Note: AKSARBENT's first post about the gay boycott of Wells Blue Bunny was here; the boycott was lauched on facebook because of the longstanding financial enablement by the Wells family of this homophobic Iowa anti-gay activist. A comprehensive "How to" guide to boycotting Wells Blue Bunny will appear by clicking the so-named tab at the top of this page.
The Iowa Family Leader, the PAC of which received at least $25,000 from Wells Blue Bunny owners, is well known for disseminating nasty propaganda by discredited homophobic academics like Paul Cameron as well as junk statistics and biased studies unpublished and untouchable by responsible professional organizations. The video above shows the down-and-dirty underbelly of Bob Vander Plaats' organization.
But gay people aren't the only ones Wells Blue Bunny's owners exploit.
Wells' luxurious current corporate headquarters was built in 2005 at a cost of $30,000,000. Legislators had hoped that government subsidies for the well-heeled firm would be taken care of by tax credits through the New Jobs and Income Program, which helped "needy" companies like Wells Dairy by exempting them from sales and use taxes on building materials for new capital investments.The South Plant was designed to produce a new low-fat, low-sodium dessert created jointly by Wells' Dairy and Omaha's ConAgra, as well as to expand Wells ice cream production by some 20 million gallons annually. The new plant  was built with the aid of a $600,000 forgivable loan to Wells' Dairy from the Iowa Department of Economic Development. Since the new plant planned to employ some 245 new workers, government officials offered the incentive to promote Iowa's economic health. However, some critics referred to the loan derisively as a form of corporate welfare...
In 1997 the company pled guilty to federal charges of fixing milk prices in contracts with Minnesota, South Dakota, and Iowa school districts from 1986 to 1992. In this case, heard in the U.S. District Court in St. Paul, the dairy accepted a $1 million criminal fine and agreed to cooperate with investigations into price fixing in the dairy industry. The company also agreed to negotiate restitution settlements with the school districts, while prosecutors agreed not to bring criminal charges against any company leaders.
Mike Wells, CEO of Wells Dairy,
Inc., and friend/funder of Bob
Vander Plaats' campaign to recall
all Iowa Supreme Court Justices
But that wasn't enough for the greedy Wells family, which had threatened to build the company's HQ in Nebraska or South Dakota. As the Cedar Valley Courier reported:
How to boycott Wells Blue BunnyWells' officials, however, have indicated they would prefer to lease their new building. Legislators say they want to expand the tax incentive program to companies that lease their buildings, a growing business trend.The Iowa Values Fund board is scheduled to meet Thursday, and it is possible other incentives for Wells' could be on the agenda.
Rants said state economic development officials were in his office Monday morning asking for the changes to the incentive program, and lawmakers have put the issue on the fast track with the goal of getting it done by the end of the week.
"Wells' Blue Bunny is supposed to be making their decision in the very near future, and we want to make sure the Department of Economic Development has as many tools in the tool box as they think they need," Rants said....
Wells Dairy makes not only its own Blue Bunny brand products but produces ice cream and other items for Con-Agra, Pillsbury's Haagen-Dazs line, General Mills, Weight Watchers, and Walt Disney Company.
The dairy's products include Mickey Mouse bars, Mississippi Mud, Health Smart, The Champ, Bomb Pops, Pink Panther, and Cyberbyte. Store brands made by Wells Dairy include Great Value, Hy-Vee, Fareway (reputedly owned by the wealthy Mormon Beckwith family which donates generously to antigay politicians like Sam Brownback), Shurfresh and Country Rich.
Well's products are carried by facilities management services company Sodexo. A poster on the Boycott Blue Bunny facebook page recommends writing to Sodexo and urging them to drop Wells products.
Ben and Jerry's and Anderson-Erickson (of Des Moines) are good choices for Iowans boycotting Wells Dairy.