A well-connected Iowa Republican donor whose no-bid contract from Iowa for Chinese PPE supplies drew scrutiny earlier this year has since faced an expanded investigation from police.
According to court documents obtained by Starting Line, West Des Moines police requested a search warrant for one of David Greenspon’s social media accounts, concerned he may still be involved in prostitution or sex trafficking, and may possess child pornography. On May 29, the department petitioned to obtain data from Greenspon’s Snapchat account “buhdahboy” for additional evidence of criminal activity.
The action stems from an investigation into Greenspon’s assault of a woman at his home in West Des Moines’ Glen Oaks neighborhood on November 25, 2019. Greenspon was ordered probation in July for his attack that resulted in a broken tooth and rib injuries for the woman that he claimed was drunk and refused to leave his house.
“Did I beat her up? No. Did I slap her twice to try and get her senseful? Yes,” a police report says Greenspon told officers. Video showed him kicking and hitting the woman.
During the course of that investigation, West Des Moines Police executed a search warrant for his house and cell phone. Greenspon refused to give police the password for his phone, but they were able to view some of his apps before the phone locked out, and they later retrieved more data with help from the Iowa Crimes Against Children Task Force’s computer systems.
Several of the text conversations “lead [the officer] to believe that Greenspon is paying for sexual services from various women.” Greenspon had already been arrested in a prostitution sting in 2015.
“[WDMPD Analyst Jeff Beattie] advised me that there were numerous images of women in the nude on his device,” detective Chris Morgan wrote in his report. “Analyst Beattie advised that he had a concern that some of the women Greenspon is communicating with may be girls under the age of 18. Analyst Beattie advised that he had seen a text conversation on Greenspon’s device in which there is a message from a mother advising Greenspon to stop talking with their daughter and to not contact that number again.”
After getting a search warrant in January to examine Greenspon’s phone further, the detective found “some images and videos” on the phone that “do appear to be of females under the age of eighteen but post pubescent.”
There was also concern from investigators that many of the nude photos that Greenspon had of various women that were at his house were taken by hidden cameras and without their knowledge. The warrant application noted that during a February 2018 theft report that Greenspon had filed regarding a “female guest,” Greenspon had told police that he had “numerous cameras throughout the house and advised that he had captured the theft on video,” specifically mentioning he had a camera in the bathroom that showed the woman taking a gold bracelet. When police first visited during the 2019 assault investigation, they noticed a “large server cabinet” believed to hold a surveillance system in his basement.
“There are images on his phone that show various women completely nude, or partially nude in his bed, in the bathroom and other parts of his home. These images appear to have been recorded with a hidden cameras in his house and it appears as if the women do not consent to being on video or have their pictures taken,” the report read.
Greenspon’s phone also showed that he frequently used websites like Seeking Arrangements and Sugar Daddy Meet. And he used many text apps like TextMe and Kik that are often used to send messages that don’t show up or get recorded on cell phone records.
“I also saw a message on Greenspon’s device that read ‘Sugar Daddy to the rescue. I take it your not coming to Tampa,'” the detective wrote.
“I came across numerous messages and conversations between Greenspon and numerous other women in which there is discussion of money exchanged for sexual services … Greenspon requests nude images of women while making payment arrangements for sexual services,” the report continued. “Greenspon also then sends the images he receives to friends … These payments range from a few hundred dollars to at least one [instance] where Greenspon agrees to pay five thousand dollars for a few hours of sexual services from the female half.”
Seeing that those conversations happened on Greenspon’s Snapchat account, they then sought to obtain more information from the social media company.
“Based on the observed data, I have concerns of possible child pornography, Greenspon being involved in prostitution or human sex trafficking, or other illicit sex-driven criminal offenses,” the detective concluded.
Greenspon owns Competitive Edge, a promotional item business that is often used by Iowa Republican campaigns for yard signs and other materials. He’s particularly close with Terry Branstad, who rented space from Greenspon for his campaign in 2010, and was appointed to the Iowa Finance Authority board in 2011 (he was again in 2017, but Branstad’s office withdrew his name). Greenspon once briefly attracted national media attention after pressing then-President Barack Obama on taxes and business regulations at a Des Moines event in 2012.
The West Des Moines businessman received no-bid contracts worth $7.2 million from the state of Iowa to obtain gowns and goggles for PPE purposes from China. Those contracts drew significant scrutiny given that the Republican donor’s business hadn’t supplied such materials before, that the state reached out to him for a no-bid contract, and that the PPE Greenspon bought was not medical grade (North Dakota, after getting Greenspon’s name from Iowa officials, passed on buying their own). Branstad is currently the ambassador to China, and he mentioned in early April how he was trying to coordinate PPE purchases in the country for the U.S.
State officials told the AP they were unaware of Greenspon’s pending assault charge when they contacted him. They would have, however, known about his 2015 prostitution arrest.
While Greenspon has been a major donor to various Iowa Republican candidates, including Kim Reynolds and Joni Ernst, his first contribution to Donald Trump came this February. He donated $15,000 to the Trump Victory joint fundraising fund and maxed out to Trump’s campaign committee.
Greenspon’s attorney did not respond to an email seeking comment on the matter.
Greenspon is due back in court this Friday for a hearing over returning seized property from the investigation.
by Pat Rynard
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