One-time political strategist/sports marketing wunderkind-turned-forger Pat Forciea was released from federal prison and returned home Tuesday — after a marathon 33-hour bus ride from Colorado that included a lengthy layover and frequent stops.
Only KARE’s John Croman was on hand to meet Forciea at the bus station, and he delivers a picture of contrition: “A[s]the scandal erupted in 2004, defense attorneys blamed the hockey scheme on Forciea’s bi-polar disorder. That disease, also known as manic depression, can cause some persons to latch on to grandiose dreams. But Forciea Tuesday said that his underlying mental condition was never an excuse for hurting people and breaking the law. ‘My behavior had become inexcusable,’ he remarked. ‘I don’t blame anybody or anything. There’s no excuse for what I did. I’ve disappointed people who’ve supported me my whole life, all sorts of people who weren’t involved in this crime.’ “
MinnPost’s Doug Grow, who maintained a correspondence with Forciea while he was behind bars, covered the release story: “In a brief telephone conversation Monday from the bus that was carrying him on his long journey from a federal prison camp in Florence, Colo., Forciea said he had awakened at 2:30 a.m. filled with all sorts of emotions. He said it was surprisingly difficult to say farewell to some of his fellow inmates. ‘It’s a little different than saying goodbye after high school graduation, or college graduation,’ he said.”
Here’s the Paul McEnroe-Tony Kennedy Strib background story on Forciea from six years ago.
If Mark Dayton prevails in a light-turnout DFL primary next month, you can bet the Republican strategy will include much more of what Scott Johnson delivers on Power Line today … including a shot at the Star Tribune. “At a charity auction in 1994 or so I won the opportunity to have Dayton take me and a friend to lunch at the Minneapolis Club. The lunch occurred toward the end of Dayton’s tenure as the Minnesota state auditor. At lunch we argued politics and found nothing on which to agree. The lunch was extremely unpleasant because Dayton seemed to be unable to disagree agreeably. Dayton nevertheless put me on his Christmas card list for roughly the next five years. Over those five years Dayton used his Christmas cards to discuss the dissolution of his two marriages, his entry into rehabilitation for alcoholism and related therapy issues. His psychiatric challenges were no secret to the many people on Dayton’s Christmas card list, including virtual strangers like me. The Star Tribune reported in its news story this past December: ‘People who have worked closely with Dayton or within the [Minnesota Democratic Party] said they have long known the former senator struggled with mental health issues.’ Later the story adds: ‘Opponents — and even some supporters — have long whispered of his possible struggle with mental illness’. Well, thanks. Where, one might ask, was the Star Tribune during Dayton’s Senate campaign? It wouldn’t have taken much digging to report this story during the 2000 Senate campaign.”
Mark Zedechlik of MPR serves up a report on Michele Bachmann’s first gathering of her newly created Tea Party caucus: “Tea party member Elaine Philippi of Princeton, Minn., says she’s concerned about the tea party having a place on Capitol Hill. ‘You know the whole idea of the tea party is not to be part of Congress and it’s just that that healthy divide wouldn’t be there anymore,’ she said. Philippi is active with the Mille Lacs County Tea Party. She’s also one of several state tea party coordinators.Surveys show most tea party supporters are Republicans. Philippi says she is not. She says if Bachmann is really just trying to give tea partiers a voice in Washington, that’s fine. But she says she does not want Bachmann and other Republicans to strip control of the tea party movement from the ‘real people’ who created it.” And, I suppose, the ‘real people’ who fund it and orchestrate it.
Oh, and Chris Barden, the guy running for attorney general against Lori Swanson this year, is reiterating that he’ll join the so-called “Tenthers” lawsuit to repeal the new health care reform legislation. Here’s MPR’s Tim Pugmire’s update.
As polls go, Rasmussen doesn’t exactly have the most sterling of reputations. But it spit out a new one on Minnesota’s governor’s race and found that Tom Emmer is now trailing all of the DFL candidates. Fox9’s Jeff Goldberg reports: “Mark Dayton would beat Republican Tom Emmer 40 to 36 percent, with the Independence Party candidate Tom Horner netting 10 percent. Margaret Anderson-Kelliher scored 40 percent to Emmer’s 35, with Horner at 11 percent, and Matt Entenza leads Emmer 37 to 36 percent, with Horner at 12 percent. Political analyst David Schultz said it looked like Emmer was clearly ahead back in May. He believes two things have changed. He believes the Democrats are now better known than a few months ago and Emmer’s recent dispute with waiters and waitresses didn’t help.”
A $300,000 barrage of TV ads off of Emmer’s “server summit”/”waitergate” isn’t likely to help those numbers. WCCO’s Pat Kessler explains that the labor-backed Alliance for a Better Minnesota “… is going to spend $300,000 for just one week to put the ad on the air. That’s considered a huge television buy.To put it in perspective, the $300,000 the labor PAC will spend is three-fourths of the entire budget for the PAC that’s been formed for business groups.”
These things are usually shameless shilling devices for advertisers, but The Business Journal has turned out its annual list of the 50 Best Places to Work in Minnesota. UnitedHealth did NOT make the list, but can console itself with … you guessed it … soaring profits (again) in the second quarter. The Journal’s John Vomhof Jr. reports: “The Minnetonka-based health insurer posted net income of $1.12 billion, or 99 cents per share, for the quarter ended June 30. That’s compares with earnings of $859 million, or 73 cents per share, in the comparable period last year. Revenue came in at $23.26 billion for the most recent quarter, up 7 percent from $21.66 billion in the year-ago period.” He says: “UnitedHealth (NYSE: UNH) also updated its full-year 2010 guidance, calling for revenue of approximately $93 billion, net earnings in the range of $3.40 to $3.60 per share and cash flows from operations approaching $5 billion.” We’re happy for them.
It’ll take me a another minute to create the right set-up for the joke, but the basic idea is that even the cops can get hopelessly lost in Eagan. Tale of a mom and son on a bike ride in 2000-acre Lebanon Hills park getting so lost they needed rescue teams and … a helicopter was catnip for reporters. Frederick Melo of the PiPress writes: “Their 911 calls drew a Minnesota State Patrol helicopter, two all-terrain vehicles and a small cast of emergency responders using GPS software to track their cellular phone. The drama didn’t quite end there. The rescuers nearly needed their own rescuing when flashlights began failing, and two Eagan police officers searching different areas of the park became disoriented along the 30 miles of unlit hiking, biking and horse trails, all within a mile or two of some of the city’s busiest avenues.”
Jennifer Griswold from KSTP-TV interviews the mom and kid, both of whom seem bright and personable. Apparently the cop who was lost with them for two hours was not available for comment.
Baseball is often reduced to, “See the ball, hit the ball.” With Jesse Ventura, it’s more like “See the microphone, hit ‘self-promote.’ ” The big guy was in D.C., apparently running around the Capitol complaining about being denied access to shoot next to JFK’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery. The Strib’s Kevin Diaz reports: “The first bit of intrigue involves what he sees as the military’s move to undermine his reality truTV series, ‘Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura,’ by not letting him film a stand-up … at the gravesite. … The former Minnesota governor also claims the U.S. is fighting in Afghanistan to secretly secure a massive lithium deposit to make the world safe for cell phone, computer and electric car batteries.” The Diaz story comes with a link to a YouTube video of an impromptu interview Venturas gave a Scripps reporter who just happened to cross his path. Damn, but that guy was good copy.
The trucker with 14 speeding tickets who rear-ended a car in Carver County last summer killing two people was given … probation by a district judge. The trucker may be the only one happy with the outcome. Paul Walsh writes for the Strib: “Along with 12 months’ probation, District Judge Kevin Eide’s sentence calls for [trucker Gordon] Curtiss, of Hutchinson, Minn., to perform 80 hours of community service and pay restitution to the victims for unpaid funeral expenses and a $385 fine. He must also complete a driver-improvement course and write letters of apology to the victims.” Walsh adds: “Carver County Attorney James Keeler acknowledged that the sentence is a ‘less than a satisfactory response’ in the wake of two people dying. He said more serious charges could not be brought because the case did not involve alcohol or drug use and it lacked gross negligence in driving.”
Are you kidding me? One person putting $2.4 million … into slot machines? Better yet, the slot junkie, Linda Tuttle-Olson, was playing with other peoples’ money. Mary Lynn Smith at the Strib tells the story of Tuttle-Olson, a Freeborn County commissioner, who raided escrow accounts to finance her casino habit. “Investigators suspect more victims likely will be discovered, and the total amount of money lost could rise as they analyze the boxes of paperwork confiscated in June from Tuttle-Olson’s business. ‘We’re still tracking down where all the money went,’ said Steele County Attorney Dan McIntosh, who is handling the case to avoid a conflict of interest.” She goes on to say: “According to the criminal complaint, Tuttle-Olson maneuvered money between accounts, fraudulently using her clients’ escrow money. The complaint cites in-house records at Diamond Jo Casino in Iowa that show that from February 2008 to June 2, 2010, Tuttle-Olson played $2.4 million on slot machines and racked up a $309,000 loss. Freeborn County Board Vice Chair Dan Belshan said Tuttle-Olson has not attended the board’s last two meetings. ‘We haven’t heard a thing from her,’ he said. Freeborn County Attorney Craig Nelson said Tuttle-Olson would forfeit her office if she’s convicted of the charges.”