I know of no council minutes authorizing or requesting it.
My guess, since it's a water project and Mike Jungbauer is a water employee of Landform, it was the creature from the Black Lagoon:
Mike, I gotta talk to you.
Okay, you've got the paperwork. A little wet, but short.
Will you sponsor?
It's for Ramsey.
Mike. Understand me. I'm not in it for the money.
It's the proof of concept. Entirely.
Money is coincidental.
See you tomorrow.
And that's my guess of how this came about:
Wholly on the up and up. Can there be any more plausible explanation? A global warming wind wafted the idea into being? What? Something in it for Mike? Who'd ever think that?
I have sent repeated email inquiries to Landform. I have been stonewalled.
I am reduced to speculation. I have requested city public data on the situation, and Brian Olson had only one item he'd seen about this entire infrastructure grant possibility, an apparent draft document entitled "BONDING TOUR." Nothing else was produced by the city, except months ago, the solicitation materials from July 2009, when Landform had its first foot in the door by a 4-3 council vote with three councilmembers objecting to having been kept in the dark and surprised by the proposal being dropped without prior notice at a series of meetings on the same day of the 4-3 vote. I have to presume there was an irregular practice at play, not keeping a normal paper trail as would be expected in the normal course of city business.
It is a puzzling thing. I present the four page item Olson produced, at the end of this post. Apparently it is a document generated by Landform, in its normal course of business, indicating at its end in a reminder note "Verify/refine this text (DL, MJ)" which presumably is Darren Lazan, and Michael Jungbauer, working within Landform per its contract with City of Ramsey.
"BONDING TOUR" in the title suggests someone was in Ramsey, touring, with respect to "bonding."
Yet I have seen no record, paper item, set of handwritten notes, or other public data documenting any such official touring arising from the Landform-Ramsey contract. It could be DEED officials. It could be Jungbauer Senate colleagues. It could be almost anyone perhaps other than the DAR or some visiting Washington dignitary where it might have been mainstream press-worthy news.
If that draft item, again presented in full below, was an internal Landform working document for the Ramsey account saying "refine this text (DL/MJ)" that appears to fully discredit any claim that Landform maintained a Chinese Wall between the Senator and other employees servicing the Ramsey account.
I do not see how Landform could credibly even try to explain it in a way that keeps any contention of a Chinese Wall in place as insulating the Senator. They've not tried, at least not to me. My email inquiries were unanswered, except the first one, Darren Lazen contending the Senator was due for surgery the evening of the all-day fish spearing fish-and-pony show he carried out in the Ramsey city hall. This screenshot, top item:
A reminder. In a Sept. 14, 2009 HRA meeting, p.5 of the minutes has this curious exchange [emphasis added]:
Commissioner McGlone stated we are trying to sell Ramsey as a unique opportunity. Because we are only 10 percent built out - that's a unique opportunity not found anywhere else. [sic] We can talk about what we are trying to do but they may have a specific thing in mind let them know we are open to whatever.
Commissioner Look asked where Senator Jungbauer is on the water recirculation grant.
Mr Lazan stated he is nervous about being too public on that.
Commissioner Look stated maybe we leave out the grant part but say we are interested in expanding on that.
[emphasis added.] This makes you say, "Huh?" Jungbauer and some kind of grant at issue? "Water recirculation grant?" It is out of the blue. It is limited discussion. It is irregular in many ways.
And "nervous." Nervous "about being too public on that"? There are many things in irregular situations, but being nervous about "going public" in an open meeting about city business, what does that mean? In that context, why, exactly, would "nervous" apply.
There is one other minutes reference I found about a "pilot program." Matt Look mentioning it as a cause back in the summer of 2009 as partial cause in his mind for initially hiring Landform. This quote from council work session, 14 Jul 2009 [later, televised at a regular council meeting, is when the measure passed barely, by 4-3 with the Mayor, Look, and McGlone in the majority, with Elvig, and with the minority objecting on having been sandbagged procedurally without prior hint or notice of Landform consultancy being an issue for consideration at that day's meetings], this colloquy:
City Administrator Ulrich reviewed the staff report. He distributed a proposal from Landform to
study the existing conditions and land use scenarios in the RTC.
Councilmember Dehen stated he has always been a proponent of a fair bidding process. He stated that he would like to be careful about these types of proposals because he thinks this will hurt Landform if the City moves forward with a competitive bid process.
Councilmember Look agrees that it would disadvantage Landform in an RFP process. He stated that he thinks there is some benefit in using this company because Senator Jungbauer works for them. He noted that the Senator is aware of pilot programs that are out there that may not be on everyone's radar screen which could be very beneficial to the City.
Councilmember Jeffrey agrees that Senator Jungbauer is a great resource but questions if the City has completed a proper competitive bid process. He stated that he isn't sure he has enough information to decide if this is the best time to move forward with this proposal or even with this company.
Mayor Ramsey stated that he feels the City needs to start moving and this would get us off the ground right away if it began working with Landform.
City Administrator Ulrich stated that this is a service contract so it wouldn't require a competitive bid for that reason. He noted that there are other proposals on the books, for example, from LSA, although he noted that he thinks some of the information may need to be updated to reflect the current situation. He stated that he did call some other cities that Landform has worked with and they received favorable reviews. He reviewed a flow chart of refining the vision for RTC and how a development manager would fit in.
Councilmember Jeffrey stated that later tonight the Council will make a decision on a towing company where the City has spent hours and hours discussing the vendors and now tonight the Council is being asked to make a decision that he personally has spent no time discussing.
Mayor Ramsey stated that with the towing contract there is acurrent contractor to consider and with the RTC the City is dead in the water because there is no current contractor or Development Manager and something needs to get moving. He stated that if there was more time he would support going through the RFP process.
[emphasis added]. Nothing in minutes conveys any actual and real air of emergency. It was a cramdown. Ulrich, Ramsey, and Look from the colloquy appear to have had advance knowledge. A brochure and a flow chart had been prepared, but were never added to the city's online meeting agenda.
The procedural ghost of James Norman practices walks the halls of his castle, apparently. Look even stated to a reporter [Sakry, Anoka County Union, 29Jul09] that leaving some on council in the dark until the thing was sprung on them was a premeditated consideration:
While he can understand the concerns of his fellow council members, open meeting laws kept them from having everyone at the Landform presentation [held for some, prior to the July 14, 2009 decision making], said Couincilmember Matt Look.
For projects less than $50,000, the city does not have to go out for RFPs, he said.
Square that with no RFP, ever, while Landform after having taken six figure money from Ramsey was, months later put onto a monthly in perpetuity but severable by either side flat-fee $15,000 monthly payment arrangement where no who-when-what-how detail accounting was of record for time spent by the Senator and other Landform insiders, ostensibly for Ramsey's benefit, was instituted - and never any bidding opportunity for other firms to address the council. Shotgun marriage, Landform-Ramsey, or what? That's an inference for you to decide. What official bloc held the shotgun, and against what others?
As to insider status on the "sense of urgency" theme song, (when in retrospect there clearly was none but the song was sung by those knowing the words), Sakry in the July 29, 2009 item further reported:
"It's time the city started taking the bull by the horns and it's going to take some money [to Landform] to get the ball rolling," Look said.
While LSA Design's work has been exemplary and it has found a lot of gratns for the city, he does not know if it is qualified to do some of the things that Landform can, said Elvig.
"Twenty-three thousand dollars is a small bite. There is a sense of urgency (to the project) now that the city owns (RTC)," he said.
He does not know if the city could afford the time the RFP process would take, Elvig said.
Dehen disagreed with Elvig on the sense of urgency.
It could be done in two weeks, he said.
[bracketed commentary added, parenthetical material in original] So, the Mayor in the minutes, echoed by Look and Elvig, in reporting, knew the lyrics of "Sense of Urgency My Friends." Get real. They had barely bought the farm then, the purchase of the distressed vacant land having closed June 26. What urgency, really. That's a total fabrication, from all the information I have seen on record. McGlone was the only vote for Landform that appeared to keep quiet at the meeting and to stay silent with members of the press. The other three were vocal, and Ulrich, flow chart in hand, distributor of the brochure at the meeting, showed his support in the minutes for the surprise effort but was not quoted by the press.
And there's more, six meetings worth, as the Sakry reporting further indicates:
The city should be using good business sense and allow more than one company to make a proposal on the RTC, Dehen said.That is a total "six meetings" with Dehen, Wise, and Jeffrey being the unequal animals on Animal Farm? What do you call that besides shabby and highly irregular? Disdainful, is perhaps another word. It is the procedural James Norman ghost again afoot in his Norman Castle city hall.
It is unacceptable that there have been six meetings on this and the rest of the council has not been kept up-to-date, Jeffrey said.
Dehen, Wise, and Jeffrey are duly elected representatives of the citizens of Ramsey.
Others should never have kept things in the dark. And it looks far, far worse as things unfolded, per the further evidence and the range of reasonable inferences one can draw from facts.
Apparently nothing was done in any officially proper manner for a city to request and approve in advance legislative steps ostensibly seeking State money for a city capital project of uncertain final cost or effectiveness, a pipe dream water recycling thing that has never been tried before and hence has no assurance of success. It is a potential for a failed capital project in the middle of a failed land deal, taken on by an irrationally exuberant council deeming itself immune to procedural regularity.
Nothing I have found is about passing a resolution or ordinance or other official act toward seeking funding of any kind for a water project. Zippo. Nada.
Nothing I have found in Ramsey public data has any indication of anyone authorized to request bonding on behalf of Ramsey putting it of record that Mike Jungbauer would be pitching for over two and a half million of State money when budget deficits are rampant and when the Republicans are inventing "Taxin' Tarryl" language and creating bond requests out of thin air with no track record of a city request for it; what's happening?
There is a frustration in logging onto the City's documents via LaserFiche WebLink. Sometimes loggon is impossible, and when a document is identified such as a 350 page full agenda having say the name "Steffen" four times; it is sheer hell to find each instance and the system is deficient and in need of replacement. That said as a prelude to this update, via an ardurous LaserFiche WebLink search of 2009 and 20010 minutes for the council and the HRA meetings [council wearing different hats each time, same people, however] for the term "Jungbauer," this was discovered (why it was not returned in a listing from previous searches remains a mystery, the search function being 1980's search technology in use in the 21st century):
This shows an example of know-how and a will to properly (by resolution) request legislative assistance, and to adequately document the effort; but it is not for any pond, or water recycling, or for a shot at doing a nationwide trend setting greywater project, or for two million bucks to fund an experimental water project Landform was envisioning.
It is about the train stop. That they fully and properly documented.
Doing so shows an understanding of how to properly authorize and request legislative effort on behalf of a Ramsey goal or effort, when there is a will to properly proceed. Why no such step was taken by those knowing how to properly authorize and request the Jungbauer bill for over two million of earmarked funds is unclear. Why, strangely, the money is not to not be a direct and uncomplicated grant to the city, but is routed obliquely through DEED is also unclear. Indeed it appears that no Landform employee was ever officially tasked by Ramsey to seek such legislation, from anything I have uncovered, so that it remains a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.
As to timing and procedure, initial Landform contracting with Ramsey began 14 July 2009 when the 4-3 council vote on a proposed $23,000 contract was recorded in minutes and reported later in the month by ABC Newspapers. A contractual posture has been ongoing since then to the present, initially with monthly invoicing by Landform until the situation was strangely shifted to a flat-fee structure, i.e., where individual activity within Landform's employee group billed as or contended to have been done in behalf of the City no longer needed to be recorded in any itemized way within City records.
It is a strange way to do professional services.
This is an irregularity.
Even Bill Goodrich who has been City Attorney for years, has to provide detailed professional services billings for his time and that of firm affiiliates. Yet where a State Senator is on the Landform payroll, and touted as a water resources key employee, and a water resources bonanza situation arises with little or no paper trail and there is clear knowledge and will to document things cleanly for the train stop situation, you would expect a reputable and wholly unimpeachable process would be wanted by the private contractor, where detailed itemized statements were of record that could, ostensibly, shield the State Senator from any awkward appearance or questioning over possible potential impropriety.
In representations from Landform to induce Ramsey to contract with the firm, Senator Jungbauer is prominently identified as a key person in the firm, along with his proffered expertise [excerpted pages are presented, not the entire fifteen pages]:
(Red marginal bulleting added) Not a single past project is noted as involving experimental water recycling, nor is there anything listed as having been started after 2006, with only one item running to 2008 for completion. The firm must have been hard up when courting Ramsey, with all of its key people concerned about the firm's cash flow situation in the down market.
That 15 page item is dated weeks prior to the July meeting where the council barely approved dealings with Landform, but first presented to council members Dehen, Wise, and Jeffrey at the untelevised work session before the meeting vote was televised, was provided by the City in response to my request for the paper items that the Council had before it in making its July 2009 decision by a 4-3 vote to do business with the Landform firm and its people.
Indeed, the June 19, 2009 date on the document's front page is quite troubling. This stuff was stewing away on the stove, cooking, before Ramsey closed on buying the entirety of the failed distressed vacant land of the Town Center - Met Council livable community dream; without any assurance at the time [indeed it still is uncertain] whether Ramsey would ever get a Northstar stop. How this dove-tailing of behind-the-scenes maneuvering influenced that unfortunate decision to socialize the thing, to buy highly speculative land and compete with private sector land promotions elsewhere in the state and in the nation, is uncertain but suggestive that Landform played an inducing role behind the scenes in a non-public way, in that unfortunate, flawed, expensive decision. Socialism by a pack of Republicans is my term for it, with Look, McGlone, and Ramsey [along with Jungbauer] having been delegates to the Senate District 48 GOP decision making, and for the GOP convention to select a candidate for Governor.
Republican socialism, must be okay, unlike scorned socialism from any other quarter, perhaps as a different Koolaid flavor, or something. [Elvig, is the lone one of the four voting in July 2009 to hire the Landform firm who apparently was not a GOP delegate with Jungbauer, but he was one of the four junketeers to Vegas, later in the saga.]
Regarding price and terms of "buying the farm," I have this June 25, 2010 email information from Diana Lund, Ramsey's CFO [bracketed material being added in explanation and/or as editorializing]:
The City closed on the property on June 26, 2009.
The following actions transpired:
Minnwest Bank was responsible for the payment of delinquent property taxes in the amount of $1,329,212 and current taxes through June 25 of $341,284 or a grand total of $1,670,496 for property taxes related to the RTC parcels.
The net amount that Minnwest received at closing was $5,056,529 after taxes and deed tax. [Hence although the bank tendered the check to Anoka County so that it got its back taxes paid one hundred cents on the dollar, the money came out of Ramsey and was a flow-through to the County.]
The City paid $6,764,479 which was the land costs of $6,750,000, 5 days of interest(June 26-June 30) at $7,129 with the remainder closing fees & Title Insurance.
Council at an earlier date elected to abate the special assessments. At the time of the abatement, Anoka county had the special assessments recorded at $8,704,791. This was represented as such:
Interest applied by the City at 6.3% from 2/22/05-Dec 31, 2009: $1,420,976
Penalties and interest applied by the county from 2/22/08: $1,432,618
Grand total: $8,704,791
[Meaning that the city not only paid nearly seven million cash for the badlands, but comprimised an additional tax and assessment arrearage of nearly nine million. Fifteen million plus, altogether, for a gambler's shot at rehabbing the thing and with Jungbauer - Landform apparently eager to do a pond scheme.]
At a HRA meeting on April 13, 2010, council chose to be paid back for the principal only of the assessments from future land sales [if any] of the Town Center parcels. The reason being, that the City did not have to bond for funds to pay for the land purchase or any projects within Town Center in which the special assessments were applicable, and the penalties and principal from the county should not be applicable as these were just additional fees. The feeling being that the removal of penalties and interest brings the land costs into a more reasonable saleable value. [Somehow, but then if there's a true and legitimate recapture intent down the line, removing the tax-and-assessment lien seems to be a difference in form but not substance.]
[They are gambling with city money, from reserve accounts and not via current bonding or taxing, and any claim of reduction of taxation in 2010 must be viewed from the perspective of a massive withdrawal from reserves, consciously done, thereby allowing the "no tax hike" claim to be made (but with the drum beating ignoring details of drawing down reserves and compromising liens). See email wrap-up, below.]
As for the funding of the RTC land the following funds were used:
Internal transfer from water & sewer funds $4,650,000 (to be repaid from future land sales)
Anoka County HRA-Reserves held by the county for City related to Savannah Oaks project: Approx: $600,000
Letter of Credit Proceeds(From original $3m LOC from RTC) $1,500,000.
I hope this helps to clarify your questions below.
More troubling still, is while all that was being before the council, an unannounced, in the background set of shadow dealings and pronouncements and inducements were being made by Landform which were material to the decision making of whether or not to buy the farm. And some of those making that multi-million dollar decision were being deliberately excluded from material information that might impact a decision - that some officials were considering not merely taking title and waiting, but were aggressively dealing with a single firm in relative secret to do otherwise and to pay that firm in the process.
What were the presentations by Landform behind the backs of some while the land purchase had not yet been concluded? We can only guess. There has been no paper trail maintained or disclosed. It can be reasonably anticipated that Landform insiders were pushing, prodding, advancing their firm's interests, and worse of all possibilities, perhaps having an influence indirectly on the purchase situation.
Given that at the July 2009 vote approving a contract between the city and Landform, at least three of the council members had previiously voted to close a multi-million land deal while kept fully in the dark about what Landform was up to, with other city officials - would you call such procedures irregular?
I do. SEC Rule 10b-4 gives some suggestion about "material misstatements or omissions" in disclosure being improper. And there's no credible dance around the fact that key decision makers were not accorded the material information others had. A material omission, so to speak.
The evidence for saying that Landform contacts, with some happened before the June 26 closing: See for example the second screenshot page of the above solicitation item pages, referencing "our previous discussions" without further detail with the date on the face page being June 19, 2009 so that pivotal discussion was afoot at least two weeks before the deal with the bank and county on its taxes closed - and with a substantial portion of the council in the dark about the pond scheme and other ideas others were actively discussing.
That leaves much to the imagination of who from Landform spoke to who, from Ramsey. What is known is the item was addressed to Ulrich, and we know Lazan, Look, and Jungbauer are "Facebook friends."
(Don't expect the current Lazan Facebook page to look like the Google Cache page from mid-May of this year - different friends show up and a liking for "City of Ramsey" no longer is on the page (although any dislike is not strong enough to cause Landform to sever the contract.) Also, Google put the highlighting into the page to flag the search terms in the document's body, while I added the red underlining.)
In comparison to itemized billing with work descriptions and time allocation, (the overwhelming prevailing norm in professional services contracting for a city wanting an unimpeachable paper trail), flat-fee changeover creates the opposite impression, to the public, one of choosing to shield factual detail from the cleansing sunshine of public data status. Remember - as long ago as 1914, Justice Brandies characterized sunshine as "the best disinfectant."
There is no previous [pre-contract] record of any water-related bill sponsorship by the Senator for Ramsey's ostensible benefit, certainly none in the two million dollar plus range, and it only happened after the Senator's employer was hired under lucrative terms by Ramsey; the date of origination of Senate Bill SF 2500, the bill imaged above, being 9 Feb 2010, a date well after a cash flow from Ramsey to Landform of roughly $15,000 per month had become an established pattern, July 2009 or thereabouts, onward.
The Senator sponsored no comparable water-related legislation for any other city or town within his district, (neither before nor after the Ramsey-Landform contract status began), while Ramsey was accorded such attention only afterward.
The Senator, with Lazan of Landform and Ulrich of Ramsey appeared at an Economic Development Association of Minnesota 21-22 Jan 2010 winter meeting in downtown Minneapolis, touting that water recycling was an appaently pivotal thing in the minds of all three, and "the City must find a way to provide a long-term sustainable water solution that will allow the anticipated development to occur. Therefore, the City of Ramsey has been considering additional ways to reduce, reuse and recycle water in their community. The City has requested State funding for a pilot program that could set a national example for protecting and recycling water, which virtually eliminates discharge to the adjacent Mississippi River and protects our natural resources while allowing development to occur." [emphasis added]
What state funding was requested prior to Jan. 21, 2010, and from whom, is left to guessing, there being no paper trail offered to substantiate such a public representation. We know only the actual bill this session was not tendered the legislature until, as noted, 9 Feb. 2010. That is weeks after the downtown propaganda presentation.
That is inconsistent with use of the past tense in representing to the development group that, at the time of the meeting, effort had already been advancing. If so, it appears to have been so without any paper trail disclosed to me in response to a public data discovery request (as well as inquisitive email to Landform), so there is yet more uncertainty, murkiness, where an incentive and need to dot every "i" and cross every "t" should have been apparent to all.
Lack of a paper trail produces the exact opposite impression that a clear and unequivocally definitive one would generate.
It is incomprehensible to me how prior to January 22, 2010, the city "has requested State funding for a pilot program that could set a national example for protecting and recycling water," without there being application papers of some kind to show for it. Yet that's so far the official story. And the city has produced no application papers from any date, much less from prior to Jan. 22, 2010, while if in city files it would be public data with disclosure appropriate under my reading of Minnesota law.
Perhaps it goes without saying, but $2,620,000 is not an insubstantial amount. The irregular lack of a paper trail concerning such a vast possible windfall for Ramsey, at times when the Ramsey Town Center situation is troubled and positive "spin" is being applied elsewhere in an apparent propaganda blitz; the long ongoing "back burner" status of over two and a half million dollars of public money, taxpayer money, is a staggering negligent and/or improper thing.
The obvious question - were the grant to have been realized - what were the spending plans?
What part of any such grant would have been earmarked to be dedicated to Landform post-grant effort, the entity and the individuals within it, in planning. It is inconceivable that with a potential two and a half million on the table, planning was absent.
When it appears the city has no set of papers indicating what would be done, where, by whom, in any way coordinated with DEED, the agency that presumably would be more than a cash conduit, then perhaps someone should be asking DEED officials, "What do you know about all this?"
It would be a start to flesh out the skeleton. I will not say "rattling skeleton" or "buried skeleton" as that terminology suggests conclusions hard to reach with any certainty, from the very highly irregular situation of two and a half million of State money being sought in hard times, for a grant that is wholly a ghost - insubstantial as to reasons, plans, and disbursement intent.
The who, what, where, when, how, why questions are unanswered and it is improper for a city, a consulting firm, a Minnesota Senator, and others to conduct public business that way.
Something in it for Mike? Anything is possible with that kind of irregular paper trail. Proving specific things circumstantially in such an instance is not easy, since alternative inferences can be drawn many of which are wholly innocent and untainted - but absent some cogent and readily offered and credible set of official explanations for lack of a paper trail, at Ramsey, from the Senator, and from DEED, over effort and intent to direct an uncertain future for $2.6 million of taxpayer cash; that is the single most damning circumstantial evidence imaginable when these are people knowing how to document things sufficiently when they want to and knowing they have a duty to do so, all or most as public servants, with the Senator and Ramsey elected and administrative officials in that category, with Darren Lazan not so.
And it is a bunch of self-proclaimed "fiscal conservatives" that are prolonging silence about what it is all about.
Matt Look on August 5, 2009, sent me an email stating in relevant part:
This has to do with Jungbauer. By the way, he works for Landform, it is not his company. Jungbauer has a lead on pilot program dollars totally up to 2 million in which we can design into our town center plan and be eligible to receive. These are not open to the public grant dollars....where everyone competes. These are dollars that he can use if he provides a water recycle project in his district...the first in the state. That is why we chose Landform. That reason would be above and beyond the excellent recommendations we received from communities that have hired them in the past.
Everything is above board on this one. We did not have to go through a 60-90 day RFP. There is at least one other communities on the "hunt" for these dollars and we would rather not have them eat our lunch.
First, how does that expressed worry that no other community "eat our lunch" square with the Jan. 2010 public touting of what was represented then as formulated plans that could be trend-setting in scope, at an Economic Development Association of Minnesota event which was professionals talking to professionals about municipal "innovation" with that very public forum being addressed on topic by a State Senator, also an employee of a services contracting firm, a city administrator, and a proffered head of the services firm; where any need to limit "pilot program dollars" awareness of other municipalities is wholly absent in the circumstances?
Second, how does the date of SF 2500 introduction, Feb. 2010, square with the allegation of "a lead on pilot program dollars totally up to 2 million," as the Matt Look email represented to be a situation in existence and having substance prior to August 5, 2009?
Did Jungbauer know of any actual $2 million dollar lead, and if so, why would he have had to put a Feb. 2010 bill in the hopper for two million? A "lead" is far different from an "intent."
And an intent, conditional upon a consultancy contract first coming into being, is a troubling possibility; i.e., running the Look email statement in with the fact that Landform was hired in part because of a two million dollar potentiality, but that the two million having substance - in favor of Ramsey - only happened after Ramsey began paying money to Landform makes things look suspect.
What is the role of DEED in things? The SF 2500 bill would have used DEED as conduit for the cash to Ramsey? This is the agency that in the past has swapped Pawlenty chief of staff individuals into and out of DEED's executive director's office. With that history, and Minnesota's aggressive investigative press and an aggressive opposition party in a watchdog posture, one would expect DEED at least would want a flawless paper trail. All the "i's" dotted, all the "t's" crossed.
Finally, in response to a request for the City's paper trail on the water recycling experiment scope and funding plans, documentation for the timing of its genesis, evolution and actualization effort, only one document was offered me as existing in city hands, from Brian Olson in engineering through Kurt Ulrich, this four page preliminary draft item:
That's it. Apparently nothing else on paper. One undated preliminary draft. But a quite interesting one.
That seems to say that Jungbauer had an actual role in preparation of the document, [the last page boxed note about "verify/refine this text DL,MJ"], and the seeming purpose of the item, some kind of tour at Ramsey Town Center in relation to bonding, a "BONDING TOUR." Who toured, when, with what official position, and who hosted that tour. And was any Jungbauer activity in that billed out to Ramsey as a service provided by Landform? Depending on when it happened, before or after the flat-fee arrangement was put in place, there might be an invoice from Landform to Ramsey showing Jungbauer time being billed, and describing the professional activity or function his time was being billed for. I need to have a second shot at looking at the full set of invoices. The last time I went to have a look, Mayor Ramsey was there and we spoke at length during the time I had planned to examine paperwork. I am certain there will be no problem in again getting a chance to have a look.
The rendering of ponding and a piping scheme on the document's last page page suggests Landform was in a position to be front-running any competitive bidder on any grant project, were a grant to have been funded. They already had conceptualization done, and presented, to some uncertain at present audience, to influence such an audience, in some as yet uncertain fashion. That a specific audience was envisioned is clear from the first page sidebar Mayor's welcome statement, "Thank you for visiting Ramsey. [...] Our residents and I wish you a great visit." If you are as I am, a resident of Ramsey, do you wonder who we were wishing a great visit to; i.e., who was on this "BONDING TOUR"? Wouldn't you be comfortable seeing it documented in city records who we were well-wishing?
A cynic might view the entire exercise as Senator Jungbauer offering a bill seeking to have $2.6 million of state funds passed through two amenable intermediaries, DEED and City of Ramsey, to ultimately land in whole or substantial part, potentially, with Senator Jungbauer and/or a range of members of the firm employing him as his livelihood. What Ramsey might realize on the ground could be a total disaster, or a sound and functioning ideally low-maintenance system . But that is irrelevant to how the cash would flow and where it would ultimately land among the players, including the Senator seeking the bond funding by a bill he alone authored, and the Senator working on the firm that is drawing steady money out of City of Ramsey.
It could end up as a kind of a boost of livelihood potential, at taxpayer expense, above and beyond the legislative salary every Minnesota Senator is paid. A bonus. Of a kind. Self-arranged. Other scenarios are of course possible, and no crystal ball is precise in knowing the future. But the mere possibilities of things are offensive, to me at least, and I leave readers to make their own assessment.
Again, my two possible solutions. First, Ramsey can cast off Landform's contract on thirty days notice and there is cause to do so so that the city can appear more credible than otherwise.
Second, any funding Jungbauer obtains legislatively should be sanitized by being off-limits for Landform to dig into in any amount. That second option has the unfortunate dimension of the giant tick attachment syndrome, it does nothing about the ongoing fifteen thousand a month removal of city funds that Landform currently is allowed by officials whose purpose is to serve the public interest.
The Mayor mentioned to me at one time that John Dehen refused to sign a Landform contract document as chair of the HRA because Dehen believed the purchased Ramsey Town Center destressed vacant land should have been purchased and held, without Landform being on a consultancy contract to promote the thing as a publicly owned land development promotion. And that Dehen thought in agreeing to the purchase in the first place that a customer for the bloc of land would be sought to take on the risk-reward position of prime developer, not the city.
I believe the Mayor correct on that being the position Dehen had back in July-August 2009, just after the purchase closed and Landform's tracks began showing up.
However, the item Dehen refused to sign was NOT an initial contract in the summer 2009 time frame, but the cut over from an itemized billing status to flat-fee where Landform could avoid accounting for the who-what-when-how aspects of itemized hourly billing. That was months after the initial Landform dealings. It was well after Landform's status as propaganda promoter was set and had been paid thousands upon thousands of city dollars. Here is the document, dated, showing it was the flat-fee cutover timeframe that Jeffrey signed when Dehen refused [I remember the firing of Archibald Cox as Nixon special prosecutor went to a third choice after two "not me" resignations, before Robert Bork agreed to the eternal ignominy of being the hireling to fire Cox at Nixon's beck and call]. Dehen refused to put his signature to the flat-fee device.