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

Romney walks through one of Lemar Koethe's 54 farms. AP Photo: Charles Dharapak

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:

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.

41 Responses to Romney Visits Iowa ‘Farmer’ Who Is Also A Millionaire Real Estate Mogul With A Spaceship House And Personal Car Wash

  1. John McCormick says:

    Get this blog to Chris Mathews at MSNBC. He must keep exposing Romney for the social degenerate he really is.

    Koethe is the poster child for America’s next revolution. He is every reason I hate the rich.

  2. Mike says:

    There is a very rap video called “With my white friends.” Someone should do a spoof version on Mitt with his rich friends.

  3. prokaryotes says:

    Definition of struggling, in Romney world.

    “We were happy, studying hard. Neither one of us had a job, because Mitt had enough of an investment from stock that we could sell off a little at a time. […]

    Mitt and I walked to class together, shared housekeeping, had a lot of pasta and tuna fish and learned hard lessons. […]

    We were living on the edge, not entertaining. No, I did not work. Mitt thought it was important for me to stay home with the children, and I was delighted.

    Right after Mitt graduated in 1975, we had our third boy and it was about the time Mitt’s first paycheck came along. So, we were married a long time before we had any income, about five years as struggling students.”

  4. katym. says:

    “… residence takes unique architecture to a new level.”
    oh no… there’s a level for that: ugly & tacky… complete with fave palm trees.

  5. katym. says:

    faKe palm trees

  6. Marie says:

    He only knows rich people!

  7. catman306 says:

    When Romney utters the words ‘we’ or ‘friends’ or ‘people’, he means ‘rich people like me’.

    Perhaps a software writer could create a ‘Romney parser’ that would automatically translate his words into his true meanings with simple substitutions like these.

  8. EvoDiva says:

    It’s getting harder and harder to defend the idea that Romney is even trying anymore.

  9. Lionel A says:

    Romney is trying, very trying.

    As for that house – one twister away from joining the Space Station. But if that happens I’ll bet poor little Lemar is well compensated.

  10. Kirk Welch says:

    yea and I’m bettin like most Farmers with that kind of $$$ he has it built right in the middle of a corn field. I’d like to know what the grounds look like around house; swimming pool, tennis court, man made lake….

  11. Matthew Tanner says:

    If you’re a millionaire and you live in a “space ship house”, all your friends are laughing at you.

  12. Zimzone says:

    That’s actually the Mormon spaceship that will take the true believers to the planet Kolob when Mitt is done destroying America.

  13. Bleekerstreet says:

    Houses like that ‘happen’ from time to time when people find themselves suddenly rich. I suppose that a life spent only in pursuit of money affords little chance to acquire taste, style and decorum.

  14. John McCormick says:

    Kirk, go to Mapquest.

    His address is 3514 142nd St Urbandale, IA.

    Search around a bit and you’ll spot the circular roof. Click satellite view to see his rich lifestyle. He da man.

  15. Mike Morton says:

    Mitt is “good friends” with farmers in the same way that he is good friends with Nascar and sports team owners. Perhaps thet went in on the purchase of their car elevators together. They could probably use the discount.

  16. Carbon says:

    Every copper thief in Iowa is looking at the roof and salivating. That alone probably cost more than many people’s houses.

  17. Ozonator says:

    At least the space aliens in the photo are gang-probing or serving man…

  18. Nina says:

    Mittens is just so profoundly uncomfortable around “you people” that if he HAD to talk to a farmer, it was going to be one who shared his rarefied air. No surprise.

  19. Ann Marie says:

    I live in Iowa and I guess those fake palm trees are some sort of weird “dog whistle”. Never really saw them until I moved here.

  20. Joe Bua says:

    To be fair, both the NY Times and Bloomberg identified him as the owner of Marko Properties and anyone who does a quick search can figure out this is not just your typical farmer.

    It does speak to Mitt only surrounding himself with ppl like him.

  21. squidboy6 says:

    Romney is nothing if not consistent – he has the worst taste and judgement of any repugnican I have ever seen! Even Helms had more sense than Romney has.

    If elected I would put a chicken factory in every rich man’s yard! It should be his theme song.

  22. DonB says:

    The term “nouveau riche” did not become derogatory for nothing.

  23. walosi says:

    Yes, I agree, bad choice for a representative farmer, however, I personally think the house looks awesome. It would be even more awesome looking with the addition of a few Jacob (or other park variety) sheep grazing about the grounds.

  24. Peggy Trivilino says:

    What is WRONG with this guy??!!! His staff must be as clueless as he is to allow him to behave the way he does. Can you imagine this doofus in charge of foreign policy?

  25. DaveMcRae says:

    USA has the best government single payer farm insurance in the world to cover any drought loses. The Crop Insurance Program.

    To extend that to sick citizens would be un-freedom somehow.

  26. WDRussell says:

    I like the picture of Mitt in the cornfield.
    So this is where the Children of the Corn come from.

  27. SeaKat says:

    The architects of Seattle’s Space Needle should sue. It looks like a squat, ugly version of it.

  28. Lvmyhugs says:

    Wouldn’t do any good to Sue ..he has more money for lawyers than the architechs do. plus he’d state it’s not the same it doesn’t spin…

  29. Richard Koser says:

    That’s not a real house. It’s a prop from a Tim Burton movie.

    And that’s no devestated corn-field, or I’m an over-irrigated irradiated irritated illiterate.

  30. Marlene says:

    Rich people using farming land as a tax shelter, they have doing this for years. Its called “welfare for the rich” He probably visited this farm site as a way to solicit campaign contributions.

    Money will not buy the Presidency !!!

  31. LeMar Koethe says:

    Dear Mr. Lacey,
    I had the opportunity to read your article. If you are really interested in knowing the whole truth about me maybe you should dig real deep into my life and what I have done. My life started off with living on a 136 acre farm raising dairy cows, pigs, and chickens. At 18 1/2 years old after serving our country in the National Guard for 6 years, I works a minimum of 90 hours a week selling pots and pans door to door for 15 years. From this I went from pots and pans to buying and owning apartment buildings, health clubs, strip-malls, and finally back to my roots in farms. I never had the opportunity to play sports and sacrificed all my life by never getting to partake in many finer things in life. And yes, never played 18 holes of golf in my life either, because it would take way too much time. Oh yes, never got married until age 63 because I was such a workaholic that I knew I’d probably get divorced because my wife wouldn’t have put up with my working night and day. Yes, I am very successful and that’s one of the reasons why our forefathers left England and came to the United States for freedom and the opportunity that if you have a dream, motivation, and desire… if you worked really hard you would be rewarded for your efforts. I never had a partner or any aides in my life. I am a hands on man that did it myself. Stephen that is what this election is all about. If you have the dream, you will have the opportunity to fulfill it. Romney is about allowing anyone’s children to have the same opportunity we have. You see, I am not concerned about this election for my children, because I have none, or myself, or about finances, but about others. I just wish that you would understand and see the big picture of where this country would go under Obama. Yes, I am thinking about your children if you have any. Consider that, because if you don’t, your children will not have the opportunity that we have had. If you want to tell the whole story, I challenge you to print this entire email, and allow the American people to know the whole story. I will provide you will access to facts to prove to you what I have said. This country is in a crisis and I just hope you are considering the big picture.
    LeMar Koethe
    PS Perhaps Romney wanted to meet with a self-made man.

  32. Joe Romm says:

    JR: No man is an island, not even a self-proclaimed “self-made man.” You seem to have done well by the government, but want to pull the ladder up behind you.

    I have a child and you most certainly are not thinking about her by backing a man who has committed to kill clean energy and block action on cost-effective efforts to preserve a livable climate for her and millions like her.

  33. Bob Smith says:

    Go to, search for:


    …choose Bird’s Eye, zoom in, and view Mr. Koethe’s home in all its splendor. You can even click the curved arrows in the upper right and rotate the view.

    Mr. Koethe: just in case you return, you seem to have missed the central point of this blog post. I don’t think Mr. Lacey was criticizing you for being wealthy, he was criticizing Mr. Romney for choosing someone of extreme wealth when attempting to show his support for struggling farmers.

    Mr. Romney has a reputation (deserved or otherwise) of being an out-of-touch plutocrat. Choosing to visit a wealthy person such as yourself doesn’t really do anything to mitigate such a reputation, whereas visiting someone who owns a single family farm and is in danger of going bankrupt as a result of the drought would almost certainly have resonated better with potential swing voters.


  34. Mal says:

    Saw it on Sat view at street level. It looks really tacky. He’s surrounded on all sides by high density McMansions. Must be King of the Hill there!

  35. Mal says:

    The space aliens probably want their damn spacecraft back!!!

  36. Mal says:

    “At 18 1/2 years old after serving our country in the National Guard for 6 years,” <<You served in the Guard when you were 12? My…that IS impressive.

    And keep your damn hands off my kids' future!

  37. David Lewis says:

    Instead of “Joe the Plumber”, for this election maybe the GOP will herald “Lemar The Self Made Man”. Yes sir, I made myself, this man will say, and if you send those boxtops and a small cash payment in, I’ll send you a pamphlet telling you how you can do it too. Maybe the pamphlet will contain graphics – the act of self creation probably involves ramming your head up your ass.

    George Romney, the “self made” Mitt’s father, obviously, had nothing to do with the creation of Mitt. His generation carried their share of the load though. George, as shown in the 12 years of his tax returns he made public when he ran for President in 1967, paid an average tax rate of 36.99%. Figures supplied by NPR.

    These selfish bastards who created themselves who we are stuck with today, i.e. George Romney’s son Mitt, and the people supporting him think what the son pays, i.e. just below 15%, isn’t anything like their fair share of the load. Its way, way, too much.

    When we hear there isn’t any money any more for anything, like climate science research, or funding to develop carbon free energy, it is worth considering why there isn’t any money. These bastards don’t want to pay what their parents did – they want to shirk their share of the load.

    The only way they can simultaneously cut taxes even more, expand the US military, and pay down the debt is to cut out the programs for the poor and the old.

    That’s what the “self made” people of today do – grab all they can for themselves and to hell with the rest of the society. And especially, to hell with the planet.

    They can kick around the poor and the old for a while and we’ll see how long Americans tolerate it once they see what the plan actually is. Programs to care for the less fortunate and for those who can’t care for themselves any longer can always be restored.

    This ability to makes things better at a later time when the political pendulum swings the other way doesn’t apply to the life support systems of the planet. For one last orgy of “self making”, US elites backing Romney are compromising the ability of the planet to support life for thousands of years.

  38. Rene Pugh says:

    Oh,pa-leez Mr.Koethe… surprise that “Mitt the Twit”(bestowed on him by the Brits after his visit)picked a very rich man to visit vs. a small farmer impacted by the drought to find out how the small farmer is doing as we emerge out of the worst economic downfall since the Great Depression….a downfall caused by guess what??? Rich people and rich corporations,loose/non-existent regs and a President(a very rich one)hellbent on makingv the rich richer and the poor poorer.Mr. Koethe,you mention the big picture…..have you?Have you “dug deep” and looked into all of the non-sensical,calloused,heartless,despicable,hateful.pernicious plans that ‘the twit” has for every aspect of Am. life.The only areas of life he plans to help are rich people and rich corporations.He,as well as the GOP(which is really the Tea Party)are anti-everything….no surprise from an arrogant,rich,greedy,coldblooded,heartless Stepford Wife oopsi mean Stepford Husband who excels as a pathological liar.

  39. Salish Sea says:

    My word, you works until63 years old without a wife or children. And what you have to show for it is a big pile of money? And this makes you happy. Are you purposive this is how life should be lived? You expect us to define happiness in the pursuit of money. Deny ourselves a family, deny the bliss if children. Nah, put that off because money is all that matters. I think America has decided we would like something else to define a good life. We, as Americans would like to ban together and assure ourselves a life of family traditions, good times with friends. Working not dawn till dusk for 43 years.

  40. Christa says:

    Romney does not care about the ordinary man on the street. The only areas of life he plans to help are rich people and rich corporations.