Nebraska Crossing Outlets made national headlines this week for deciding to reopen for shopping despite the fact that our state is only beginning to see the devastation of the corona virus. As will surprise approximately no one, the man behind Nebraska Crossing is a poster child for GOP policy.
The owner, Rodney Yates, has donated over $32,000 to the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee since 2016. That is less than half, though, of what he has given to Pete Ricketts–$65,000 as an individual, and another $35,800 through his LLC. At over $100,000, Yates is one of Ricketts’s top donors (after Ricketts’s own family, of course). This is several times the amount many states allow in gubernatorial races. No wonder Ricketts is resisting issuing a statewide order and only shrugged at the news that the Gretna mall is opening in “direct contradiction with public health guidelines,” in the words of the Nebraska Hospital Association.
It’s also worth noting that Yates built Nebraska Crossing Outlets using $57 million in public tax incentives–over half the reported cost of the mall. That included $4 million from the city of Gretna and another $53 million in property and sales tax breaks. So this project, majority funded by public financial incentives, is enriching a dude who has funneled over $100,000 into the hands of the governor who is allowing him to keep his profits flowing. And the devastating health and financial consequences of this decision? They will fall squarely back on the Nebraska public that underwrote his personal enrichment to begin with.