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What’s another 10% when there’s a $141 million divorce?


Wouldn’t kissing and making up be a lot cheaper? John Welbes of the PiPress covers the 10 percent interest penalty a local hedge fund guy will now have to pay … on top of his $141 million divorce settlement: “Andrew Redleaf already owed nearly $141 million in a divorce settlement. As of Monday, he owes 10 percent interest on the payments he missed, according to a ruling by the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Redleaf, 54, who is CEO of the Minneapolis-based hedge fund Whitebox Advisors, had agreed to pay his ex-wife Elizabeth Redleaf $140.7 million in cash payments over a five-year period when they divorced in February 2008. In return, Elizabeth, also 54, agreed to waive any interest in her ex-husband’s businesses. The best known, Whitebox Advisors, manages $2.5 billion in assets, according to its website, and once owned a 50 percent stake in Sun Country Airlines. … Elizabeth Redleaf won judgments worth $21 million, which Andrew paid. He then tried to renegotiate the settlement, arguing his financial circumstances had changed, but the courts said no. He missed three more monthly payments and protested he could not pay them in full.”

On MPR today, Gov. Dayton introduced the idea of the state taking on clean-up of the Arden Hills site for redevelopment if the Zygi Wilf/Vikings stadium dream dies. Says Tom Scheck: “Dayton says he’s pursuing the possibility of spending state money to redevelop the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant in Arden Hills if a proposed Vikings stadium is built elsewhere.The Vikings owners and Ramsey County are pushing to build the stadium in Arden Hills and say cleaning up the site is one of the benefits of the project. … ‘It’s 470 acres just sitting almost entirely unused right in our metropolitan area,’ Dayton said. ‘It’s the largest unused plot of land in our entire metropolitan area. What’s standing in the way is an estimated $30 million of cleaning it up and that’s a good thing to do for the residents in the area as well as future development.’ ” 

What was he supposed to say? “These things happen”? The Strib’s Jim Spencer covers the testimony of the Minnesota farmer who, at least for the moment, is out a wad of cash because of the MF Global meltdown: “Dean Tofteland didn’t mince words about what he thinks happened to $253,000 he deposited in his futures and options account at the bankrupt brokerage firm MF Global. ‘Co-mingling money is stealing money,’ Tofteland told members of the Senate Agriculture Committee at a hearing Tuesday. Tofteland and other victims of what could be the country’s eighth-largest bankruptcy testified just before MF Global’s former chief Jon Corzine was to undergo his second interrogation before Congress in less than a week. Tofteland, who raises, wheat, corn and pigs in Luverne, stressed his sense of betrayal as he waits to see if he will recover all of his money and another $100,000 he lost when he was forced to liquidate hedges.”

There’s been a lot of talk about tuition reciprocity with Wisconsin … but have you considered Canuckistan? Tim Post at MPR writes: “Minnesota has had a tuition reciprocity agreement with Manitoba, Canada for more than 20 years, but not many people know about it. Under the agreement, students from Minnesota can attend several well-regarded Canadian universities as an international student, but only a day’s drive away from home. Manitoba officials are trying to bring exposure [to] the opportunity, and with the promise of inexpensive tuition hope to lure north cost-conscious Minnesota students. Tuition is Manitoba’s biggest selling point — a year of tuition at a Manitoban university runs between $3,500 and $4,000. Students from Minnesota can also take their federal Pell Grant money, if they qualify for it, to most Manitoban colleges. And they can borrow U.S. federal student loans as well.” The only problem? You’re in Manitoba.

From Monday (my apologies), Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib covers the “turnaround” expert the state GOP is bringing in to clean up its books: “Mike Vekich, a businessman from whom former Gov. Tim Pawlenty often sought advice, will ‘head up the party’s efforts to deal with its finances relative to its priorities in the 2012 election cycle,’ according to a GOP release on Monday. The party has $581,000 of debt heading into the 2012 election. It also has unpaid bills from the 2010 gubernatorial recount and was fined $170,000 by the Federal Election Commission this summer. … Vekich said in a statement that ‘my role is assessing the situation and quickly defining the organization’s strengths and weaknesses.’ ” Well … it’s really good at reacting with outrage at the latest attack on job creators, but balancing the checkbook seems to be a problem.

An Arden Hills computer geek has a one-in-15 chance of hitching a ride into outer space. The PiPress’s Sarah Horner reports: “Mark Johnson’s Christmas present could be literally out of this world. If things go his way this holiday season, the principal software developer for Medtronic will win a trip into space. The Arden Hills father of three is one of 15 across the world in the running for the out-of-this-world prize. He started as one of nearly 6,000. ‘Initially, I thought it was a gimmick, that it would turn out to be a space camp or something,’ Johnson said. ‘But they’re serious. … I could really be going into space’. … The winner won’t be walking on the moon or anything, but the trip does include a launch and landing, Tearne said. If Johnson gets the spot, he would travel about 62 miles into the air — about 10 times higher than an average airplane — far enough to experience weightlessness for about three minutes while on the border of the outer edge of space, Johnson said. He also would get quite a view of Earth.”

Sales up … profits down. Thomas Lee of the Strib says Best Buy’s third quarter wasn’t exactly good news: “The Richfield-based consumer electronics giant said sales at stores open for at least a year, a key measure of retail growth, increased 0.3 percent, thanks in part to holiday promotions like Black Friday. However, Best Buy said it generated an adjusted third quarter profit of 47 cents per share, which fell far short of Wall Street estimates of 52 cents a share. Investors punished Best Buy stock, with shares falling about $3.30, or 12 percent, mid-morning to $24.75. Overall, adjusted gross profits fell one percent to $2.9 billion while sales grew 1.7 percent to $12.1 billion.” Two words: Black Thanksgiving.

A fourth person has admitted fraud in the Cloud 9 scheme. Says Paul Walsh at the Strib: “A former real estate agent and broker has admitted that she participated in a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme that involved a Minnetonka condominium project by St. Paul developer Jerry Trooien. Lindsey R. Loyear, 30, of St. Paul, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in St. Paul to conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud and faces up to five years in prison. According to the plea agreement: From 2006 through October of 2008, Loyear conspired in a kickback scheme that involved submitting false information to lenders to obtain mortgage loans for the Cloud 9 Sky Flats in Minnetonka. Three other people already have pleaded guilty in the Cloud 9 scheme. One, former broker Sheri L. Delich, who pleaded guilty in June, testified that she was following instructions from Trooien, whose company converted the office building into condos during the real estate boom. Delich’s lawyer said she is cooperating with investigators. Trooien has adamantly denied Delich’s courtroom accusation.” The guilty pleas are piling up as fast as the denials.

Today in Bachmannia: We always knew there was something special about Our Gal, and now we have confirmation. Twenty five Iowa pastors have declared Our Favorite Congresswoman “the most biblically qualified” to be president of the United States. At the Christian Broadcasting Network, David Brody reports: “A campaign release, leaked early to The Brody File, says the group of pastors and faith community leaders will say Bachmann is a ‘biblically qualified, capable, no-compromise’ leader. … In the release, Pastor Matt Floyd said, ‘The Scriptures make it clear that we should choose leaders who fear God, are capable, trustworthy and keep his commandments. Michele Bachmann does exactly that.’ And Tamara Scott said, ‘We’ve longed for a candidate who wouldn’t compromise on liberty, morality, or national sovereignty. We now have one, only one, and it’s time we support her. Christians understand our duty is to vote virtue and leave the results to God. Thankfully, the Davids and Gideons of the Bible didn’t look to pollsters or pundits for their success and neither should we’.” But wait … “Tamara Scott is the Iowa state director of Concerned Women for America. She’s also a home school mom who is very active in that community.” I just know that somewhere the Book of Leviticus endorses Our Gal, too.

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