consultants are sandburs

Monday, May 30, 2011

Yet another Minnesota Bank, poised on the brink of failure. Imprudent mismanagement and unsound decision-making strikes again!

I do not believe this will be the first time a Flaherty & Collins adventure brings a junior lender to ruin.

Uncle Joe to the Gang of Four. I want YOU (Knowing you have a five-year-plan, yes?)

What IS the opposite of "to privatize?" Is it "to publicize?"

To "publicize" rental housing in town of Ramsey?


I see the four of them,
way off to the left over there ...
Colin, Dave, Jeff, Bob -- even Bob.
Matt, Matt even, way to the left there,
so far to the left I barely recognize him
saying, "Subsidize my train stop."
My horse is crying.

Did the Gang of Four Ramsey Brain Trust, Bob, Colin, Jeff and Dave, miss the presentation, or go there and get a mega dose of city-as-driving-entrepreneur anti-invisible hand religion?

They saw the light, were baptized, took communion and now are Distressed Property - Investment Opportunities in Today's Market acolytes. Wouldn't it be nice, however, if they were using their own money?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

RAMSEY - Are you Experienced? Have you ever been Experienced? Darren has.

Certainly all this stuff detailed below must have been dlsclosed to City officials, with documentation on file, since downside disclosure should never be withheld and omitting material facts can have a misleading effect, even if the non-disclosure is innocent error and not willful deceit.

Yet, all I have seen in the original inducment papers disclosed by the City per a public data disclosure request, is a self-touting brochure provided Kurt Ulrich by Landform before the City had even closed purchase of the distressed mess from out of the bank's foreclosure effort.

Yet Darren would not sandbag, dissemble, hoodwink, BS, or tap dance around the full truth, we know that, so his downside disclosure must have somehow gotten lost by city officials or withheld from me for other unknown reasons.

However, now since I know of no other public disclosure - to the public of Ramsey, here 'tis:

Start, Wikipedia on Watertown MN, Carver County, with the above charming and bucolic view from Wiki images, here (you can see, they have a real town center, with nothing plastic-fantastic, transit-oriented-development TOD, made-by-Met-Council from an overpriced corn field, for Watertown's "historic area" -- Real Honest Stuff, evolved over time, instead).

And: They in Watertown also have something to face, called, "Tuscany Village." And: Darren is experienced.

Specifically, Darren is quite recently quite experienced; with shared-wall real estate projects that go SPLAT! midway to a finishing, hard-to-miss, big-time SPLAT.

And, surely, he has told all that to each Ramsey council member, including the three that voted against handing out millions of city money to Flaherty & Collins as if Ramsey were a commercial bank, (but where no commercial bank would even for a moment contemplate an eight million dollar second lien behind a first priority lien of twenty-six million).

Banks are experienced. Especially, a commercial bank would not touch such a thing, the market being what it is with the trend the bankers' friend - so don't buck the trend; and especially so, with no mention yet of personal guarantees to the city against loss, given by Mr. Flaherty and Mr. Collins, jointly and severally, nor any mention so far of whether either or both of them would have enough collateral to actually secure any such guarantee, collateral such as unencumbered cash flows from all their other realty adventures nationwide which could be pledged to Ramsey in good faith and without trickery or obfuscating delay or the interposing of judgment-proof hollow shell entities. Ponying up real money security for a prudent town not wanting improper risk of loss or loss or even embarrassment. That's a norm that a prudent bank would want, without even stooping to look at a naked second lien posture (i.e., unsecured beyond second place in line against the property adventure, itself). A pension fund, like a prudent bank shepherding other peoples' money, would expect the same - even the wildest hedge fund imaginable, these days, would be prudent about risk.

Two dated item pages, Watertown town council minutes, Nov. and Dec., 2009 (here and here, if you care to read more than is relevant). Click each image to enlarge to read of "Darren Lazan," "Landform," and project promoters and other hangers-on with the status of tapped out turkeys on a half-finished very, very distressed deal. Do read each, please. (Or later wish you had.)

Here - A Dec. 2010 City of Watertown survey - of the size of the Tuscany Gardens SPLAT. This quite informative Strib comment thread, still online, (although I could not find online the reporting to which it attaches).

These screenshot samples of current Tuscany Village pricing, a multi-selection screenshot, and detailed review of one of these choice properties.

NEXT: Tuscany Village, Flickr photo sharing here and here; with the uncanny resemblance to what Darren's seen of Town Center making it impossible for him to not connect the two and realize the situation of the one should be reavealed to the other, especially prior to any plunge into a land deal in these times, where experience of a failure directly might, when communicated to Ramsey officials, have an effect upon decision-making in Ramsey. One of the Flickr comments uses the term "zombie subdivision." Darren's experienced, with problematic zombie subdivision, if you like that term.


I am certain that Darren, knowing his good faith duties, being experienced, and being the responsible person he is and not evasive or deceitful, has to have revealed all Tuscany Village detail to the city and what he'd learned from it; as certain as I am that three on council, Dave J., Randy and Jason will be pinning that truth down for the others - who doubtlessly are too short of time to check anything out, about anything. Elvig should be interested to join those three, being the one on council most aware of how when a real property related venture hits the shoals, insiders have ways of managing to direct as much of what's left of things to themselves as the law permits, with others left holding the bag.


How better to close, then with an image from one who apparently knows the full chapter and verse text of the Republicans' Conservative Manifesto, and who does not merely give lip service to its Book of Proverbs, but who's taken the full Koolaid communion:

Finally, for those not having the time nor will to check anything out, about anything, and with a major skill set being limited to spending city wealth as if it is going out of style, there is always at some point an affirmative answer possible, perhaps probable, to: The Question.

While previously getting a "404 page not available" error on the Strib item the comments attached to; now on a retry I got pages onscreen of the multipage item, e.g., here, and here.

The Strib reporting does not mention any tie of business or friendship between Lazan and the Lakeland effort; nor is it clear from Watertown records when Lazan involved himself into the SPLAT, or under what circumstances such as on behalf of what person or entity, when, and whether circumstances changed much as things went from bad to worse.

However, the full experience of the Lakeland financing of the Tuscany Village thing, and the Flaherty & Collins quitting pattern in North Carolina when projects went sour and they felt it in their interest to abandon things where others were left to absorb suffering, are things the Ramsey Council should explore in minute detail; with disclosure by persons given on paper, so later a paper trail exists should there be questions.

The two Watertown Council Minutes pages indicate Lazan/Landform represented Lakeland.

Strib laid out a story of total sleaze regarding Lakeland. Lay down with dogs, get fleas.

There is explaining to be done, and I have no official say in what the questions and reverberations at the council table will be. I certainly believe that consultants should be as pure as Ceasar's wife; and if not, they should be shown the way out of town.

_____________FURTHER UPDATE______________
I believe this is the same Lakeland that Lazan-Landform was assisting - with Lakeland accused by a bank of being a poorly run imprudent fraudster. A quality client, for Darren and Mike?

That page links to the Bank's complaint; here.

It is unclear to me what experienced role Landform played in things for Lakeland, when first involved, involvement if any before the SPLAT, how much cash flow to Landform, and in return for what services exactly? Not that they'd tell me. The point is, they should already have told it all to City officials, as a fiduciary downside disclosure duty. "We represented a scuzbag, to the extent that, ..." is relevant to guaging how Ramsey is being represented, as is the question of whether Landform is taking Flaherty & Collins money, while acting, ostensibly, as Ramsey's fiduciary advisor and agent, owing Ramsey, as principal, the highest degree of undivided loyalty. With Flaherty-Collins own past North Carolina history, and Landform bringing them to the doorstep of our town, the question of whose cat is dragging in this deal IS relevant.

And that bank complaint, its 72 page description of alleged imprudence and fraud, is helpful to those inexperienced, but having willingly plunged into the cold deep end of the pool. I hope the gang of four studies it in its entirety. History has lessons. Fiduciary responsibilities, of those elected as well as hired, should not ever be given short shrift. That's wrong when it happens.

Here are the opening two complaint pages - giving a flavor of allegations:

Here is an early complaint page beginning details alleging "an aggressive growth agenda based on unproven means." Perhaps that characterization of doing things sounds familiar, (e.g, Flaherty-Collins had an ill-advised aggressive growth agenda in North Carolina, while massive shared-wall rental housing growth in Ramsey is unproven, yet, some would risk taxpayer fiscal means):

This question is relevant: What did Landform know and do, and when did they know and do it; i.e., when did Landform first involve itself as agent of those so characterized, and what planning role might it have had along the way?

MOREOVER I think these links relate to the same Lakeland adventuring: here, here, here, here, and the "Lakeland" showing up repeatedly, for example, here. Of those documents, this one in opening appendix pages references existence of a Lakeland receiver, and it seems Kurt Ulrich might want Tom Bray to review files and make due diligence contacts with that receiver, regarding Lazan-Landform involvement, if any, in untoward dealings. Less than that would breach city official due diligence expectations, at least my expectations that way. Yours too? Go figure. Bray can report back his findings and view of how the city should vacinate itself with cautions. The city should, with council demanding it, instruct Bray to take every step in paperwork drafting and review; to protect the financial integrity of the city in the event these hell-bent-to-do-it gang of four members hang together and push into hitherto never explored City of Ramsey realty speculation and adventuring where they could, since SPLATS do happen, end up being a shared-wall high-density landlord of last resort.

It is an ugly thought, but without a change in course it is not an unlikely outcome.

I'd say more likely than not this rental housing experiment in Ramsey WILL go splat, but nobody has a faultless crystal ball, certainly not Mr. Flaherty or Mr. Collins; their track record proves their crystal ball is unduly defective. Overoptimistic and defective, but with others left holding the bag.

RAMSEY - More retrospective. Let us study it to death, blather, get nothing done for over a year while Jim Deal brings in a VA clinic, and pay Mike's pal Darren and two other stooges a lot of city money in the interim with nothing to show for it. Sounds like a plan. Sounds like what we bought.

This link. Three Landform luminaries showing up. If it reads now like a bad joke, it was. Darren and two others showed up. Which one was Moe?

So, the clown now says bond to give money to people from Indiana; such as they are; two bankruptcies, an arson at a property, and a host of lawsuits. Consumers put up 7.3 million dollars to these gentlemen in a big deal in North Carolina, and it got disappeared.

Bravo, Landform. You pick only blue-ribbon. Champions.

Oh, liven things up. Add a few Vegas junkets. It's good form to go to Vegas, to develop Ramsey. The more on council going, the merrier.

After all, look what it yielded.

Don't mess with success.

LOOKING BACK. Only a coward does this kind of hatchet job anonymously. And, what family chasing a bigger pay check do YOU think it was aimed at helping?

The website, during the election went below my radar, but I am certain there was a group among whom it was known. Strictly a hatchet job, and by a coward.

Who did this, and more interstingly, with whose blessing and hopes? What it was, I believe, was someone from Steffen's own political party, knifing her in the back. Go figure. Who gained? Who called City of Ramsey buying the monstrosity out of foreclosure a "success" and then before history could write the true story, quit on the purchase to chase other things?

Still online, this link.

Criticism of a politician is fair. Put the credibility of your name behind the criticism, however, unless your name has no credibility. It is that simple.

Moreover, look at the batch of amateur wannabe-developers playing gambling games with taxpayer money, (that part of it they are not giving to Landform); and there has to be The Question.

It is curious how all the things leveled as criticism at Steffen (and others), are being trumped in great measure by the successors on Ramsey's council, those moving in after the folks criticized on that blog - and moving in with stated intentions to do things "conservatively."

Competing repeatedly with the private sector, including the latest thought to enter into banking, how is that "conservative?"

This is not, "doomed to repeat the mistakes of history" these days by this council four-man majority; it is jumping at the opportunity.

____________FURTHER UPDATE_____________
Here is the latest post from that blog site, (this one dated), and it is post primary where there were then only two candidates; as the last sentence acknowledges [screenshot taken and posted because some things do get scrubbed from the web under some circumstances].

I admit I have not fully studied that hatchet-job site [being no hound for punishment], but from what I scanned, that closing sentence IS the only one I recall seeing mentioning any of Steffen's opponents, three pre-primary, her vs. Look in the general election.

And that site was not ever handled in any real context of comparison and contrast; it was strictly an attack job and nothing else, from the get-go. It shows unthinking hubris to not have taken down the site once the election was over.

Readers, help me, who was it on a facebook page that coined the term "casino train"? I'd have to go back through a bunch of saved screenshots to pin that down as a certainty. It's a terminology I have not encountered in any wide context, facebook, this closing website post, I cannot recall seeing it elsewhere.

Friday, May 27, 2011

RAMSEY - and who is Flaherty and Collins - How they describe the quality they intend in Ramsey, a quality special for our special community, said by some to be "of a quality unsurpassed in the state."

An ABC Newspapers Dec 10, 2010 report by Sakry - describing the rental housing project:

Flaherty & Collins has hired Urban Works of Minneapolis to design the project, which will likely take three years to build.

The project will be geared toward young professionals, mostly likely single with high disposable income, Crossin said.

The apartment sizes will range from a studio flat of 650 square feet to a two bedroom/two bathroom apartment up to 1,200 square feet.

Rents will be from $815 for the studio flat to $1,275 or $1,400 on the two bedroom/two bathroom apartment configurations.

The three-bedroom townhomes with two-car, tuck-under garages are expected to be 1,838 square feet and rent for $1,800.

Each unit will feature nine-foot ceilings, 42-inch cabinets, granite counter tops, track and pendant lighting, brushed nickel hardware, Roman soaking tubs in the bathrooms, ceramic tile, stainless steel or black appliances, Berber carpet, some wood flooring, oversized windows and ceiling fans in the bedrooms and the living room.

The complex’s amenities include a fitness room with aerobic and weight machines, free weights and flat screen television.

The building will also have a 200 square-foot theater as well as a gathering room, which is designed like a living room for people to congregate, Crossin said.

The room can be used for parties or just for visiting, wine tastings, football gatherings and holiday parties, he said.

It will feature flat screen televisions, free WiFi in all common areas, a kitchen and billiards, according to Crossin.

The Residence will also have a courtyard with a outdoor resort-style swimming pool for summer recreation, a fire pit and gathering areas with benches and tables for year-round activities.

Custom quality, for our unique opportunity. However -

Compare the sidebar description, this FC brochure page screenshot, and it's claimed upscale ambiance; deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra said:

I could be wrong seeing a similarity of what Sakry reported for the Town Center rentals, to this "Cumberland Pointe" thing's language:

When completed in July 2008, it will have 208 units. The luxury apartment homes will feature 52 one-bedroom, one-bath units; 132 two-bedroom, two-bath units, and 24 three-bedroom, two-bath units.

All of the apartment homes will have nine-foot ceilings, washer/dryer connections, patios and balconies, and high-speed Internet. The apartment community will also feature a resort-style pool, clubhouse, premier fitness club, business center , tanning salon, private cinema, and a great room with a gourmet kitchen, coffee bar and billiards.

I guess we may have Ramsey council members saying that Cumberland Pointe will be "of a quality unsurpassed in the state" of Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina --- in whatever state it is in which this Nobelsville town and its Cumberland Pointe housing project is sited.

"Of a quality unsurpassed in the state," indeed.

Effusiveness has its place, just not around me.

RAMSEY - and who is Flaherty and Collins - A burning question.

SOPHISTICATION IN THE CITY. It says so. Flaherty and Collins talking about themselves. Flaherty and Collins, touting themselves, their ambiance, their then-new outstanding home-town project.

In the two screen shots, the opening two pages from here, (that firm's Spring '08 online buzz sheet), you even get to see what each of the gentlemen look like as well as details of calling themselves sophisticated. Cosmopolitan and sophisticated. Click to enlarge and view:

For those interested in architectural matters, uniquely local quality design etc., here for your comparison is a rendering of the purportedly special rental project being trumpeted and touted for the failed Ramsey Town Center as that which will resuscitate a CORpse (image from ABC Newspapers, Sakry Dec. 10, 2010 reporting):

Ah, so very pretty! Pretty special. Unique. That it might only prosper as well as that sophisticated and of all things equally pretty and promising "Cosmopolitan on the Canal."

Continuing: This link, or just click and read the screenshot.

This link, or just click and read the screenshot.

It's very windy at Town Center. This link, or just click and read the screenshot.

This link, or just click and read the screenshot.

Presumably the thing was insured. With no occupants, no horrid death.


Billy Joel. For his fans, this link to one of his all time favorites.

This local Indiana news outlet, a site search, Flaherty Collins. It appears the firm reentered into developing the project; presumably via less fire-prone construction measures. Also, this link. Here. Two further news outlet searches for "flaherty," here and here.

Cosmopolitan apartment fire prompts lawsuit, Scott Olson, December 8, 2010; this link.

____________FURTHER UPDATE___________-
Here, "Investigators: Canal fire was intentionally set," this excerpt:

Federal, state and local agencies are working on the investigation. They include the National Response Team (NRT) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the ATF Columbus Field Division, the Indianapolis Fire and Metropolitan Police Departments and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security's State Fire Marshal's office. More than 50 people were interviewed in the process of the investigation.

Investigators took photographs, conducted interviews and recovered potential evidence from the scene for laboratory analysis. The ATF will leave Indianapolis Tuesday and the evidence will be analyzed at an ATF lab.

Herbert Miller, a private fire investigator with ARC Investigations who used to work for IFD, says it's too early in the investigation to reveal much information.

"The situation is that they don't want to put out any sensitive information. They are probably going to do analysis of the samples they have extradited from the scene," Miller said.

The developers are now free to start the demolition and rebuilding process, which according to Miller, means the investigators know exactly what started the fire.

"But they have a lot of work to do before they can really start naming specifics," Miller said.

Investigators fear too much information might tip off their suspects. Everyone working on the project have been ruled out - at least for now.

"When we had our meeting with [the ATF], they don't think it is an arson for profit. We had that conversation," Collins said. "We don't have any reasons to suspect anybody."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

RAMSEY - and who is Flaherty and Collins - $7.3 million of good faith condo buyer money disappeared. A thinly capitalized intermediary - of all things - was used. Reporting is that repeated victim phone calls were not returned. The paper's phone call was ignored. A public-does-not-need-to-know mentality, perhaps?

More than 200 people paid more than $7.3 million in deposits for units in uptown's 210 Trade

Kerry Hall Singe
Kerry Hall Singe
Kerry Hall Singe writes on business and development for The Charlotte Observer.

[Readers can click the above live-link headline for the entire North Carolina reporting or continue here for relevant parts of the excerpted story. It exposes part of the personality behind the allegedly upscale "Bride and Pride of RAMSEY" found by city matchmakers Darren and Mike, at Landform. Note that the matchmaker firm gets a humongo commission but only if the marriage takes place. They have that as incentive for advising that the marriage under any circumstances be consumated.]

Randy and Adrienne Hollifield were considering a move to Charlotte from Tampa when their online search found plans for a proposed uptown entertainment complex and adjoining condo tower.

They were hooked.

At 210 Trade, they could live next door to the sports arena and light rail line. They could walk to restaurants.

After a quick visit to Charlotte in January 2007 to view site plans, the couple paid more than $25,000 as a deposit on a corner unit, asked for work transfers and moved to the Queen City.

"It was just very enticing. We wanted to be back in an urban area," said Randy Hollifield, who had lived in Fourth Ward years earlier.

Their dreams were crushed this week when the project's developer, Charlotte FC, an affiliate of Indianapolis-based Flaherty & Collins Properties, filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition indicating it wanted to liquidate its remaining assets instead of reorganize.

The filing caps nearly two years of uncertainty for the project, which has been mired in lawsuits and an alleged squabble over building codes. Construction on the condo tower at College and Trade streets stopped in February 2008.

That the developer of 210 Trade filed for liquidation, instead of a reorganization, likely kills any chance depositors will get their money back, attorneys say. The tower wasn't built - only the foundation was poured, with the slab sitting atop a corner of the EpiCentre, rebar jutting out.

[...] The bankruptcy filing gives a glimpse into how people lost as little as $11,000 and as much as half a million dollars in deposits for units at 210 Trade.

More than 200 people paid more than $7.3 million in deposits for 261 units between 2006 and 2007, according to the filing, which lists 59 pages of unsecured creditors.

More than half a dozen buyers told the Observer they were embarrassed and angry about the ordeal, saying Flaherty & Collins didn't respond to repeated calls or e-mails made during the past year. A call to the company was not returned.

[...] David Pfleeger paid a $150,000 deposit for a two-story penthouse, according to the bankruptcy filing. Pfleeger said he and his wife planned to have his mother-in-law, Tina Chiofalo, move in with them. The floor plan would have allowed the couple to look after Chiofalo but still have privacy.

"It seemed a great opportunity," he said.

In anticipation of the move, Chiofalo sold her home 18 months ago and moved in with the Pfleegers in their Fourth Ward condo. Pfleeger, president of Atlanta-based AOS USA Inc, which consults clients on facilities and project management, has since turned his home office into a television room for Chiofalo.

He said he's frustrated by how Flaherty & Collins never responded to the 10 telephone messages he left.

"Things go up and things go down. I understand the realities of life and that you don't always win," he said. "But it seems like the state lets the developer take the money and not communicate with folks. It doesn't seem right."

Developer Afshin Ghazi, who built the adjoining EpiCentre, said he couldn't comment on the bankruptcy filing or Flaherty & Collins, which is involved in lawsuits with his company, The Ghazi Co.

Ghazi said he and close friends and family members lost more than half a million dollars in deposits on a dozen units. His parents, he added, had hoped to live in the tower.

In court papers, the developers blame each other for the tower's problems. Flaherty & Collins claimed The Ghazi Co. refused to provide agreements that could help them satisfy city code requirements, while Ghazi has said the developers did not get the needed financing and were using the permitting issue to "extort millions of dollars" from his firm.


Litigiousness. Financing inadequacies. Finger-pointing. Stonewalling those who were unsecured creditors.

Just who you'd be happy to take a multi-million dollar second lien position with, because of reliability, right?

No cause at all for doubt in Ramsey, with a track record like that, right?

No cause to demand substantial collateral security, if any exists, from the main firm, and to rely only upon an affiliated intermediary such the shell involved in North Carolina, right?

No red flags in any of that, right?

Good that Darren and Mike were so diligent in ferreting out the reported news in North Carolina, and not just being jolly well satisfied with whatever Flaherty or Collins told them, right?

Good that there exists a thick portfolio documenting the earliest and ongoing due diligence of Landform, in meeting fiduciary duty owed City of Ramsey, right?

I look forward to reviewing that thick portfolio, since I have a public data disclosure request in with the City, and they most certainly would not stonewall me the way those Carolina buyers got the stonewall treatment.


The city is lucky we have an outstanding, adept, alert, concerned, and prudent council majority. Right?

RAMSEY - and who is Flaherty and Collins - that firm's pattern of bankrupting on deals gone sour. I admit to having been slow, but with a learning curve with a little upward slope. I Googled. Sakry of ABC Newspapers published a report last December that I overlooked.

Doing a site specific Google of ABC Newspapers, search term "Flaherty," yielded ten hits with indications of culled redundancy. I redid it to include all items, twenty hits, this Google.

Others can take the time to educate themselves as I should earlier have done. (Here, e.g., is reporting to consider, but a digression from Flaherty and Collins specifics).

Regarding Flaherty and Collins; Dec. 10, 2010, Sakry reported:

With the financial market still weak because of the state of the economy, the assistance the project will receive is only the minimum required to make the complex a success, [Jim Crossin, Flaherty and Collins development vice president ...] said.

There is no luxury family housing in communities northwest of Minneapolis, which presents a challenge to secure financing without subsidies because it is a new concept, he said.

Using TIF and other financial means that other financial entities don’t have, the city can make sure this project has the horsepower to finish, said Councilmember David Elvig.

Caught off guard

Although Flaherty & Collins Properties has been in business since 1993 building, constructing and managing multi-family housing in nine states and has 90 properties, totaling 12,000 units, the company has had two projects go into bankruptcy in recent years.

In October 2009, the company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on a 48-story, 419-unit condo tower it was constructing in Charlotte, N.C.

It was followed seven months later when the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on a 274-unit apartment complex in Raleigh, N.C.

“The bankruptcies happened at a time when real estate values deflated because of the economy and (changes in) credit market,” Crossin said.

The Raleigh project had been completed, but the mortgage market situation made it difficult to get permanent financing to pay off the construction loan, even though the complex was 93 percent filled and was already making money, he said.

The project was later sold and everyone was paid, Crossin said.

“There was no impact to the residents,” he said.

Although the council was aware of the 2009 bankruptcy, several councilmembers were caught off guard when the 2010 bankruptcy was discovered after it approved the purchase agreement for the three acres of land and the development agreement Nov. 23.

Elvig supported the project at the Nov. 23 council meeting.

“It’s an exciting component,” he said.

The project is of a quality unsurpassed in the state, said Elvig.

Having 3,000 square feet of retail space under the housing is one of the most difficult aspects of The COR project and this gets it done right away, he said.

It will also brings about 400 people into The COR and to the proposed rail site, according to Elvig.
After the Nov. 23 meeting, city staff and councilmembers found out about the second bankruptcy.

“That was new information. It was a real blow to find out,” said Elvig.

The council had asked specifically on Flaherty & Collins’ business history and financials, he said.

Although the city had a Dun & Bradstreet report done on the company, it did not show both bankruptcies, Elvig said.

While Elvig said he understands the financial game is different in today’s market, “it’s not the mistakes, it’s how they are fixed that are important,” he said.

“It makes me a little more skeptical about the project,” Elvig said.

Councilmember John Dehen is concerned that Flaherty & Collins may be “attempting to pull the wool over council’s eyes to make it look favorable in the eyes of the Ramsey City Council that is giving Flaherty & Collins subsidies/monies,” he said.

“Bankruptcies are relevant information that should be disclosed and discussion should be had where public dollars are at risk,” Dehen said.

“The failure to disclose that information is either not being forthcoming from Flaherty & Collins or a pathetic failure to apprise the city council from Landform (the city’s development management consultant firm) who stands to gain financially on the project.”

“Either way, it stinks and places a cloud of suspicion on the project. I may choose not to do business with persons or companies who deliberately fail to give me relevant information but failure to disclose in my estimation is a reason for termination.”

After the council found out about the second bankruptcy, Flaherty & Collins provided the city with an explanation, Mayor Bob Ramsey said.

He has no concerns about the bankruptcy or that the city had not been told, he said.

The project meets all the criteria set by the council, according to Ramsey.

It’s going to bring more development into The COR and at least 230 new residents,” Ramsey said.

“A claimed high-end apartment complex that is subsidized approximately $6.75 million in The COR on the back of taxpayers is not a score for The COR,” said Dehen.

The city’s agreements with Flaherty & Collins provide protections if the project does go into bankruptcy, said Assistant City Administrator Heidi Nelson.

In addition to stopping any TIF payments, the agreements also allows the city to seek court action to reclaim the land.

(Subheadline Bolding in original - italics and red text emphasis added.)

I missed all that. Plain and simple.

To seek court action? Final paragraph of the quoted ABC reporting. So? You can take court action anytime you have any real or imagined cause, and the filing fee. What, when behind a first lender lien of twenty-six million dollars, is taking court action against a thin asset-free shell worth?

It's worth zippo. Zero. Nadda. Nothing.

Rx: Take an aspirin now, and face a twenty-six million first lien in the morning?

Remember - This Flaherty and Collins counter-party withheld fair disclosure of its disturbing recent history of taking a hike on commitments, promises and projects.

So again - What's access to the courts, (something always available to anyone), worth in terms of protection against loss arising from possible project abandonment by a thinly capatilized interposed LLC counter-party corporate shell owned by the entity whose track record is of readily and recently abandoning once, for a Chapter 7 cleansing on a highly speculative and costly project not unlike the Ramsey thing, as it went sour  and no longer to their liking - then twice - a repeat performance - for a Chapter 11 hands-on DIP reorganizaiton? If some party held a second multi-million dollar lien position in that reorg, or in the other North Carolina Chap. 7 purge, behind a much bigger multi-million dollar first lien position; is that relevant? Go figure.

Again, my challenge to the mayor is the "Would you continue doing business with such folks under the terms you find sufficient re the City, if it was YOUR MONEY being put at risk?" If so, the adage is a fool and his money are soon parted. Moreover, there is a public trust with public money. Prudent and conservative management is expected.

Bob Ramsey by comparison makes Tom Gamec look statesmanlike.

Now in my opinion Ramsey has forever made himself the Bobby McFerran "Don't Worry Be Happy" mayor.

Being fair - I cannot fault the mayor's trustworthiness but only his judgment. Nor do I fault the business judgment of Flaherty and Collins, in interposing a shell LLC or deals they cut, and wanting to minimize their capital at risk [purportedly $2.5 million of F-and-C cash for this thing being put into Ramsey, but with scant public detail about that]. Nor can I fault their business self-intersted judgment in trying to get an overly-compliant city council to plunge three times as much taxpayer money into the firm's for-profit risk taking than the firm itself is willing to expose to loss.

What Flaherty and Collins is attempting, Zygi would approve.

It is only "good business," for oneself, positioned as Flaherty-and-Collins is, to take as much advantage of the amateur-hour counter party as that counter party will permit. The city's purported fiduciary consultant, Landform, makes commission money if the deal closes but none if it flips, so go figure Landform's motivations in all this.

City permissiveness via the pliancy of the 4-member council majority may know no reasonable limits. So far that is the appearance.

Placing blame: I strongly fault Flaherty and Collins for the non-disclosure of material facts which if disclosed might have affected the decision making of a prudent counter-party.

That non-disclosure is beyond excuse and a deal killer in my book. It goes to fundamental trustworthiness.

I had not known of that situation while previously skeptical. Knowing that, the quality of reliance that can be placed in counter-party good faith disclosure, from this counter-party, is such that I would have nothing more to do with that bunch were it my decision, (in a referendum, for example).

Finally, after this non-disclosure situation became public, but not known on a widespread basis, our Mayor Ramsey and three others voted to hand to Landform, (relied upon for due diligence work as the city's agent), a two year honey-coated super favorable deal, lasting a year beyond the end of Bob Ramsey's present elected term as mayor; a year beyond Jeff Wise's present elected term at large; and a year beyond Mr. McGlone's present elected term ostensibly representing the interests of Ward 2. They voted beyond their terms, to bind future councils to a relationship with the Lazan-Jungbauer firm.

Just as insufficient due diligence was done at the start on the Flaherty and Collins past, there is nothing in the City-Landform contract I am aware of saying that Landform cannot take remuneration from a counter-party to the city while Landform is taking money from the city after bringing the counter-party to the city; i.e., Landform  is not constrained by contract from working both sides of the street in a deal. Doing so is not expressly a breach of contract. Again, go figure. Is GOP cronyism at play?

The consultancy contract can and should be amended. I would make it as a breach if Landform has taken, or ever does take money or other inducement from any counter-party it brings to the City of Ramsey, with a suitable remedy for such a breach being defined in the contract to be forfeiture of commission on any such deal.

The mayor can huff and puff in blog comments about first to want to terminate if both sides of the street are being worked. Talk is talk.

In blog commenting, the mayor dodges the question of whether he ever made any due diligence attempt to pin down Landform about whether it in fact is working both sides. Huffing and puffing while the present sweetheart contract stands without a sensible protection against Landform dual agency is unconvincing. And disvantageous for citizen-voter-taxpayers. Huffing and puffing without having a look at general register and check registers for the firm is less than some views of due diligence. Opinions can vary.


Why was such a clause against dual agency profiting never required from the very beginning of Ramsey's situation with Landform onward to the present? That is a question for the mayor. One hint -

Don't Worry, Be Happy, is not an answer.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

RAMSEY - Does it pass the Jim Deal test? Does it pass the, "Would YOU live there" test? Does it pass the, "Would you ever do this with YOUR own money" test?

Statue of Ben Dover, the Ramsey taxpayer.
Facing an eight million bend.

Jim Deal is nobody's fool. Not a dunce, nor an amateur. Hence, the Jim Deal test.

What's that?

I have seen people touting the letters, "WWJD" for "What would Jesus do?"

Same letters, add a "D" to get "WWJDD."

What would Jim Deal do? A good test since it is for things of a money dimension, (but not without questions of faith too, faith in who you are dealing with and how the future might unfold given the present).

Jim Deal knows money, and has not allowed himself to be hood-winked by some counterparty risk-taker getting out the "my financing woes are so burdensome" crying towel to sugar up a deal out of Deal's pocket.

Nor has Jim Deal, to my knowledge, let feeling overcome reason, by craving an outcome so much that he'd let that be so strong a feeling that it would overrule wisdom such as don't put yourself behind the eight ball.

Another way to say it is as John Demco, the Seattle lawyer I knew who prospered in real estate trading, "Some of the best deal outcomes for you are from the ones you walk away from."

And yet another way to say it is that "No" is as good a word as "Yes," and in some obvious situations better.

The point is: I move from within the comments to the sidebar poll post to here, below in its own separate post, the point and counterpoint existing in that comment thread, since it deserves everyone's attention with the mayor talking of a dislike for "dumb" things, and my "so you want some other question to chew on" response.

That exchange might be of interest to Ben Dover. And to you.

Here it is:


Bob Ramsey said...
Now this is a dumb poll question! Of course that would be a relevant question and I vote yes. The answer to the relevant question is, there is no evidence that they are and if there was any such evidence I would lead the charge to terminate the contract with Landform! Bob Ramsey
eric zaetsch said...
Bob, you want a better question? Who, in their right mind would even think of a second position of eight million behind a first position of twenty-six million on a deal at best worth thirty million - but not at best, instead in the midst of the worse depression of YOUR lifetime? Bob, chew on that question and another - Would Jim Deal take that second position? Go ask him, and if he says yes, substitute him there for the City. You guys are so set on this dumb rental thing, as if it's salvation on a light beam from on high; so what terms and conditions would the second position be subject to, per the first - you like no evidence questions and there's no evidence any of the clowns on the council majority on this project ever thought so far to ask or speculate on that one? Bob - Try this simple question: Would YOU live there? Answer that at the base of your soul and then this one: If you would not, why do you thing that others will in sufficient droves make that choice? Final question: Would you ever take a second position for eight million behind a twenty-six million first position, WITH YOUR OWN MONEY? Please, Bob, since you talk of what's dumb or legimitate, post your reply. I AM WAITING.

This is a serious set of questions. The pivotal one is, would a sophisticated individual like Jim Deal ever touch the position that some are suggesting the City of Ramsey should take.

Simply, ask him to.

If he says no, the obvious follow-up question is, "Why not?" And for that, hope he is willing to block out an hour and a half appointment so he can explain all his reasoning, in as simple a set of terms as necessary to get sense through to whoever it is he is talking to and the level of sophistication involved.

If BINGO! he says "Yes," then city council members, stand aside and hold Jim's coat while he steps to the plate and takes that second position for eight big ones where, if the thing tanks, he can foreclose the second position to get the promoter [claiming to be into it for about two-and-a-half million but check those books] out of ownership so as to own the adventure, subject to a first position of twenty-six big ones; with the terms and conditions there being, so far a black hole mystery but where the devil or a thousand devils will be in the details. Simply, it will not happen. In the simplest terms for simple minds, Jim Deal, as stated at the outset, is nobody's fool.

And what would it tell you if he says, "No, I don't think that would be a favorable position for me to assume"?

And Jim Deal, in all of that is within the private sector, where he owes no fiduciary duty to spend other people's grudgingly given tax money wisely. Wake up, Bob, Jeff, Colin, and Dave [and I guess Dave would be able to phrase the question substituting Jerry Bauer for Jim Deal and understand immediately an answer - Jerry Bauer not being anyone's fool either].

So that's it. The Jim Deal test, and on yes, stand aside and let him take that second position. That will happen and pigs will fly.

One final point for adding a bit more context to assist the understanding of those who have not viewed a particular recent HRA broadcast - an email I sent last night, after viewing that broadcast (click the image to enlarge and read):

That puts the good folks running [ruining?] our fine city into a dilemma. Either they stonewall and refuse to hand over the smoking gun, if there is one, or they provide all they hold. Minnesota law says they have to meet a data disclosure request promptly, and in good faith. If they do provide all they hold, and have nothing to show on either request, then I cannot imagine a more damning and dismal show of inattention to even the most minimal norms of due diligence than that.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Curtis Martinson's tardy sentencing for mid-decade banking crime. Sometimes the wheels of justice move slowly. But for a plea-bargain, the felon can keep his nose clean in intervening time, and dodge jail time.

Yesterday's sentencing, reported here by PiPress (a very brief excerpt below, so read the item itself for further interesting detail):

Curtis Alan Martinson was sentenced Monday to two years' probation and a $20,000 fine for conspiracy to commit bank fraud related to the Ramsey Town Center development.

Though Martinson, 55, could have faced up to six months in prison, U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz noted that prosecutors never connected the losses suffered by the banks that backed the Town Center project to the "dishonesty of Martinson and others."

You can say that again. It was a dumb project from the get-go, but the bankers did not make it dumb. That was done by the Met Council and the other local politicians, as well as the money-grubbing mentality of the landowner-land speculators, (with one as dilettante-politician with a purpose). Next, PiPress notes:

In addition to the probation and the fine, Martinson will perform 100 hours of community service in each of the next two years.

For community service I think they should make him ride around Town Center's vast wasteland acreage on a rider-mower whenever the weeds get above eight inches.

That's it. Read the rest at Pi-Press.

Monday, May 23, 2011

RAMSEY - Flaherty and Collins -- and money. And thoughts about the proper role of government.

The Republican led present council [with the McGlone, Ramsey and Wise seats up in the 2012 election, (perhaps all seats except that held by Backous will be up, because of the census and adjustment of ward lines)] has competed with private enterprise, as land speculators, in buying the failed Town Center out of foreclosure. It again competed, this time as deal promoters, against the private sector in competing to have the VA clinic on city land (but Jim Deal, not an amateur, knows what he's doing with the Clinic construction now advancing on Jim Deal's land, as Jim Deal's private sector promotion). Now there is Flaherty and Collins, appearing as if wanting to gamble for profit using city money, with the city somehow roped into being a co-venturer, with the F-and-C claimed "financing woes" reminding me for some reason of this album title:

It is hard to know exactly what is being proposed, given somewhat cryptic agendas, not naming amounts the F-and-C promoters want to fob off onto taxpayers, under what terms and conditions. In presently available City documents I am only aware of the following, and I challenge readers to get useful and meaningful facts from any page (click a thumbnail image to enlarge and read):

There is no detail. There is a distinct flavor. That kind of consciously incomplete and insubstantially documented documentation, for some reason, reminds me of this image:

Moving on ...


My opening email:

eric zaetsch <[...]> Sat, May 21, 2011 at 11:44 AM
To: Randy Backous , Dave Jeffrey ,,

Randy, Dave, and Heidi-
I saw the council update by Backous-Jeffrey, or more correctly a part of it, and the council [wearing HRA hats] was reported to have split 4-3, and I wondered how Elvig and the new guy, Tossey, voted. Also, minutes will not be available, but could you send an online link to the full agenda page where the issue of terms including timing alterations with the F-and-C team were put to a vote. My understanding is initial proposals had the City extending credit, and possibly that decision may worsen. Any help would be appreciated. Heidi, as the city's HRA key staff person, I am asking your help too - could one of the three of you send a "reply all" helping me out? I believe I already know the voting of mayor, Wise, McGlone, and the two email addressees who, in the segment I saw televised identified their voting, so it is only the Elvig and Tossey votes that are a mystery to me.

Also, is there any city knowledge of whether Landform is receiving a commission or other cash, present or future-conditional, FROM F-and-C? I know the new contract has monthly money plus conditional commission payment to Landform, but I saw nothing in the contract barring Landform from working the other side of the street too; so, are they?



Backous replying, on the record and requesting no editing or paraphrase in that he chose his words carefully,

Randy Backous Sun, May 22, 2011 at 8:12 PM
To: "[eric zaetsch ...] <[>, David Jeffrey , Heidi Nelson
Mr Zaetsch:

Thank you for your questions and for your interest. Elvig voted for the motion and Tossey voted against with Jeffrey and me. The HRA meetings are now being televised so you can watch everything on the QCTV website.

The question at hand was whether or not we should move forward with negotiations. I won't comment on the votes of others but there were many reasons for my vote.

While I love the project I don't believe the city or any government should be involved to the point that we are being asked to participate in this project. Our job is to literally pave the way with roads, other infrastructure, utilities, etc. Our job is not to be a major participant in the financing. That is the private sector's role. I'm a capitalist who believes in the power of the free maket and whenever we start questioning or manipulating the free market we will get into trouble one way or another. I believe the free market spoke loud and clear and I think we should listen.

In my opinion, by voting to move forward with this scenario, we publicly made a statement that we have the stomach for putting public dollars into a private project in the role of a lender. That only sends the message to all future developers and their lenders to go to the City of Ramsey and demand more and more. It also sent the wrong message to F&C in my opinion in that they no longer have an incentive to find other lending or private equity options.

I want The COR to succeed and I too am getting impatient but I don't think we should get desperate or get into the trap of believing that F&C is the only project that will help us move forward. Responsible development will be the key. This project is starting to resemble a young couple who gets seduced by that beautiful new house that they will do anything to get. You try to warn them about the cost of utilities, property taxes, landscaping, upkeep, furnishings, etc but they don't want to hear about reality or consequences - just getting that house.

I would rather take a more careful, patient, flexible approach.

Sorry I haven't responded sooner. I've been working all weekend.


Again, the text speaks for itself. No paraphrase here. I do not speak for Backous, and disagree with some opinions he holds. He explains a basis for his viewpoint.

I also sent an intervening follow-up email, and aside from the Backous response I have had no other replies or comments:

eric zaetsch Sun, May 22, 2011 at 7:57 PM
To: Randy Backous , David Jeffrey ,,
Cc: Kurt Ulrich , Mayor Bob Ramsey ,
David, Randy and Heidi-

This evening I saw more of the Jeffrey-Backous Council Update.

Please confirm, that beyond being land speculators as done already in buying the failed-foreclosed parcel from foreclosure, the Council in its HRA implementation is now contemplating being a co-investor, co-landlord (i.e., positioning to gain rental income, if any, from the F-and-C venture), and co-developer of the Flaherty-and-Collins thing.

I was shocked to hear that. Shocked!

Next thing city employees will be laying bricks!

This, if I understand it correctly, is expanding the subsidized competition of the city governmental arms with private enterprise far, far further into speculative land dealings than previously.

Please confirm, or deny and explain.

Please give this inquiry prompt attention.

What's up? How far down this land deal co-promotion co-speculation path is the city going?

Will the city also have to pay money to Landform for the part of things it is co-venturing into with city cash; a commission, bounty, whatever it is called these days?

Eric Zaetsch

cc: mayor
cc: city administrator
cc: Sakry

These posted items largely exhaust my understanding of the situation. I have not viewed the HRA part of the televised meeting dealing with Flaherty-and-Collins financing visions/revisions. Backous indicates catching the rebroadcast might be helpful for me and others wanting an understanding. I believe Sakry of ABC Newspapers may plan to have a story this week of how the city is investigating options regarding F-and-C co-venturing, and to the best of my knowledge no city decision has yet been made to jump into the deep end of the pool with those gentlemen.

My understanding is the city purports to have $3 million from some source unclear to me but outside of city taxing, earmarked for expanding the existing underutilized parking ramp but with any city decision-making in limbo because of the slippery situation with F-and-C and what it ultimately may do/not do with/without shaking more cash and concessions out of Ramsey than previously given/contemplated.

It appears the F-and-C gentlemen are playing to flip the deal unless they get more sugar.

My feeling is to tell F-and-C to take a hike. Enough is enough. I think it is a disadvantageous project for Ramsey, one that never should have seen the light of day to get where it is.

Bless them in Indiana where they live and prosper.

We really gain nothing from a big rental project in town. It can only go downhill as it ages.

What's to be understood from this; the Silence of the Lambs even extends to Darren's propaganda site,

Either that or the propagandists' search function is dysfunctional.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Republican strategy in 2012 for dealing with the Bush legacy.

And steal votes again in Ohio, in Florida.

If he had been there in person, would they have thrown shoes?

See photo caption; for full story, here. Click to enlarge and read the screenshot.

Last election he proved able to defeat a ticket of senility and unparalleled stupidity. Will he in 2012 be able to defeat a Matzah ball (six in the running - only one will float)?

Hate mongering this past week, beyond Pastor-Drummer Bradlee Dean.

Yes, Bradlee Dean got more headlines, but a more insidious effort among those intent on using hate-mongering as a GOTV tool of the GOP next election happened, downtown, with less attention than it perhaps deserved - given it was about new-to-Jesus Newt's miracle, per Ms.Newt3, and in derogation of Mr.Newt's history of marriage being between the divorce courts, one man and one woman at a time [extramarital dalliances excepted], and how to remake the image of a stone-cold conscience-challenged opportunistic rake, without changing barbers, who've always done well by Mr.Newt.

Bachmann helping, of course.

Minnesota Family Council having its ugly hand in the rebranding. But what's expected, anyway?

Read about it here.

Ms.Newt3, has her say too, about Mr.Newt's greatness, etc. Click to enlarge, read, and puke.

Allegedly, Mr.Newt has been accepted into the Catholic Church. This Google, about Martin Luther's disdain for the sale of Papal indulgences.

This Google, is relevant. While to forgive is divine, would Minnesota Family Council be as forgiving of a Democrat?

Hardly. Party trumps all else, for those gentle people.

Reader help is needed. Please comment or send an email if you know of any single instance whatsoever, in any context, where the Minnesota Family Council hate-mongered for anybody but a Republican. I am unaware of that ever happening. IP, DFL, Socialist, Flat Earth Party, never, but the GOP - it is their favorite flavor.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Half way there, Andy.

At Residual Forces, it is aptly recognized that Tim Pawlenty is raising money in Minnesota, and outsourcing the cash to other places, for political advantage, and that the GOP in Minnesota is left short of cash on other fronts.

This link.

It is true.

However, how does that differ from this, which apparently is smooth and slick, bump-free, to Andy's touch:

I know. There are people who treasure consistency. And some are willing to overlook a thing here or there. Yet it is the same GOP shortfall effect whether the siphon is held by some guy named Tim, or some woman named Shelly. And, Tim gets the big plungers intending to invest in compliant politicians to own nationwide. Shelly, she gets the mom-and-pop worried-over-fetuses little money, in droves, and ships that out. I bet those little donors would prefer their cash going to the fetus-protection-league of Minnesota, first and foremost.

I like the dilution effect each of these career politicians is pushing off onto the greedy undeserving outstretched but unsatisfied hands of Minnesota Republican political operatives.

Tim, Shelly, keep up the good work so sane ones can take back the Minnesota legislature, both houses, and so Sutton has to chase a paycheck. And not pay bills. And did I say, chase a paycheck?

CAGE on its website still lists both of the Sutton spouses as on its board; but I believe one reportedly resigned; and need for a paycheck is reported by Strib as a feature of a yet larger family issue even with the other Sutton spouse confusingly reported as remaining on the CAGE board. Go figure.

You need a fresh score card, and numbers on the players' backs to keep things straight.

Half-right Andy strikes again. All over Pat Anderson for taking money to lobby for Racino; the lobbying being only a part of the objection with the remainder being that it is against the Holy Writ of the GOP platform. Something like that, see e.g. Gary Gross posting, here; and a prior Crabgrass post, here, giving links to Andy's items.

To the extent both commentators criticized Anderson's lobbying, I back them 100%. To the extent the complaint is insufficient orthodoxy in lock-step with the platform; well, I have to ask my blind eye question again about Andy, this time about Hackbarth - presuming that constructive criticism and insistence upon upholding Holy Writ GOP Platform talk begins at home as does charity, there is this Strib item, excepted where Andy, who is generally outspoken, has fallen silent:

Although there have been previous attempts to pair a new Vikings stadium with a racino -- putting slot machines at horse-racing tracks -- the latest effort appeared to be aimed at keeping both ideas alive past the Legislature's Monday adjournment. Republican leaders, who hold majorities in both the House and the Senate, dismissed the proposal, saying they remain focused on finding a way to erase the state's $5.1 billion deficit over the next three days.

The proposal was noteworthy because it was co-authored by Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, chief Senate author of legislation to help build a new Vikings stadium. She was joined by Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, who said his goal was to have racino "stay in the mix" as legislators search for money to help solve the deficit and build the stadium.

"I think everybody knows that we're going to go to a special session," said Hackbarth. But "you have to have something there to start the discussion" when legislators reconvene.

Under the new proposal, racino gambling would be permitted only at Canterbury Park in Shakopee and part of the proceeds would go into a "multi-stadium revenue fund" that would help build not only a $1 billion Vikings stadium but also a new $50 million ballpark for the St. Paul Saints in downtown St. Paul. Hackbarth said that, after the two stadiums were funded, the money might be used to build other large infrastructure projects in Minnesota.

Racino proponents had earlier estimated that the expanded gambling would raise $125 million a year, but Dick Day, a former state senator-turned-lobbyist for the group Racino Now, said Friday that his organization had not pushed the latest plan.

[emphasis added]. Gunman Tom is saying nothing different than Pat Anderson said, earning castigating disapproval within her own party's big tent. Gunman Tom probably is poised to shoot down any constructive criticism, if not the critics, so that might explain there being none.

What's up?

Tony and spouse Sutton, in CAGE, Tony only resigning, and only days ago. Expansion of gambling in Minnesota opposed by the GOP platform; with gambling presumably thus positioned to remain a tribal monopoly; and the Sutton spouses having CAGE ties (and cash flow) when the platform was authored. The 8th District GOP jumping Anderson, when this comment on Gary's blog weighs in with yet another name and theory with regard to the CD8 censure effort against Anderson:

Would that be the same CD8 that has Justin Krych as Deputy Chair.

The same Justin who sits on the board of the organization bought and paid for by Minnesota Indian Gaming Association.

Wow just took me 2 seconds to see where this supposed stand came from.

When I see folks like Justin resign then maybe this will have some meaning, otherwise it needs to have the “The Message Paid for by Indian Gaming Interests”

Strangely, Andy makes a big point about Tony Sutton's CAGE resignation, as if the other spouse's situation was somehow irrelevant.

And I thought the GOP was big on family issues.

Instead, rugged individualism holds sway, cashflow wise, or whatever.

Reader help request: Am I wrong, does CAGE not pay director fees, or only insubstantial token amounts?

____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
Now I don't pretend to be big on connecting the dots, others have a better grasp of that skill than I do, but I see a link between this and this. Who exactly formulated that no new taxes AND no new revenue policy when, and why was Gunman Tom Hackbarth not informed about Racino being "new revenue."

Two dots always are easier to connect than many, where the number of possible linkages become vast quickly.

Moonlighting, thy name is GOP. But how do the outside gigs affect the day jobs? Any reader insight?

Final thought: What about Racino at Pastor Bradlee Dean's "church," and at Pastor Mac Hammond's Flying Circus, aka, prosperity gospel warehouse? They could operate it 24/7, and not only during services. And a step beyond Racino, sports betting at the new Viking Stadium, what about that? Zygi could finance a bigger share of the cost if allowed to make book. The GOP is so creative, so, I wonder why I have to invent their "next logical step" ideas for them.