The Hot Beat


The second-day story, with your help. Call Gazette reporter Adam Belz at (319) 398-8273 or e-mail him:

It’s too hot in here, Miell says

The infamous landlord Robert K. Miell wants a change of venue for his federal criminal trial, on that old argument that the publicity surrounding his case has been too extensive and corrupting for him to receive a fair trial here in Cedar Rapids.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office thinks his argument is pretty flimsy, because what they’re accusing him of happened five years ago, and because media coverage of his case (the stories in the Gazette) has been pretty darn good. (They don’t say that exactly, but it’s the basic idea.)

Miell also wants a new judge for the trial, because U.S. District Chief Judge Linda Reade’s husband works for the law firm that represented the insurance company that was the victim in the civil trial that ended in January with Miell paying up to a $1.5 million judgment.

The connection is tenuous, the U.S. Attorney’s Office says, but the point of the hearing earlier today was for Miell’s attorney John Lane to ask Reade to “recuse,” or excuse, herself from the case.

On the face of it, Reade doesn’t see how her husband’s involvement in that law firm causes a conflict for her. But the judge, who is renowned in our newsroom for her toughness, said she’d check around and get back to the lawyers in a few weeks. 

Filed under: Courts

5 Responses

  1. rick says:

    slum lords are a fact of life. but that doesn’t make any behavior by them acceptable. if Miell thinks it’s “too hot in here” now, he’s really not going to like his final destination.

  2. Arnie Wilson says:

    The final destination will be hot indeed. He better just hope that while he’s in prison he doesn’t run into any of his former tenants. I’ve seen people literally ready to jump the counter at his office and knock his block off. I’m just shocked nobody has shot him yet. It’s no wonder he got himself a permit to carry a conceiled weapon and all of those high priced surveillance cameras.

  3. Steve says:

    My curiosity is in what will become of all his property when he goes to jail? Obviously with all the money he has to fork over for lawyers, fines and settlements the cash isn’t going to be easily had in the soft housing market. Will that mean even more of his land holdings will flood the already filled to capacity housing market?
    And since he holds so much property in Cedar Rapids, likely it will be left unsold and potentially left vacant to the point of abandoned, what is that going to do for the ever expanding “vision” of Cedar Rapids? Raising taxes while such a big holder of property isn’t able to pay his due, how is that going to work? Maybe a closer look at the situation by the council is needed before taxing themselves out of existance while one of their largest tax payers is in default. All us “nay-sayers” might be raining on the councils parade, but there is some reality in these sort of projections. A much sharper pencil with a much bigger eraser may be in order to keep the basics of this city happening while setting aside the downtown hot air balloon of high dollar condos and studio apartments for high rolling 20 somethings and empty nesters with full wallets.

  4. ann says:

    he took money from my son illegally and when i called him on it he said he was an attorney. is that true?
    when and where is the trail, you could sell tickets for the seats!

  5. Arnie says:


    Miell is NOT an attorney. He went to law school and never finished. He taken money from thousands of people illegally, that’s why he’s facing life in prison. I suggest you call the IRS Special Agent handling Miell’s case (Special Agent Jeff McGuire at (319) 364-1314, ext. 259) and see if there is something he can do.

    If we’re lucky, the feds will gobble up enough of his assets to force him out of business. Otherwise, if you go to the Recorder’s office and look up his properties, you’ll see he mortgaged most of them to the hilt (probably to hide the cash) and the bank would take possession in the event he defaults on his payments. I believe the banks would them collect the rent while the property is put up for sale. There are plenty of other landlords waiting in the wings to buy them up. What we need though is for the city and housing dept to require them to go through a strict inspection process prior to a new landlord/owner taking possession. I know for a fact that many of his properties are so run down that there is no possible way they’d be able to pass a legitimate inspection. Notice I said “legitimate”. Go through the Housing Depts inspection files and you’ll find all sorts of inconsistencies where things were not documented, or written up but never enforced. Personally, I think the Housing Dept mgmt needs to be replaced, along with several of the Inspectors (no more drive-by inspections please).

    Steve, a third of this city is a rotting dump. Revitalization is crucial as it has worked for many other cities around the nation to get rid of the slums. Most of the older housing was built so poorly (thanks Skogman), that it ought to be torn down. Currently, CR attracts a lot of scum from east of here. If new higher priced housing were built, it would attract more high wage earners to the downtown and SE side of town which are needed to pump more dollars into the local economy.

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