SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A political commercial from Smart Growth Sioux Falls is urging people to vote yes on a measure to ban new slaughterhouses in the city in an attention-grabbing way.
“Backed by Pipestone, a global swine conglomerate,” the ad says.
Wholestone Farms wants to build a pork plant in eastern Sioux Falls. Luke Minion, chairman of the board for Wholestone Farms, says Pipestone Holdings LLC founded Wholestone Farms.
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“Wholestone is 100% U.S. company owned,” Minion said. “It’s comprised of over 200 local farm families.”
“Wholestone and Pipestone are tied at the hip; they’re directly linked,” said Robert Peterson, treasurer for Smart Growth Sioux Falls.
Pipestone’s website defines Pipestone Holdings LLC as “a diversified agribusiness that provides products and services in support of livestock owners locally, nationally and internationally.”
“They talk about their international agribusiness, so I mean, just finish reading that paragraph, and it talks about their international agribusiness,” Peterson said.
Pipestone’s general counsel Sean Simpson said via email on Friday that that description of Pipestone Holdings LLC is accurate. KELOLAND News confirmed this because of what comes next in the ad.
“Backed by Pipestone, a global swine conglomerate, chaired by a convicted felon,” the ad says.
That same page on Pipestone’s website lists Dr. Gordon Spronk as the chairman of Pipestone Holdings LLC. But Minion says this is wrong; he says he’s the chairman of Pipestone Holdings LLC., and furthermore, not a convicted felon. Minion stressed campaign finance on Friday.
“The real issue here is Smart Growth and POET spending a million dollars a month to buy the vote,” Minion said.
POET is a biofuel company. A campaign finance disclosure report filed Thursday listed expenses of more than $1.1 million.
POET CEO Jeff Broin owns a home in a gated, luxury-housing development less than two miles from the site Wholestone Foods wants to build its pork plant. Minion says he has been the chair of Pipestone for around two years.