That defense that, you know, “this was all done by others” takes kind of a beating when they play tape recordings where you’re saying, “It’s not just me … “. But what can you do if you’re Tom Petters? Wednesday’s trial proceedings featured more of ex-aide/”intimate” partner, Deanna Coleman’s greatest hits. David Phelps coverage in the Strib has this gem:
“In a taped discussion among Coleman, PCI Chief Financial Officer Robert White and Los Angeles businessman Larry Reynolds shortly before the collapse of the alleged $3.5 billion scheme, the three talked about what to do if investors pressured Petters to pay up. White: ‘The real solution is to come up with the money.‘ Reynolds: ‘In lieu of that, what do we do?’ ” Uh, yeah … “in lieu of that …”
Bonus surreptitious tape nugget: Deanna Coleman to Larry Reynolds/Reservitz (or whatever his name really is), who’s wondering where all the money has gone? ” ‘Tom has a gorgeous house in Minnetonka and a gorgeous house in Florida. … It all adds up,’ Coleman added on the tape. ‘It doesn’t take long to get to $3 billion.’ ” You know, a billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking real money.
The PiPress story, written by John Welbes, includes the discussion about Reynolds, one of Petters’ “Donnie Brasco”-like business associates. Writes Welbes: “Reynolds ran a wholesale firm in Los Angeles that also aided the alleged Ponzi scheme by convincing investors his company was selling massive amounts of electronic goods to Petters Co. Reynolds has a criminal past under another name and was at one time in the federal witness protection program. Defense attorneys said in opening arguments that if Petters had known of Reynolds’ past, he wouldn’t have done business with him. But Margolis said Petters told him in 2004 or 2005 that ‘Larry had a strange and unique background, maybe mob connections.’ “
Bloomberg News, represented by ex-City Pages writer Beth Hawkins and Sophia Pearson gives a bit more detail on Coleman’s not exactly coupon-clipping spending habits. They write that in addition to use of the company jet for a ride to Costa Rica, (estimated cost $158,000), there was that $600K she dropped in Vegas during the Consumer Electronics Show. “The [Costa Rica] trip was a ‘gift that Tom gave me,’ she said. [The prosecutor] questioned Coleman on a series of checks signed by her on company accounts. He also asked about the more than $600,000 she spent over two days gambling at the Wynn Las Vegas hotel in January 2008 during a company trip. ‘So what you were doing was taking your bonus money and gambling it away?’ … ‘No. When we went to Las Vegas … there would be a group of us that would play on a card, so it wasn’t necessarily all my money,’ Coleman said.” I think we know that.
Fresh off his, um, “activism” in that New York congressional race where he linked ideological arms with Sarah Palin and the tea-bagger crowd to run an endorsed Republican out of the race that was then won by a Democrat, Gov. Tim Pawlenty moved back to big-time fund-raising mode Wednesday night. The bash, for his Freedom First PAC, included some Hollywood elite, like, uh, Jon Voight and John “Cliffy” Ratzenberger (from “Cheers”). Tom Scheck files a story for MPR, noting that “The audience included GOP activists, lobbyists and several state lawmakers who paid from $1,000 to $5,000 to attend. There were special perks for those who bundled upwards of $100,000 in contributions.”
A day old, but worth reading for its representation of the “adult” wing of the modern conservative movement, is Paul Mirengoff for Power Line assessing the results from Tuesday’s elections around the country. On the critical collision of often seriously misinformed and loosely disciplined Tea Partiers and the crowd we used to think of as, well, Republicans, Mirengoff writes, “Maximizing conservative success requires a successful marriage between true conservatives and moderate conservatives, and between pragmatic conservatives and their more ideological counterparts. As with any good marriage, both parties must work at it, but the work required is not onerous. Center-right, pragmatic party bosses just need to take into account the preferences of the conservative base. The bosses in NY-23 flagrantly disregarded these preferences.” Or, in other words, show fealty to the Tea Party.
City Pages’ naught-beat blogger Emily Kaiser picks up on a Buzzfeed post from a week ago noting the “hotness” of female aides seated behind Sen. Al Franken at televised hearings. The senator did an interview Wednesday with Ian and Margery Punnett on FM 107 and discussed the matter, saying, “I have a great staff, and many of the men on the staff are very good looking.” Men? Who said anything about the men?
Also over at MPR, blogger Bob Collins covers the unusual, (or is it “unusually public”?) decision by Duluth TV station KBJR to pull a story it was planning to run on convicted murderer Donald Blom. Viewers responded very negatively at word that Blom, abductor and killer of young Katie Poirer 10 years ago, was going to be interviewed in connection with his request to be moved from a Pennsylvania prison back to Minnesota. KBJR released a statement saying: “We never intended to broadcast the interviews from Donald Blom or give a platform for his rants. Our goal was to inform the Northland about his court petition to be returned to Minnesota. Out of respect to the Poirier family our story has been pulled and I will be putting this into context for our viewers and apologize to the Poiriers tonight at ten.”
Looking for the exactly right furnishings for your Tom Petters-style home theater? The City of Minneapolis is selling off theater seats from the old Hollywood Theater up on Johnson Street. Finance and Commerce has the story. “The city is now trying to unload approximately 200 theater seats. The city is charging $25 per seat or $20 per seat for those buying more than one seat. Proceeds from the ‘as is’ seat sales will go toward improvements to the building.”
“Value” of course is always in the eyes of the beholder. But the Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine has declared Carleton the best private college value in the state and 13th best in the nation. Jennifer Niemela of the Business Journal writes, “Other Minnesota private colleges on the list include St. Paul-based Macalester College (No. 25), Northfield-based St. Olaf College (No. 30), Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter (No. 40) and the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph (No. 42).” In case you’re wondering, tuition at Carleton in 2008-09 was $48,000 … a year. That’s a lot of “value.”
The second round of bidding on (the other) Dennis Anderson’s motorized recliner chair ends tonight, after the brain wizards at the La-Z-Boy company got their undies in a twist and demanded eBay (and the press) stop hyping the thing as something it wasn’t. The effect was to cut off a bidding war that had reached $43,000 (money that would have gone to the Proctor cops) and drop it down to a little more than $10,000. Paul Walsh files for the Strib, saying, “The folks at La-Z-Boy faxed a complaint to the police chief about the use of the trademarked name and apparently filed a complaint with eBay.” I say La-Z-Boy cuts the Proctor PD a check for $33K.