consultants are sandburs

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

RAMSEY -- 13 as an outstandingly unlucky number, the number of Original Sin. First bite. Landform apple. Bidding? -- 4-3 -- We don't need no stinking bidding. How and what was Matt Look advocating? Ditto, Ramsey's Bob Ramsey? Ditto McGlone? Open your eyes.

July 14, 2009.

A day that shall live in infamy.

Work Session screen captures, click to read:

Televised meeting, REVISED Agenda includes added "item 13;" then item 13 minute pages.

There was no advanced notice of this. It was somebody's rabbit; pulled out of somebody's hat. Figure who knew it was to happen, who was sandbagged, who you trust after that thing - that way. Wise is the interesting wild card vote. He said he was kept in the dark. He said that while able to count up to four.

Twenty-three grand was something I found troubling, especially done that way and Jungbauer involved, but at the time I thought it would be no major mischief simply because it was limited in amount and scope; failure prone for sure with no likely value to it; but not grossly looting the city fisc either (at twenty-three grand, cap it there, end of story, okay).

Looking again at that record of how the Landform initial bidding-free insinuation into our placid town was handled, it got me to searching the web for the word "huckster." It is an interesting noun. There is no verb, "to huck," "to be hucked," "getting hucked over," "a hucking million dollars to Darren."

Don't take my word for it. Look it up on the web.

Don't ignore comment threads. While rare, they sometimes leaven a post.


Ryan said...

While I must chuckle at your melodramtic choice of "original sin" for an analogy here I better get serious and explain why I think you missed the mark with this blog post.

When this land was purchased (to allegedly preserve public investment) there wasn't a single resource employed by the city or elected by residents who had any idea what it would take to clean up this property to make it marketable again. So to me, the "original sin" wasn't the initial Landform contract it was the point where the decision was made to purchase the land.

There isn't a privately capitalized business entity in the state who would have made the decision to buy this land without key resources in place yet somehow these brilliant elected minds decide to make an as* backwards move of using public money (don't care if it wasn't general fund dough) to buy land that they didn't know what to do with. So again Eric, the land purchase decision was the "original sin" because it forced the cities hand in to forming a relationship with a company such as Landform because they had no idea where to even get started on the project (nothing like investing millions in the blind).

Now when it comes to your beloved conspiracy theories Eric, the initial Landform contract should be your Genesis. This contract is where "privy" info first came to light. And this is when uninformed decision making began. I can still see it in the eyes of everybody on the dias when Darren makes a presentation and asks you to vote. He sells you all on a weekly basis and he always makes a solid pitch (I happen to think he's a sharp guy as well) but you better keep your eyes open. He might be under contract with you and you might expect him to always act in the best interests of the city but he also knows more than you and has an incentive laden contract that he sold to you. So my plea to all elected council/hra members is get informed before you make decisions people or you better be prepared for the public backlash you'll inevitably be or already are receiving.

eric zaetsch said...

Ryan - Perhaps some at the land purchase time had ideas in place, in mind, perhaps discused with others, and might have discussed them with Darren, in advance of closing that purchase.

I recall a reference to "six meetings" that some on council were uninvited to, while somebody apparently met somebody else, at points in time before July 14, 2009. Minutes suggest it. When? Go ask Alice, when she's ten feet tall.

This link. Look at the reference to and screenshots of the June 19, 2009, Landform brochure - that date being before purchase of the property closed; those pages are before the discussion of "Republican socialism" in the link.

Also, Ryan, yes there was a bit of parody in the headline, and "beloved conspiracy theories" is a term YOU used, whereas I would say impressive and randomly improbable coincidences that call attention to themselves. I do not believe I have ever leveled the precise charge, "conspiracy," which is a word of many definitions anyway.

eric zaetsch said...

Ryan - Apart from any Ramsey related matters; a total digression to other things; are you familiar how a dog goes about marking territory, as a message to any other dog that might intrude? Keeping a lingering territorial claim even after having moved or having been chased off. The evidence of the marking, to other dogs, outlasts the often renewed specific times and instances of marking - and presumably other dogs take suitable notice, or evolution would have ended the practice as unhelpful to species survival. Dogs know more of how they operate than I ever will.

eric zaetsch said...

Ryan - TIMING - Strib reported decision to buy the farm, March 18, 2009, this link; Ulrich quoted, "The banks foreclosed after Nedegaard filed for bankruptcy in 2006 and died shortly afterward. A few developers have talked to the city since the project stalled, City Administrator Kurt Ulrich said. Once the city has clear title to the land, developers will be sought to buy part or all of the site and get it back on tax rolls, he said."

"Few developers."

All we have evidence of is Landform, with a solicitation brochure before the city's purchase closed. Ulrich should flesh out that "few developers" thing sometime. Presumably he kept notes, a diary.

Somebody knows the story of how Landform got what looks to be an inside track, and elsewhere, Lazan and Look bought out Jungbauer's airplane, according to Look.

Jungbauer has a partially satisfied judgment, Case No. 02-CV-11-5919, Anoka, about four grand remaining, issued to a lawyer who represented him when a Mr. Jack Gill sued him. With the airplane now beyond any judgment creditor execution against the aircraft, Look and Lazan are flying partners. Possibly they even allow Jungbauer to take 'er up now and again, since he has time on his hands.

eric zaetsch said...

Image credit, here; see this Google.

Randy Backous said...

Ryan is absolutely correct. I have complained for 2 years that we are presented information on fancy fast moving power points or given hand-outs full of numbers and multiple scenarios at the last minute, expected to digest it, analyze it and vote on it within a matter of minutes.

To lend credibility to the presentation, high-priced attorney Tom Bray chimes in as well as Ehlers & Associates rep Stacie Kvilvang - both of whom get paid if the flavor of the day moves forward. Our other advisor is Shaun Nelson of H&A who just happens to have personally contributed $300 to (Bob's, McLoan's and Darren Lazan's friend) Matt Look's campaign. (Which should explain why we couldn't find a qualified replacement city engineer in a metro area of 3 million people.)

Do I blame any of these people? No. They're responsibility is to their firms and themselves.

OUR RESPONSIBILITY IS TO RAMSEY TAXPAYERS!!! It is OUR fault if we get hood-winked. In my mind, there is a minority of council members looking out for the taxpayers and ONE staff member - Diana Lund our Finance Director. Bob Ramsey and Colin McLOAN are looking out for Landform to the point of arguing Darren's points FOR him.

I have complained about this for so long to deaf ears that I've thrown up my hands and have resigned to just vote no on whatever I suspect is being slid past me. Bob Ramsey, Colin McLOAN and Darren Lazan tell me it is my responsibility to get the information. I disagree. If any of this did this to our bosses, we would be shown the door quickly.

I am also resolved to lead the charge to quickly clean house from any staff member who has facilitated this environment. That is a PROMISE.

eric zaetsch said...

A detail, it is Shane Nelson, not Shaun, an easy error because Nelson is not listed directly off the city's top menu bar, Departments -> Engineering, but his contact info is given:

That is two levels down on the menu, engineering -> Highway 10 @ CSAH 83 (Armstrong)

I had seen Matt Look's financial disclosure with the County, on the County website, showing Nelson's $300. Not that he is barred First Amendment right to have his money do his talking, but it is unseemly under the prevailing "avoid even the mere appearnace of impropriety" standard. The contribution was within a month of the HA designation, I do not recall which came first, but Shane was the engineer who contributed to Look's war chest; and he is the engineer who shows up as the designated engineer HA provides our city. If any other HA engineer contributed to any candidate for any office, I am unaware, but I had seen the Shane Nelson entry on Look's disclosure form. It stood out.

eric zaetsch said...

Randy - I call it the Darren Dashboard snow storm extravaganza.

And that's from only seeing a part since part of it is to treat the citizenry as mushrooms with all these closed secret meetings you have to sit through.

Darren always starts slowly, from square one, tedious at first, then blam, now vote - or has anyone any questions.

Randy as a council member, have you seen the signature pages for "McDonalds," and been given a corporate name at that enterprise you can confirm facts with independently of Darren telling you what's what?

You, not Darren, are the decision maker. And if a deal's not checked out with proper due diligence, how, Randy can you double check?

Yes - you cannot, and one has to wonder those Darren shares ideas with more closely, how duly skeptical do you think they may be?

It is Plato's allegory of the cave.