More twists in con game cases

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.”

Comments (18)

  1. Submitted by Michael Hunt on 08/05/2010 - 10:27 am.

    “I missed that part where Jefferson and Madison and the others specifically prohibited gay marriage.”

    Don’t feel bad Brian. The rest of America doesn’t quite get the Constitution According to Hinderaker either. And thankfully.

  2. Submitted by Peter Swanson on 08/05/2010 - 11:11 am.

    “I missed that part where Jefferson and Madison and the others specifically prohibited gay marriage.”

    So, if X is not outright prohibited in the constitution, no subsequent legislature (or ballot initiative) may prohibit X.

    How do we stop the courts from becoming a superlegislature given your view of the national constitution? Where does federalism come into play?

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 08/05/2010 - 11:16 am.

    As has been said before, conservatives use the constitution the same way they use the Bible – never reading to comprehend what’s actually there, then building their ideology based on what they’ve found, but rather, picking and choosing a sentence or a phrase or perhaps a whole paragraph (very rarely) that they can cobble together with other snippets to back up their pre-existing ideology(ies).

    In other words, despite their protestations to the contrary, neither the Bible nor the Constitution is the foundation of their lives. Both are just props they use to try to justify and provide bracing for the true foundations of their lives which seem to come from a wide variety of far less worthy and, likely, far less healthy sources.

    Rather than seeking out and celebrating who the God whom Jesus called “dad” is, and celebrating the brilliant ways the constitution constructed by our founders has enabled the US to adapt to its changing circumstances and the changing awareness brought to bear by advances in science and human psychology, they create their God and their ideas of what the US is in the image of their own ideology, then accuse all those with better, more faithful, more accurate images of apostasy.

  4. Submitted by Lucy Quinlivan on 08/05/2010 - 11:33 am.

    Good to know that Emmer and Hinderaker are on the same page re: the right of states to limit those constitutional freedoms granted to citizens by the U.S. Constitution. Silly me, I thought all along that a state could only give its residents more rights than the feds would.

  5. Submitted by Karl Bremer on 08/05/2010 - 11:40 am.

    Hate to disappoint judicial scholar Hinderaker, but he might want to reassess his definition of “liberal judge.” Walker originally was a Reagan appointee, recommended by Ed Meese, and eventually was appointed to the federal bench by George H.W. Bush.

    http://dumpbachmann.blogspot.com/2010/08/judge-who-wrote-opinion-overturning.html

    It’s Hinderaker’s execrable Power Line that’s the “bad joke.”

  6. Submitted by Cecil North on 08/05/2010 - 12:30 pm.

    “How do we stop the courts from becoming a superlegislature given your view of the national constitution? Where does federalism come into play?”

    Enforcing the Constitution is inherent in the judicial power granted to federal courts under Art. III. The privileges and immunities clause of the Constitution is in Amendment XIV. The plain language of Amendment XIV places limits on the power of individual states to make laws that impinge on individual rights.

    In our government, it is the proper role land function of the courts to determine the scope and meaning of our laws, including the Constitution. To call that “superlegislating” is a canard. This is federalism, as defined by our laws.

  7. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 08/05/2010 - 12:40 pm.

    What will probably be the biggest impact to Rep. Emmer’s fund raising is when former (resigned) Governor Sarah Palin comes into town on Emmer’s behalf. This will give him a boost in media coverage and certainly a financial boost to his campaign..

  8. Submitted by Brian Simon on 08/05/2010 - 01:11 pm.

    Peter Swanson asks
    “How do we stop the courts from becoming a superlegislature given your view of the national constitution? Where does federalism come into play?”

    SCOTUS will continue to draw that line, sometimes with crisp edges, other times widely, with a lot of gray. In this case, I think, human rights trump states’ rights.

    .

  9. Submitted by Brian Simon on 08/05/2010 - 01:16 pm.

    Karl Bremer writes
    “Hate to disappoint judicial scholar Hinderaker, but he might want to reassess his definition of “liberal judge.” Walker originally was a Reagan appointee…”

    As noted in Lambert’s quote of Hinderaker, conservatives’ primary criticism of Judge Walker is his sexuality, not his ideology (though they presume one drives the other). The problem with that line of thinking is it would seem to eliminate the possibility of a fair trial – for if a homosexual judge is presumed biased, surely the heteros are equally biased in the opposite direction.

  10. Submitted by Stephan Flister on 08/05/2010 - 01:19 pm.

    Richard (#7),
    Can he spend Confederate money?

  11. Submitted by Peter Swanson on 08/05/2010 - 02:22 pm.

    “Enforcing the Constitution is inherent in the judicial power granted to federal courts under Art. III. The privileges and immunities clause of the Constitution is in Amendment XIV. The plain language of Amendment XIV places limits on the power of individual states to make laws that impinge on individual rights.”

    Wow. There is a lot there to chew on. I will begin by questioning whether “Jefferson and Madison and the others” were around when the 14th Amendment was drafted. Secondly, the suggestion that states may only legislate things that are “specifically prohibited” in the U.S. Constitution is not merely placing “limits” on the power of individual states to make laws. If you can only prohibit what the Constitution already prohibits, a) what’s the point, and b) every state’s laws would look the same. Federalism and separation of powers certainly do not mean this.

    Why not step back and admit that Lambert made a snarky comment about “Jefferson and Madison and the others” that really doesn’t hold up under close scrutiny?

  12. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 08/05/2010 - 02:41 pm.

    This gay “marriage” bruhaha is actually a comedy with six acts. I’ve received an advance outline of the script:

    Act 1. Define the obvious.

    Act 2. Wait for the scary smart, reality based community to declare that the obvious isn’t obvious unless it accepts the notion that sand is food.

    Act 3. Codify the obvious into law.

    Act 4. The scary smart, reality based community finds a fellow traveler in black robes….”sand”wiches and kool-aid are consumed, hilarity ensues.

    Act 5. The uber-wacky 9th Circuit Court of Appeals appears and everyone has a cream pie fight, hilarity continues.

    Act 6. The Supreme Court of the US arrives, smacks “sand”wiches out of hands, orders pies dropped and issues a permanent order of protection for the obvious. The scary smart, reality based community accuses everyone of racism and exits.

  13. Submitted by Rich Crose on 08/05/2010 - 03:26 pm.

    Mostly gay expert witnesses? What is that? The conservative side called gay witnesses too?

    Shame on them.

  14. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 08/05/2010 - 05:22 pm.

    Mr. Swift, you may be in for a surprise in the sixth act.

    If you actually read the decision, you will see that the judge relied heavily on two supreme court decisions – Romer v. Evans and Lawrence v. Texas, both of which struck down anti-gay laws. The author of those decisions, of course, was supreme court justice Anthony Kennedy. Which is who this decision was written for. He is vote number five, and he knows that in a year or two he will be legalizing gay marriage in America.

  15. Submitted by James Hamilton on 08/05/2010 - 07:34 pm.

    I suppose it’s too much to ask that people try reading and comprehending Walker’s decision on Prop 8. Granted, it’s 136 or so pages, but before we line up and start throwing axes at one another, perhaps we could inform ourselves?

    I’m only a third of the way through it myself, so will reserve comment.

  16. Submitted by James Hamilton on 08/05/2010 - 07:36 pm.

    Thanks for the link to the piece on Mr. Emmer. Hilarious, though I don’t believe it’s entirely accurate.

  17. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 08/05/2010 - 08:43 pm.

    I believe Mr. Swift confuses the role of the constitution in our lives. Many of the protections it affords are for minorities against the tyranny of the majority. Solid legal analysis and decisions should not await evolution of minds wedded to pre-enlightenment modes of belief, however popular they may be.

    Would Mr. Swift have scientists wait for the majority to believe in evolution before applying its theoretical framework to solve problems in medicine, biology, etc?

  18. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 08/06/2010 - 09:27 am.

    “Solid legal analysis and decisions should not await evolution of minds wedded to pre-enlightenment modes of belief…”

    Yeah, I cannot wait to see what manner of “enlightenment” leftists come up with to re-define human biology to fit their warped world-views.

    As I asid, hilarity ensues.

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