Like a lot of people in the agricultural sector, Koethe says the drought is hurting some of his crops. Ultimately, when it comes to voicing his concerns, it shouldn’t matter if the man owns one farm, 10 farms, or 54 farms — he’s taking a hit like everyone else.

But really, Romney? Out of the hundreds of thousands of farmers being impacted by the drought — many of them family farmers struggling to keep their heads above water — you had to meet the millionaire real estate mogul who lives in a spaceship house with an underground car wash and recreation center?

Add another example to the list of “out of touch” Romney moments during this campaign.

This post was originally published by Climate Progress.


Related Stories:

More and More of the Earth Is Getting Hotter and Hotter

12 Ways To Combat Drought’s Effect On Food Prices

Conversations About Weird Weather


AP Photo/Mary Altaffer


Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle5 years ago

Poor Mitt. I actually feel sorry for him, because he'll go to his grave not knowing what real life is. He WANTS to be president for his own power reasons, not for altruistic reasons of helping America and Americans grow again. He doesn't GET it. He doesn't know what real work, having life problems, are all about, and that's a shame. I LOVE being an adult and solving the problems life comes up with. He can't feel comfortable except in the shallow ring of the rich.

I don't give my vote for sympathy reasons though, so President Obama, supporting my view of life and the world, will get my vote. (whoops, that was supposed to be private in the voting booth ... my bad)

Wendy Schroeder
Wendy Schroeder5 years ago

Romney can't relate to real people. That's another reason I can't vote for Android and Randroid for office.

Maurice Simoens
Maurice Simoens5 years ago

romney the alien,rom go home,vote obama 2012

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown5 years ago


Randy Robertson
Randy Robertson5 years ago

Kevin B: That's what I said. Corporate and Rich "donations" are actually "protection" money. You have to fight to get that changed. RepugliCons are buying the Election!!!!

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown5 years ago

No Randy "cutting govenment" in Republicanese only means cutting programs for the poor and working class, children, women, the disabled, the elderly, social security, medicare, etc.

It never includes cutting subsidies to corporations, defense contrators, or any other program that benefits the rich and wealthy.

Randy Robertson
Randy Robertson5 years ago

Romney wants to cut Gov. spending? Bet that sure opened up some pockets for donations to the Mega corporations/rich feeding at the pork barrel not wanting their subsidies cut!!

Deirdre B.
Deirdre Boyne5 years ago

I have no idea how to respond to this. I am....just in so much shock. Cherry M. has made very good points, and for this, I give my applaud.

Lin Moy
Lin M5 years ago


Michael C.
Michael C5 years ago

Now that is what I the words of GeoBush, reaching out to your base, I mean constituents.

I believe that I hear music in the background, something from the movie, "Love Story," something about dog...but wait, Mitt "the Shat" Romney promised that he would treat Americans like he did his dog.

Isn't he the one that once went on vacation with his dog strapped to the roof of his car.

I don't know about you but if you liked those 8 years with that funny guy, GeoBush, the next 4 years with Romney/Ryan will kill you.