consultants are sandburs

Friday, February 17, 2017

Stadium "parking lot" cleared - Mondale and Kelm-Helgen resign. What about Mondale cohort, Lindgren? Will that shoe drop with a public thud?

image source, see, also, this resignation report

PARKING LOT: Said then, not needing repeating, read it from 2015. Crony board seats? Think of the airport board too (Metropolitan Airport Commission). Lindgren and Mondale ties can be traced to their Gov. Jesse early 2000's Met Council days where Ted talked "smart growth;" back when Ramsey Town Center was spawned as one of six "Twin Cities Opportunity Sites" - Met Council grants and all - it WAS/IS/WILL BE growth, yes; but smart? You decide. Growth can be real dumb; especially when politicians and planners get their hands on things, appointees and all (see, this 2009 crabgrass post).

Lindgren and Mondale ties can be further traced, as interlaced. You want an example? Try this, e.g., p.12-13 (click an image to enlarge and read):

That was 2010, and they looked younger then. More recently, 2012, here, a first page screencapture:

Reader help request: Are there Mondale fingerprints on this - public funds, Hiawatha line; Lindgren played a role in a stop being placed at old Control Data building in Bloomington, MN, and incorporating renovation of that building into Hiawatha light rail planning. (2011 crabgrass link)

Reader help request: Are there Lindgren fingerprints on this April 2013 report of ties to Petters mischief; where Mondale faced a bankruptcy action clawback, and settled? Re same Strib reported:

Last week Ted Mondale struck a deal with the receiver in the Tom Petters Ponzi scheme to pay back $50,000 of a $150,000 personal loan Petters gave him in 2005. The “clawback” was based on the notion that people shouldn’t profit from a crime, whether they knew about it at the time or not.

According to court documents, a motion by receiver Doug Kelley to accept that payment will be heard by U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery Tuesday morning.

Mondale, the son of former Vice President Walter Mondale, did not respond to requests for comment.

The $50,000 payment was negotiated between Kelley’s office and Mondale and included a review of Mondale’s financial situation by former federal agents working for Kelley.

“He [Mondale] submitted a financial statement. My former FBI and IRS agents dissected it and we are convinced this is the most Mr. Mondale can pay,” Kelley said in an interview Monday.

The settlement with Mondale is one of several that Kelley has negotiated with former Petters business associates; the recovered funds go into a pool for eventual payment to victims of Petters’ $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme, which collapsed in 2008. The settlements are part of a so-called “clawback” process in which Kelley attempts to recover transactions made by Petters using ill-gotten proceeds.

Kelley’s clawback efforts have ranged from nonprofits including St. John’s University to lenders BMO Harris Bank and General Electric Capital Corp. to former Petters executives. Several clawback requests have resulted in lawsuits that remain unsettled, including those involving early investors who made money during the Ponzi scheme’s heyday.

In addition to Mondale, Kelley will also ask the judge Tuesday to approve settlements of $16,400 from Richard Wolbert, a former Petters business associate from Milaca who received $600,000 in 2005 from Petters, and Stephen Ratliff, a former executive with Polaroid, a firm Petters owned. Ratliff and his insurer will pay $108,400 from a total of $565,000 transferred to his Twin Cities company, Integrity Marketing & Sales, between 2002 and 2008.

Mondale, 55, has spent much of his adult life in the public spotlight. After two terms in the Minnesota Senate, he was appointed chairman of the Metropolitan Council in 1999. In his current position, he is responsible for overseeing the construction of a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.

Mondale joined the Petters operation as a senior vice president in 1999 to look for Asian manufacturers of consumer electronic goods. Petters testified at his own trial that the Mondale name “opened up incredible doors” in Asia, where Walter Mondale once served as U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Mondale held a series of positions with Petters until he resigned in 2003 to run Nazca, a start-up software company that developed programs to trace land records more easily. One of Mondale’s early investors was Petters, who invested $750,000 in the company.

Petters made the $150,000 personal loan to Mondale in 2005 instead of increasing his stake in Nazca directly, according to Kelley. The loan carried a 10 percent interest rate and was due in December of 2006, one year after it was made. The loan was not repaid; the software company was sold in 2010 for an undisclosed amount.

Petters is serving a 50-year sentence in the Leavenworth federal prison for his role in masterminding the decade-long fraud that persuaded investors that their funds were being used to purchase consumer electronic goods for sale to big-box retailers when the new investments actually were used to pay off earlier investors and finance Petters’ other business interests.

33-1/3 cents on the dollar is not bad. Art of the Deal? Did Mondale do his own negotiation, or was it through counsel?

Strib doubled on its reporting; see here, also, stating in part:

Mondale has not responded to reporters’ questions on the loan.

Mondale, sadly, is one of many former Petters employees who only paid a fraction of “loans” and “bonuses” back. The fact is, almost no one pays back all the money in a clawback. In the Petters case, some charities couldn’t pay back a dime. Others forked over millions that Petters had given them because they thought it was the right thing to do.

It is the right thing to do. Mondale didn’t do it until forced to. So, just as electronic bingo is being touted as a new solution to the shortfall, and just before stadium plans are unveiled, we are reminded of the fuzzy math of the stadium deal by Mondale’s personal financial situation.

I asked Sen. John Marty, a fellow DFLer who disagrees with how the stadium is funded, if Mondale’s unpaid loan bothered him.

Given his high profile, “you’d think it’s something you’d get settled pretty quickly,” Marty said. “He makes a lot of money and he made a lot of money before. But I don’t know anything about his finances.”

A tax accountant I talked to said Mondale is likely on the hook for taxes on the $100,000 of forgiven debt, now that the deal is settled.

During the negotiations last year between the state and the Vikings, Mondale was frequently dubbed “the point man.” He, like the governor and enough legislators on both sides, pushed e-tabs as a financial solution. Either they were gullible beyond belief or they trusted in the maxim that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission. They went with the numbers that made the stadium work for them, and now find themselves rummaging through the cushions to scrape up enough money to build it.

The business Petters helped fund and Mondale ran, Nazca, promoted itself as a software company that could track real estate transactions for clients. Mondale promised it would be working in six months, but three years later he hadn’t delivered. By 2008, the company has losses of $5.7 million.

Mondale surely has skills that have gotten him many prominent jobs. He also has one undeniable currency to trade on: his name.

Petters acknowledged as much. During testimony in his trial, Petters said that he used the Mondale name to solidify his company’s reputation. Mondale held several positions at Redtag, which did business in Asia. His father, former Vice President Walter Mondale, had served as ambassador to Japan, and Petters said in court that the affiliation “opened up incredible doors.”

A good door man is a valuable asset, I admit. I just wish a little more of that hefty public salary could go back to people scammed by Petters.

When Mondale was trying to explain how he could hold both the part-time position as chairman of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission and his full-time job for Greater MSP back in 2011, Mondale told a reporter that “a stadium deal is not complicated.”

The Mondale family ties to Petters promotion are not news; (see this 2011 crabgrass post).

There is that old saying, "Birds of a feather prosper together." Lindgren and his firm, apparently still with the stadium management legal affairs account in tow, appear to still be prospering. We live in interesting times; where Justice Democrats advocate redefining the Democratic Party.

Last, an online law review item; local to Minnesota, but generic in emphasizing good sense is a precious commodity.

[worth noting, those older referenced crabgrass posts suffer a common worldwide web affliction; dead links; but isn't that scrubbed Dorsey tout of Ramsey Town Center a real hoot; good there was a google capture (or was it Internet Archive)]

MPR, stadium players;

this screencapture; top two stadium board staff players:

Is there a difference between those two? Should one of them be wearing sunglasses, drum-beating? Still Going?

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