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3 Hooligans ‘business wunderkind’ faces fraud charges

Special session Friday; Willmar crash driver out on bail; Gauthier staying in; WSP council member makes headlines again; and more.

With a name like 3 Hooligans — for an investment firm — what did you expect? The Strib’s fraud guy, Dan Browning, writes: “Jason Michael Meyer has presented himself in promotional materials as a business wunderkind. He describes himself as a passionate marketer, a producer of elite concerts and public events, the president of ‘nine companies worldwide,’ and a veteran in commercial real estate development with a master’s in business administration from the University of Wisconsin. But Meyer, 35, has been dogged with fraud allegations for years, piling up judgments around the country in excess of $20 million. Federal prosecutors added felony criminal charges to the pile, indicating that a plea bargain may soon follow.” Apparently there’s a lot of people out there for whom “due diligence” is an alien concept.

Let’s see if they can do something productive this time around … A disaster relief special session has been scheduled for Friday. Don Davis’ Forum papers story says: “Minnesota legislators will return to St. Paul on Friday to approve $168 million in disaster relief for floods and other storm damage — largely in the Northland — in June and July. An agreement Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders signed at 11:27 a.m. today allows no other action during the session, which must end by 7 a.m. Saturday.
The cost is down from about $190 million Dayton originally proposed, but he and his staff said much of that difference is because legislative and administration negotiators found funds not spent on previous projects that can be used for disaster relief. The most money, $79 million, would go to repair roads.”

Tom Dennis with the Grand Forks Herald says Minnesota should reform its whole disaster-budgeting process: “[H]ere’s an idea that would reduce exactly this kind of uncertainty and last-minute politicking the next time around: Lawmakers should pass the suggestions of the legislative auditor, who recently offered a list of sensible and realistic reforms that would improve Minnesota’s approach to disaster aid. The March report by the Office of the Legislative Auditor was highlighted this week by an unlikely source: Phil Krinkie, president of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota. The League is famous for its fiscal conservatism and might have been expected to call for ending disaster relief altogether. But Krinkie’s most recent column doesn’t go there. Instead, the former Republican state legislator recounts the report’s findings and supports its recommendations.”

The driver in that terrible crash near Willmar last week is out on bail. The AP says: “Paul Wickenhauser, 21, is out on $50,000 bond and is being electronically monitored. The State Patrol says Wickenhauser was driving a pickup on U.S. Highway 12 near Willmar on Friday night, Aug. 17, crossed the center line and struck a minivan. The minivan traveled into the ditch and caught fire. The Cokato man is charged with criminal vehicular homicide. Michelle Hoffman, of Eden Prairie, her 8-year-old daughter, Julia, and mother-in-law, Marta Stoffers, of Atwater, died in the crash. KSTP-TV reported that 5-year-old Jason Hoffman, the only survivor, is expected to be released from the hospital this week.”

A local defense attorney has been slapped with a 60-day suspension for some funky investigative work. At the PiPress, Emily Gurnon writes: “Criminal defense attorney David L. McCormick has been suspended from the practice of law for 60 days for his conduct during a Ramsey County homicide trial. McCormick, 45, of Minneapolis, was suspended in a Wednesday, Aug. 22, ruling of the Minnesota Supreme Court. ‘I was trying to do the right thing and got hooked for it,’ McCormick said Wednesday. … During the trial, McCormick instructed his investigator to interview a co-defendant of Sherman’s without getting permission from the man’s attorney.”

Both Todd Akin and Kerry Gauthier are going to try and tough it out. The AP story says: “A Minnesota state lawmaker who police say had a rest-stop liaison with a 17-year-old boy said Wednesday he won’t drop his re-election bid, a Duluth news network reported. Rep. Kerry Gauthier, a 56-year-old Democrat, told Northland’s NewsCenter in Duluth he won’t drop out despite pressure from his own party to do so. Gauthier said he still feels he’s the best person to represent the district, the network reported Wednesday.”

MPR’s Tom Scheck posts official comments from DFL honchos: “House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, issued a statement criticizing Gauthier’s decision. ‘Rep. Gauthier’s conduct last month was clearly beneath what’s expected of an elected official,’ Thissen wrote. ‘I do not support his decision to continue his re-election effort and the House DFL Caucus will not be supporting his campaign.’ Minnesota DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin also weighed in with a statement. ‘The Minnesota DFL Party does not support Kerry Gauthier’s decision to seek re-election,’ Martin wrote. ‘We have repeatedly asked Gauthier to end his campaign and give Duluth DFLers a chance to choose a new candidate they can unite behind. Gauthier’s conduct was inexcusable and he has lost the public trust. He should exit the race immediately. He will receive no assistance from the state DFL Party.’ “

And in another incident involving someone who you’d think would know better … Nick Ferraro of the PiPress writes: “West St. Paul City Council member Ed Hansen has been charged with gross misdemeanor misconduct by a public official and misdemeanor disorderly conduct. The allegations, detailed in charges filed this week in Dakota County District Court, first came to light last month after complaints that Hansen was aggressive toward a contractor and a real-estate agent who were working near Hansen’s house. … Hansen, a first-term council member elected in 2010, is perhaps best known for flying a Confederate flag at his Felix Street home earlier this year. He removed it after pressure from residents and fellow council members. Hansen, 42, is accused in the criminal complaint of aggressively approaching a contractor of a house being built next to his under a 2011 agreement between the developer and the city’s economic development authority.”

The Current’s Andrea Swensson — who I suspect wasn’t born when “Blonde on Blonde” came out — took in Bob Dylan’s show in Rochester last night. She says: “These days, when a fan goes to see Dylan they mostly know what to expect — the growly, croaking voice that may or may not hold a tune, the rollicking juke joint band that gives every classic song into a similar-sounding jaunty blues-rock feel. In that regard, there were few surprises last night, as Dylan and his crew worked through a set list heavy on the hits. But what was surprising was the visible joy Dylan exhibited as he trotted around on stage, beginning “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” on a standing electronic keyboard and then transitioning to a baby grand piano … Some of my favorite points in the night were when Dylan would wander back and forth between the piano and center stage — he wears shiny little heeled boots that give him an almost Prince-like, shuffling gait — and he seemed most animated during the climax of ‘Ballad of a Thin Man,’ when he prowled around the stage, hunched over as he blew a fiery solo into his harmonica.”