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Newscast 11.29.2023: Big NAIA tourney underway in Sioux City; Woodbury County officials looking into state AG option to remove Taylor, who will not resign

NAIA volleyball championship in Sioux City in 2021
Bret Hayworth
The confetti comes down after the NAIA volleyball championship in Sioux City in 2021

SIOUX CITY – One of the big national college sports tournaments held annually in Sioux City kicked off Wednesday, with the NAIA volleyball tourney beginning play with a local team hitting the court at the Tyson Events Center.

Top-ranked Northwestern College from Orange City defeated another Iowa team, St. Ambrose University, to start pool play in the national volleyball tournament just before noon Wednesday.

Both the NAIA national tournaments for volleyball and also women’s basketball in March are big events for the city, bringing hundreds of players and an additional big number of fans to the downtown, for a boost to hotels and restaurants.

Twenty-four small-college teams are participating this year in the 2023 championships, which are being held in Sioux City for a 16th consecutive year.

The tournament's first three days through Friday consist of pool play matches, with each pool made up of three teams. The team with the best record in each pool advance to the quarterfinals, when those eight teams begin single-elimination bracket play until the champion is determined next week.

In other news, with Woodbury County Board of Supervisors member Jeremy Taylor adamantly saying he will not resign his position, county officials are investigating possible input from the Iowa Attorney General office to attempt to have him removed.

In the weekly board meeting on Tuesday, Taylor announced he was rebuffing the calls to resign his post. Three of the other four supervisors have said he should depart, after his wife on November 21st was found guilty of 52 counts of voter fraud, as she sought to boost him in two 2020 elections.

County Board Chairman Matthew Ung said lots of people have weighed in on the matter, and, “the common theme has been anger that the wife is the one taking the fall.” Ung added it doesn’t seem plausible that Taylor’s wife would undertake voting activities of which Taylor himself wasn’t aware.

The jury in a federal trial found Kim Phuong Taylor, the wife of Jeremy Taylor, guilty of the voter fraud counts, after prosecutors laid out a case about her illegally filling out election documents and ballots for members of the Vietnamese community, who had limited ability to read and understand English.

Jeremy Taylor has been named an unindicted co-conspirator in the case. He plans to complete his entire term, which runs 13 more months through the end of 2024.

"I will work hard to continue to complete my term and then I’m going to focus on my family," Taylor said.

Craig Levine, of Sioux City, a member of the public who spoke at the meeting, noted that Taylor is an Iowa Army Guard chaplain, so if he had any dignity, he would resign.

The supervisors don’t have the authority to force Taylor to resign, per Iowa code. In the Tuesday meeting, they briefly discussed looking into having the state Attorney General office begin a process to remove Taylor.

On Wednesday, Woodbury County Auditor Pat Gill told Siouxland Public Media such state action is warranted, because Taylor’s actions constitute election misconduct.

Gill said he is not certain when the supervisors will discuss that option next in a meeting, but he has reached out to the AG office, since the Iowa Legislature last year removed the ability for county attorneys to prosecute election misconduct.

Gill said the Attorney General office member he spoke with was lukewarm about the state taking on the case.

All five county board members are Republicans, and Ung, Mark Nelson and Dan Bittinger, in recent days have urged Taylor to step down.

At the next weekly meeting on December 5, the supervisors plan to vote to strip Taylor of his county board vice chairman role, with Ung saying it was important to have some accountability for Taylor. Ung added that it is still possible for Taylor to be indicted related to the fraud.

The fifth county supervisor, Keith Radig, has not publicly addressed the topic.

Kim Taylor will be sentenced at a later date. She faces five years in prison on each count of voter fraud.