The seemingly endless run of twists in the tales of Ponzi schemers, frauds and con games continues with one in the Trevor Cook case. As the Strib’s Dan Browning describes it, “The receiver searching for assets in the $190 million-plus Ponzi scheme, issued a statement Wednesday saying that federal agents have seized a cache of valuables exceeding $400,000 in value from Cook’s brother Graham, a hard-drinking, 35-year-old computer technician. The valuables had been hidden behind the baseboards in a basement where Graham Cook has been staying.” And this is AFTER he forked over $360,000 in $100 bills in April.
And whatever the Cook case can urp up, you know Denny Hecker’s can tie or beat. So how about someone redirecting fourth wife Tamitha Hecker’s mail — from people like her divorce attorney and the IRS, which is investigating Denny’s various entrepreneurial adventures — for two weeks, from her place in St. Louis Park to a mail box in a strip mall where Denny also gets his mail. (Denny rents a postal box?) The Strib’s Dee DePass (who may be mentioned by name in The Glean more often than anyone else in the media) reports: “According to people familiar with the case, Tamitha Hecker said she recently noticed that she hadn’t received mail for a couple of weeks. Her inquiry at the local post office revealed that someone changed her mailing address last month from her St. Louis Park home to a post office box at the Wayzata Lunds strip mall on Wayzata Boulevard East. Matt Burton, attorney for the bankruptcy trustee handling Hecker’s bankruptcy, said that he is aware that Hecker collects mail at the same office.”
Stock prices rise and fall, but Target’s is still muddling in the aftermath of the so-called “Emmer donation” it made through the pro-business PAC, MnForward. The PiPress’s Tom Webb had a story late Tuesday noting: “Shares in the Minneapolis-based discount retailer have declined 3.5 percent since the morning of July 27, when Target Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel first defended the donation, prompting critics to call for a consumer boycott. Its shares were off 1.5 percent Tuesday, closing at $50.98. Over the same six trading days, stock prices rose at Target’s largest rivals, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp. Broader market indexes also were up, including the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500.” Target was up a tick after hours yesterday, to $51.10.
Emmer is getting some national press … or electrons, I should say. The snarky website Gawker.com ran a piece with the headline “Meet Tom Emmer, Target’s Favorite Right-Wing Nutjob.” Sample verbiage: “Q: How crazy is Tom Emmer? A: Pretty go****n crazy. Writer Abe Sauer [at The Awl.com] has put together a very long list of the wacky positions that Candidate Emmer has supported. A quick overview:
- Authored a bill saying Minnesotans ‘had no constitutional right to abortion.’
- Co-authored a bill required Minnesota students to learn about the ‘free-market economic,’ ‘world view of America’s founders’ and ‘American or Minnesota state history or heritage based on religious references.’ “
Jon Collins at The Minnesota Independent entertains speculation that the Target blowback could positively affect both Emmer and his DFL opponent by drawing national money into the race from their respective gay rights partisans. Says Collins: “But attention to the race, specifically from progressive donors, could transform the governor’s race into the same sort of national battleground as the congressional race between Rep. Michele Bachmann and Tarryl Clark, which would benefit Emmer. In the same way that Emmer might get a fringe reputation from progressives, he might actually become the hero of some very conservative people, [Hamline U. Prof. David] Schultz said. “His persona, as it’s being defined right now, is going to attract a lot of people and repel a lot of people at the same time.’ ” … And the money that matters.
Wednesday’s ruling against Proposition 8 in California — the “no gay marriage” proposition — inspired John Hinderaker at Power Line. He writes: “Conservatives have long said that the day would come when liberal judges declare the Constitution unconstitutional. That happened today, when a gay federal judge in San Francisco, relying on the opinions of mostly-gay ‘expert’ witnesses, ruled that an amendment to the California constitution, which was adopted in perfectly proper fashion by a substantial majority of voters, is ‘unconstitutional.’ In this context, unconstitutional means ‘unpopular with me and my friends.’ As a legal matter, Judge Walker’s decision is a bad joke. It will be appealed, of course, but the outcome of the appeal will be determined by politics, not law. I think it is safe to assume that anyone nominated to the Supreme Court by a Democratic President is explicitly or implicitly committed to the proposition that gay marriage is a constitutional right.” I missed that part where Jefferson and Madison and the others specifically prohibited gay marriage.
About the time you think Matt Entenza might be the savviest of the DFL trio in the gubernatorial hunt, he blunders into something like that ad accusing Tom Emmer of being pro-No Child Left Behind. Never mind that Entenza might be better off right now running against his DFL pals. As MPR’s PoliGraph reporter, Catharine Richert, easily concludes in the matter of the Emmer ad: “Emmer has made clear that he’s opposed to No Child Left Behind. Notwithstanding the vote against the muddied House floor amendment, Entenza’s claim is false.” Not just, “debatable,” but “false.. Good god, man, make an effort.
Stribber Jim Spencer follows on an MPR story by Dan Gunderson from a few days ago involving a DNR lawsuit against a township board that allowed a variance for cabin owner to build a four-season home 14 feet from the shoreline of a Becker County lake. Spencer reports: “The rare move could signal a new statewide emphasis on controlling building on waterfront land. ‘This is a shot across the bow on the part of DNR,’ said Brad Karkkainen, an environmental law expert at the University of Minnesota. Karkkainen said the new suit against Cormorant Township will send a message to localities that are allowing more buildings — often expansive vacation homes — that exceed state standards for size and distance from the water’s edge and create polluting stormwater runoff.”
In Gunderson’s original story, he wrote: “The DNR calls the decision to grant the variance unreasonable. Court documents allege the township failed to follow the law in granting the variance. A variance can be granted to ease undue hardship on a property owner. In this case, the state argues following the zoning regulations would not have caused undue hardship. The DNR declined to do a recorded interview about this case, but one DNR official familiar with the case said Cormorant Township has a pattern of questionable lakeshore variances. He said this case was so far over the line the agency took the unusual step of challenging the decision in court.” Just wondering, but did Denny Hecker get any variances up on Crosslake?
On the other hand, Denny and the Trevor Cook crowd are slightly slicker than a La Crosse gal who reportedly pregnant, drunk and needing cash for crack, tryied to hold up a Taco Bell with … a hammer. Anne Jungen of the LaCrosse Tribune writes: “ ‘I want a soft shell and this is a stickup. Give me all your money,’ the woman reportedly told the cashier about 10:40 p.m. at Taco John’s, 1211 Jackson St. The woman then tugged on the handle of a hammer in her pocket but could not work it free, according to La Crosse police reports. The cashier pressed the restaurant’s panic button and called 911 as the woman fled.” Jungen continues: “[The woman], who had a 0.21 percent blood-alcohol content when arrested, told police her roommate threatened to evict her if she didn’t come up with money for crack cocaine. She tried to sell her engagement ring back to Kmart for $150, then decided against robbing Mr. Stix tavern and the Walgreens store because both were too crowded, reports stated.”
Perhaps she would have had better luck whipping out that hammer had she worn something from the new Victoria’s Secret NFL collection. A Business Journal story explains that the lingerie chain sees a market for gals who are also football fans, and the Vikings are among a dozen NFL teams represented in the new line of “T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and tank tops.”