Attorney Jeff Anderson files first Penn State civil suit

AFTERNOON EDITION

One of the first jokes I heard after the Penn State sexual abuse story broke was: “Jeff Anderson is already flying to Happy Valley.” Uh, that’s no joke. As Tim Nelson at MPR reports: “A St. Paul attorney known for winning sex abuse cases against the Catholic Church said he’s filing the first civil case in the Penn State scandal. Jeffrey Anderson said he’s filing the case in Philadelphia Tuesday on behalf of a young man who he said was abused by Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, starting when the alleged victim was 10 years old. ‘There has been a grand jury investigation, upon which we’ve relied heavily,’ Anderson said. ‘We have brought the information we’ve assembled to law enforcement.’ ” There’s a strong suspicion that Anderson has had tougher cases.

And … in the realm of tougher cases … the AP is reporting that the Minnesota Supreme Court has given the OK for the state to go after the California designer of the collapsed I-35 bridge: “Wednesday’s ruling allows the state’s claim against Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. of Pasadena to proceed. The Supreme Court says statutes passed in 2008 allow the state to seek reimbursement from parties that may have contributed to the 2007 collapse that killed 13 people and injured 145. A federal investigation found a design flaw was a key cause. The Supreme Court says the statutes don’t violate Jacobs’ constitutional rights. The state has paid over $37 million to victims, through those statutes and an emergency fund.”

Enjoy today, for tomorrow will likely bring … another budget deficit. The AP says: “Minnesota lawmakers are braced for bad news with Thursday’s release of a state economic forecast. Expectations at the Capitol are for somewhere between $500 million to $1 billion in red ink in the state general fund. That would set the table for another showdown between Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative majorities, with both sides still smarting from last summer’s budget battle that led to a state government shutdown.” So, if we can raise how much a year from a network of racinos …?

At the Strib, Baird Helgeson writes: “This fall, Minnesota budget officials have been piecing together a particularly tricky financial portrait that accounts for the health of the local, national and world economy and then measures that against state expenses for the rest of the two-year budget cycle. The failure of the so-called super-committee in Washington, the debt crisis in Europe and other potential global financial calamities could yank the state’s slow economic recovery back into the ditch. ‘One of the things that’s different about this forecast is that there’s a lot more upside potential and a lot of downside potential,’ said Tom Stinson, the state’s economist. ‘There’s just a lot of uncertainty.’ Stinson said that it could blow a supersized hole in the state’s economy if Congress and President Obama fail to renew payroll tax cuts and an extension in unemployment benefits. ‘That puts us perilously close to no growth and gives us no buffer’ for such a shock, he said.”

Add $8.5 million to the clawback fund from Tom Petters. David Phelps at the Strib says: “Thirty officers, directors, employees and strategic partners of convicted businessman Tom Petters have agreed to repay nearly $8.5 million to the bankrupt estate of Petters Companies, Inc. and its subsidiaries. In a document filed late Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Petters trustee Doug Kelley itemized settlements in the attempted recovery of bonuses and other compensation paid to the individuals before the Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Petters collapsed. Kelley asserted that the funds paid to the executives were obtained by Petters from unwitting investors. Kelley had sought a total of $22.8 million from the 30 individuals and obtained $8.5 million.” Kind of makes you wonder if some of those turnips need another squeeze.

Noted Super PAC chairman Norm Coleman was talking with reporters about whether these big-money entities are the future of politics in the USA. At Talking Points Memo, Ryan J. Reilly says: “Does the introduction of so-called ‘super PACs’ drastically change the political landscape or is it just the next logical step of increasing the impact of money in politics? One person who’s not sure: former Republican Senator and current super PAC chairman Norm Coleman. ‘So is it a continuum? Is it an ebb and flow? Or is it — from a little different perspective — a fundamental paradigm shift in the way American elections are conducted? Because I feel it’s a little of that too, even though it’s an ebb and flow, because the level of coordination that outside groups can do among themselves but not with candidates and not with parties is pretty incredible,’ Coleman said at a breakfast with reporters hosted by the Christian Science Monitor on Tuesday. ‘The reality is I can’t tell you what the ideal system is. Clearly public financing, McCain-Feingold didn’t work, didn’t work. I don’t think anyone would argue with that,’ Coleman said.”

Do you think? Elizabeth Dunbar at MPR reports on the Legislative Auditor’s admonition that Legacy Fund record-keeping get a whole lot better. “The state Legislative Auditor on Wednesday recommended more documentation on how Legacy Amendment funds are spent to ensure lawmakers are complying with the law. The report found inconsistencies in the structures and procedures used to oversee the Legacy Amendment funds. It said a requirement that the Legacy funds ‘supplement’ and not ‘supplant’ traditional funding streams has caused confusion and uncertainty. … The Legislative Auditor also released a financial audit of three of the funds — outdoors, clean water and parks. It found that most internal controls were adequate to ensure Legacy money was being spent responsibly. But auditors found some problems. For example, the report said the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Department of Natural Resources and the Board of Soil and Water Resources could not demonstrate that certain Legacy expenditures complied with all the legal restrictions of the amendment. That included questions about what portion of an employee’s salary should come from Legacy funds and whether the same portion of the employee’s time was being spent on Legacy projects.”

Beware the Obituary Burglar. The AP has a story saying: “The sheriff in Waseca County says a burglar probably is checking obituaries to target the homes of grievers while they’re away at the funeral of a loved one. Chuck and Roxie Schwab apparently were the burglar’s latest victims. The newlyweds celebrated their wedding Saturday and buried Chuck’s father on Monday. While they were at church for the funeral, someone took their wedding gifts.”

Tough explaining the scars … Ryan Howard of the Fergus Falls Daily Journal reports: “An effort to snag a stuck candy bar ended up costing a 35-year-old woman far more than the price of her purchase when she allegedly broke the front glass in a vending machine at the Fergus Falls CARE Unit. Police reported that the woman, Jean Marie Adams, had purchased a candy bar at a machine in the unit, where she is currently staying. However, when the candy bar became stuck, Adams allegedly attempted to knock it loose by pushing her buttocks into the front glass of the machine. Her attempt, however, was too much for the machine, and the glass broke mid-push.”

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 11/30/2011 - 05:12 pm.

    The game’s not over between the state and Jacobs Enginneering, at least until the time to petition the U.S. Supreme Court for certiorari runs or the USSCT denies such a petition. Two things argue in Jacobs favor, IMO: first, the authority for the Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision did not include a USSCT decision directly on point; second, that the state was the party benefitted by the change in the law.

    The next move is Jacobs’.

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 12/01/2011 - 05:17 am.

    Actually, Norm, McCain-Feingold didn’t work because it had too many loopholes, not to mention that, by the time the courts were done with it, it looked like Swiss cheese.

    Evidently the only REAL solution to the problem that, in our current political system, where, in essence,…

    one dollar equals one vote,…

    (as opposed to that quaint old idea that one PERSON should equal one vote),…

    is a constitutional amendment that allows for the complete equalization of campaign-related expenditures between all candidates,…

    provides equal public financing for all those candidates who meet some reasonable criteria,…

    prohibits any type of private expenditures for campaigns whether for or against candidates, parties, or identifiable political ideologies…

    and requires that the media provide equal opportunity for all candidates to communicate their ideas.

    Given the fact that such a system would cost the mainstream media and local media outlets $Billions in lost revenues for political ads and,…

    and make many current office holders feel as if they were actors who had been thrust from the silent film era into “talkies,”

    (the need to have actual ideas which you are capable of defending against others who are seeking to point out their factual and logical flaws being as foreign to many current politicians as the ability to sound like a real and appealing person on a film soundtrack was to more than a few silent film actors),…

    make it about as likely to pass as we are likely to comfortably swim in Minnesota lakes in mid-February.

    Lacking such changes, however, it is all too likely that we will continue to rapidly slide down the slippery slope of government of the money, by the money, and for the money.

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