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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Coleman's Finances....Curious

Category: Norm Coleman
Posted: 01/09/09 01:13

by Dave Mindeman

The finances of Norm Coleman keep getting curiouser.

The Glenn Thrush blog at Politico has the time-line for all the refinancing that Coleman has done on St. Paul home:

Nov. 1994: took out 30-year $172,900 mortgage.
Dec. 1994: took out 10-year $26,700 second mortgage
March 1996: took out new 30-year mortgage for $174,000.
Nov. 1997: took out new 30-year mortgage for $199,250.
Feb. 1999: took out 30-year mortgage for $203,600. [Coleman Mortgage, 2/1/99]
Jan. 2000: took out a 5-year $50,000 revolving credit line.
Oct. 2001: took out 30-year mortgage for $292,000. [Coleman Mortgage, 10/29/01]
Oct. 2002: took out 5-year $25,000 revolving credit line.
Aug. 2003: took out 30-year mortgage for $320,000.
Jan. 2004: revised revolving credit line from $25,000 to $125,000 and extended the maturity date from Oct. 2007 to October 10, 2008.
Dec. 2006: took out new 30-year mortgage for $423,000.
March 2007: took out new 30-year mortgage for $775,000.

Then there is the timing on Coleman's arrangement for his Washington apartment via the National Journal:

In July 2007, Coleman began paying Larson $600 a month in rent for a portion of a one-bedroom basement apartment in a Capitol Hill town house that Larson owns.

And finally, the from Deep Marine to Hays Companies:

5/16/2007 $25,000
9/14/2007 $25,000
11/26/2007 $25,000

Notice that March of 2007 was the last refinancing...probably for a loan above the current value of the home (property tax valuation $620,000). In May of 2007 the payments to Hays Companies begins. And in July of that same year the Jeff Larson arrangement begins.

I have nothing to add. Just remains a curiousity....for now.
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Talking With Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner & The RNC

Posted: 01/08/09 22:18, Edited: 07/03/13 13:45

by Dave Mindeman

Over the past couple of years...on New Year's Eve.... I have blogged about the Top 10 Worst Political Persons in Minnesota. It is a bit of a tongue in cheek take off on Keith Olbermann's Worst Persons in the World segment on his show. The Top 10 are selected to point out some controversy about policy or performance that merits a mention. It usually bumps traffic on this site by a factor of 50....which I find a bit surprising, but I'll take it.

This year one of the people making that list cried foul. Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner indicated I had it wrong and so she and I arranged an interview which took place today. As a review of what we discussed here is her "Top 10" mention:

#6. Susan Gaertner. I don't know how involved Gaertner was in the preparations for the Republican National Convention, but she clearly has defended and condoned the overzealous police tactics that were in evidence before and during the convention. The wholesale roundup of people on the streets and the ridiculously elevated charges are hard to understand. Susan Gaertner has announced an early bid for the DFL endorsement for governor in 2010. But I am not certain who she is trying to impress with the tactics surrounding her office actions. Does she think she is touting some hard core, law and order personna? If so, it doesn't seem to be working. As Ramsey county attorney, she could have reigned in the borderline repressive tactics coming out of Sheriff Fletcher's office, but instead she has pushed forward with legal proceedings that have questionable merit. Maintaining order is one thing, but Gaertner's legal support of this type of policing has put her credentials as a viable governor candidate in question. Word of advice.....Better skip the convention and head for the primary.

Our discussion ended up lasting well over an hour and it went into a broad range of topics which talked about the broader RNC issues and also her current run for Governor. In this post, I'll talk about the RNC and tomorrow, I'll do another on the issues regarding the governor's race.

Now, as we discussed the issues regarding the RNC and the RNC8, we had to dance around some on the record -- off the record issues. The trial has not begun and so she could not discuss specifics.... but we did delve into some of the broader issues.

One of the things she objected to was my tieing her into a responsibility for police actions. She was very clear that she neither condoned nor criticized the tactics surrounding the police actions before or during the Republican National Convention. As she stated, that was not her job responsibility. She only dealt with the issues of potential crimes that reached her desk.

OK, that was a reasonable objection. However, we kept coming back to one thing. Her discretionary authority about what charges were warranted. I tried to get this quote down correctly:

"The prosecutor's job is not involved with police tactics and the means of gathering evidence....only to discern whether there is enough of a case to justify a charge that results in a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt."

I am sure she didn't mean to insinuate that the prosecutor's office never questions the police method of gathering evidence, because clearly the police can cause problems for her office by circumventing the rules. I gathered that she meant that she accepts evidence that is correctly gathered.

But we had some disagreement about what amount of discretion she has in what charges to file. Most of the lawyers I know consider prosecutorial discretion to be very broad. Ms. Gaertner seemed to be saying that that is not always the case. We came back to that issue several times and I won't go into too much of the details, but she seemed to be indicating that there are times when a case can be presented to her which dictates the procedure and limits her discretion.

As we talked, a few things about the broader issues came out:

-- She pointed out that whatever critcism I had for the Minnesota Patriot Act, her job wasn't to criticize or praise it. Her only job is to enforce it. It would be the legislature's job to fix it, if necessary.

-- She was one public official who was NOT promoting the idea for the Republican National Convention to come here.

-- She also points out that anyone who thinks she has been looking for public attention from the RNC court trials is crazy. She is merely doing her job and sees no special advantage or disadvantage to the RNC issues. Although, she does hope for a speedy resolution.

-- Regarding Amy Goodman... she wishes to point out once and for all that her office had nothing to do with her arrest or her release. She was never formally charged with anything. All Ms. Gaertner's office got out of the deal was an overloaded e-mail system.

-- She feels confident that the trial will present a truer picture of what went on at the RNC then what is circulating around the progressive/peace community.

I hope that once the RNC8 trial is completed that we can revisit some of these issues in more detail. I asked her if she would be willing to debate those issues with Coleen Rowley at a mnpACT! meeting when the trial is over. She has tentatively said yes.
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Kline's Pork Crusade is Like Stepping on Ants

Category: John Kline
Posted: 01/07/09 18:16

by Dave Mindeman

John Kline is successfully recruiting members for his war on pork! He has 41 co-horts that are taking up the same pledge, including 6 Democrats and the ever present Michele Bachmann.

That's 41 additional districts that will get shortchanged by their representation.

Kline has always been outspoken on earmarks. He recently wrote another opinion piece on the topic. A couple of his comments stand out to me:

In fiscal year 2008, Congress spent more than $17.2 billion on more than 11,610 earmarked projects. This out-of-control spending is particularly egregious as states across the nation are forced to make difficult decisions to keep their budgets balanced. Right here in Minnesota, Governor Pawlenty has made the tough call to trim $271.4 million in state expenditures to balance the state?s budget for the current fiscal year.

Of course, $17.2 billion is certainly a significant amount of money but at least we know what those 11,610 earmarked projects were and where the money got spent. Kline isn't quite so quick to point out that he voted for the $700 billion banking bailout as well. Now, was that money well spent? Well, actually, there is no way for us to know because the Treasury Department refuses to tell us anything about it.

Which makes this part of Kline's commentary very curious:

Minnesotans deserve to know their representatives are carefully monitoring how their tax dollars are being spent. I encourage my colleagues to work together to achieve the outcomes that are in the best interest of our constituents ? and all Americans.

$700 billion with no oversight vs. $17.2 billion with known destinations. Hmmmm..... go figure.

And secondly, is it possible that if Kline had been delivering for projects needed in his district, would Pawlenty have been dealing with less of a deficit? No guarantees, but you have to wonder....

As we head into 2009 and all markers are pointing to an out of this world figure on the stimulus package, it seems a little disingenuous to be worrying about "pork" projects that Kline has criticized in the past. Kline can stamp out that $17.2 billion if he wants to, but the government will be dwarfing that number with a trillion dollars in spending.

The hard reality is that a stimulus package in the magnitude we are talking about will be 100% pork! All of it. It is money that the government doesn't even have. It is an economic necessity but by definition, it qualifies as pork, none-the-less.

So what we have here is John Kline stepping on ants, while the 800 pound gorilla from the Federal government is ready to stomp on him.
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