Sun Country will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and keep flying. The best news, for travelers at least, is that Sun Country might code-share with Southwest Airlines, Finance and Commerce’s Bob Geiger reports. The two networks would theoretically link up, based on the speculation of ubquitous travel quotemeister Terry Trippler.
Related: The Strib’s Liz Fedor says the filing keeps Sun Country out of the clutches of feds, who are seizing disgraced ex-owner Tom Petters’ assets. In the PiPress, Sun Country’s CEO floats the notion of employee ownership — but with what? Workers’ 50-percent pay “deferral” starts today. By the way, we taxpayers — as Metropolitan Airports Commission owners — are Sun Country’s biggest unsecured creditor, with $1.6 million of unpaid landing fees.
Also related: Citing anonymous sources, WCCO’s Esme Murphy claims she knows the identity of the Petters mole: his “long-time personal assistant who wore a wire for months.” Murphy adds that the woman “collected up to $8 million in bonuses from Petters in the past few years.” (Hat tip: City Pages’ Emily Kaiser.) This could be completely coincidental, but Deanna Lynn Coleman was charged in the scandal Monday; according to the PiPress’ John Welbes, Coleman “allegedly fabricated documents” for Petters and received “millions of dollars” for her role.
Still more: The Strib’s David Phelps says Petters allegedly lost more than $10 million in Vegas. The FBI claims Petters “is the largest comped-room guest” at the upscale Bellagio casino.
Norm Coleman took the gloves off against Dean Barkley; the Brainerd Dispatch’s Mike O’Rourke says Coleman reminded a local audience that Barkley won “Porker of the Month” during a brief Senate tenure. (Barkley’s spokesperson says his guy only got funds for a community center named for Paul Wellstone.) Coleman also said Barkley might be a “safe place to park” for undecided voters. Doesn’t Norm remember the last IP guy he took lightly? I’ll bet Al Franken’s glad Norm’s going first.
MPR’s Tom Scheck discovers national Republicans have canceled a week of ads for Third District endorsee Eric Paulsen in favor of a week for Michele Bachmann. The National Republican Congressional Committee doesn’t have a lot of dough this cycle, so it has to pick its spots. There’s not much 6th District polling — is this a sign the uber-conservative is in danger?
Related: The foregone ad time probably doesn’t mean Paulsen is running away with his race; opponent Ashwin Madia is up 5 points in a Democratic-affiliated poll, Minnesota Independent’s Chris Steller reports. (Hefty 4.9 percentage point margin of sampling error, though.) National Republicans still have ad time reserved for Paulsen between Oct. 21 and Election Day.
Related, sort of: She doesn’t get TV time like Bachmann, but here’s 4th District Congresswoman Betty McCollum grilling the head of Lehman Brothers, courtesy of Steller. Also, 1st District Congressman Tim Walz cogently explains his second bailout “no” vote in a Strib op-ed.
Another day, another poll — two polls in one, really. MPR and the Hump Institute decided to split their survey: The pre-VP debate half showed Barack Obama with a 4-point margin; the post-debate half kicked that up to 14 points. The split boosted the margin of error, too — plus/minus 5.3 and 4.8 percentage points, respectively.
A bizarre item from Harper’s Magazine; reporter Ken Silverstein says a big Norm Coleman donor buys Coleman and his wife clothes at Neiman Marcus — and employs Ms. Coleman, an L.A. actress, even though the Minnesota company is in the insurance and employee benefits business. Silverstein isn’t sure if Nasser Kazeminy’s purchases occurred before Coleman’s Senate tenure, but has two sources confirming the buy. The Coleman campaign says merely that all gifts have been “fully reported” and even the PiPress’ Rachel Stassen-Berger can’t get ’em to say more.
Astounding: 85 percent of eligible Minnesotans are now registered to vote; that’s 27,000 over the previous record, the PiPress’ Bill Salisbury reports. The state is shooting for 80 percent turnout, which would rank next to 1956’s 83 percent all-time.
It’s almost as wacky as an Abbott-and-Costello routine; the Strib’s Mike Kaszuba reports on a crazy-quilt of meetings between DFLers thinking of running for governor in 2010. At the center is Matt Entenza, last seen messing up the 2006 attorney general’s race. But Chris Coleman, Tom Bakk, R.T. Rybak, Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Susan Gaertner and Mark Dayton are also playing musical meetings. (What? No Tarryl Clark?) None sound like they are standing down.
KSTP’s Kristi Piehl has the outrageous tale of a local soldier sexually assaulted by his sergeant and then denied military benefits. The Korean-theater perp was found guilty of assaulting Tom Schoen — and three other soldiers who came forward after Schoen blew the whistle. The Army honorably discharged Schoen early because of post-traumatic stress disorder — canceling out several benefits. The Army won’t budge even after appeals.
The PiPress’ indefatigable courts crawler, David Hanners, unearths a beaut: a Richfield “stripper-turned-police dispatcher” suing for sexual harrassment. Seems co-workers began calling her “The Pole.” How did they find out? She listed her stripping tenure on her resume. The city says she quit after being written up for a “nondiscriminatory” reason. Two agencies have rejected her claim.
The end of an icon: Downtown St. Paul’s Pedro Luggage is shutting down, the PiPress’ Gita Sitaramiah reports. The 94-year-old firm will “sell luggage-making equipment in the next couple of weeks.” The brothers who run the joint say they’re retiring.
Nort spews: What ever happened to the coffin corner kick? Somehow, the Vikings beat New Orleans 30-27 despite punting to Reggie Bush, and getting burned twice for TDs. A Super Bowl team this is not, but hey, they’re tied with the Packers! Sore Loser here.