Just in time for the holiday weekend, taxpayers got their first bill from lawyers dealing with the Senate’s messy employment issues. The Strib’s Rachel Stassen-Berger reports: “The Minnesota Senate is discovering that defending itself from sex-scandal related legal threats is expensive. On Friday, Senate officials disclosed that they owe $46,150 for three months of legal fees — and the bill will only grow. The bill from Dayle Nolan, a private attorney the Senate hired to defend it against ex-employee Michael Brodkorb, and her firm only goes through March of this year. Those costs do not yet include all the time Nolan sat in hours of Senate ethics committees, where a former Senate leader was accused of mishandling the sex scandal, and come before Brodkorb has even filed a suit in a court room.”
The deed is done! MPR’s Tim Nelson reports: “The Minneapolis City Council has given final approval to a financing package that will build the Minnesota Vikings a new, taxpayer-subsidized, $1 billion stadium on the site of the Metrodome. The vote represented the final hurdle team owners faced after Gov. Mark Dayton signed off on the package passed by the Legislature on May 14.” Friday’s vote — like Thursday’s preliminary — was 7-6.
I gather that all the regulatory “uncertainty” hasn’t affected Minnesota’s smaller banks much. Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib reports: “Minnesota’s army of more than 350 small banks posted profits of $163 million in the first quarter, up 60 percent from a year earlier and one of the strongest first quarters in years. A performance summary out Thursday from the Federal Deposit Insurance Co. shows that by several other measures, too, the state’s community banks are moving to stability. They’re at their most profitable in years, with 67 percent of Minnesota’s banks growing profits from last year, even if the profits are being boosted from banks setting aside less money to cover souring loans. Asset quality improved, and the banks are burning through the load of repossessed real estate they’re carrying. The FDIC data doesn’t include banks chartered outside Minnesota, such as Wells Fargo Bank, U.S. Bank, TCF Bank and BMO Harris Bank.”
Semi-related … the AP’s list of the country’s highest-paid CEOs. On the list: “6. David M. Cote, Honeywell International, $35.7 million, up 135 percent … 30. Gregg W. Steinhafel, Target, $19.5 million, down 18 percent … 47. James M. Cracchiolo, Ameriprise Financial, $17.3 million, up 3 percent.” A bake sale will be held for Mr. Steinhafel.
One time would be enough for me. Paul Walsh of the Strib writes: “A 175-pound dog clamped its jaws on the head of a toddler at a St. Paul home, inflicting facial injuries upon the child, authorities said Friday. The attack by the Presa Canario Mastiff on the 18-month-old girl occurred Thursday night at her home in the 900 block of Mendota Street, leaving the child in the hospital and the dog under guard at Animal Control, police said. This is the second time this year that police were called to the home in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood on a report of the 2 1/2-year-old male dog biting a child, said police spokesman Paul Paulos. In the earlier attack, the dog bit a different child on Jan. 2, but no other details were immediately available.”
The talker of the day is the nabbing of a gun-wielding home invader via craigslist. Nicole Norfleet of the Strib says: “Sarah Stratton thought she’d never again see the digital camera her husband, Josh, had given her as a wedding gift after the Ham Lake couple were rousted from their bed by a gun-wielding home invader and robbed last week. But on Wednesday, as she searched Craigslist in the vague hope she might find some of what was lost that terrifying night, Stratton spotted something she recognized — a Nikon camera with a shoulder strap that was knotted in a familiar way. The camera was hers. And as a result of her sleuthing, the 17-year-old bandit who had terrorized Stratton and her husband was put behind bars. ‘I feel better he’s off the streets,’ Stratton said on Thursday. ‘It’s just scary. It can happen to anyone.’ ”
John Brewer at the PiPress writes: “The license of a Roseville psychologist was suspended indefinitely this month for exploiting her professional relationship with patient Gina J. Paulucci, daughter of the late pizza magnate Jeno Paulucci. A Minnesota Board of Psychology order against Kathryne E. Sanders said she ‘engaged in unprofessional conduct by failing to maintain appropriate professional boundaries’ and would have to pay a $50,000 fine in addition to the suspension. A separate civil suit filed by Paulucci against Sanders alleges malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment, among other claims. The suit alleges the psychologist received payments, jewels and other gifts valued at more than $650,000. Their relationship ended in February 2010, according to the order, and Paulucci, of Wayzata, filed the civil suit in Hennepin County District Court on March 12, 2012. A jury trial is scheduled for February 2013. The state board of psychology document details consultations six days a week, lavish gifts — including diamond rings, Rolex watches and Apple electronics — bestowed upon Sanders, her husband and son, as well as an instance of Sanders billing Paulucci for treatment the same day Sanders read a eulogy at the funeral for Paulucci’s boyfriend.” So was Ms. Paulucci coerced into these gifts?
You’ll have to continue waiting for that Surly Beer tap house … Laura Yuen at MPR says: “Surly owner Omar Ansari promised jobs and unleashed a social media frenzy among his passionate fans that led to the passage of the law. But despite the initial sense of urgency, Ansari is taking his time to complete his vision. … Why has it been so tough to find the right piece of land? Hauschild said Surly will likely need seven to 10 acres to accommodate the company’s future growth. That’s a little larger than what Ansari originally considered. The team also needs a property that is zoned, or could be zoned, for industrial use. Ansari’s wish list also includes nearby bikeways and transit lines, and he has expressed interest in the Mississippi riverfront. Some of the possibilities would require assembling land owned by different parties, Hauschild said. There could be some public subsidies involved for infrastructure, such as street improvements or environmental remediation, he added.”
Officially, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s ideological position are “about courage.” MJ Lee at Politico writes: “Walker, who is set to face off against Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in a highly anticipated recall election on June 5, said in an interview Wednesday that a victory next month will resonate powerfully across the country that voters want elected officials who are ready to challenge special interest groups. ‘It’s about courage,’ the Republican governor said on Fox News. ‘If they affirm me on the vote on June 5, I think [that] sends a powerful message not only around Wisconsin but around the country that voters are serious when they say they want leaders who are willing to take on the tough issues.’ He added, ‘They want leaders who are willing to stand up and take on the powerful special interests and put the power back in the hands of the taxpayers. … That’s really what’s ultimately at stake. Who is in charge? Is it taxpayers or is it the special interest groups?’ ” You weren’t drinking anything hot when you read that, were you?
In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, James Nelson, writing the paper’s PolitiFact column, looks at Walker’s claim of job growth during his year-plus in office, numbers compiled and whipped together from a variety of sources. So how does it rate? “Walker’s ad says there are 33,200 more jobs in Wisconsin since he took office. To reach the number, he combined two data sets — one that involves unofficial (but generally more accurate) numbers that could change in the weeks after the election; the other is volatile, but still official monthly numbers. From an accounting standpoint this would be flagged as a mistake. From a political standpoint, he is mixing and matching to present the best possible view. Walker presents it all as final and official, offering no cautionary notes or caveats — even though there are many. And Walker credits his policies for the improvement, which overstates the impact a governor can make on broad economic trends in a short period of time. There is clearly some truth to the numbers. But in mixing everything together and not making it clear these numbers are preliminary, Walker ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. That is our definition for Mostly False.” Whatever you do, don’t tell your editorial board.