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Brodkorb secret recordings leaked

Downtown East plan advances; E. Coli in Lake Minnetonka; safety deposit box auction; tax implications of gay marriage; and more.

Shades of Richard Nixon… Tom Lyden of KMSP-TV reports: “Although his former colleagues did not know it, Michael Brodkorb recorded the moment the axe came down, ending his employment with the Minnesota Senate. FOX 9 News has obtained exclusive access to the files. The tapes could play a key role in the federal lawsuit currently working its way through the courts. … Brodkorb had been invited to the bar by Kevin Matzek, an old friend and the interim chief of staff.”

‘What are you hearing? What do you know’? Matzek asked.

‘I don’t know’, Brodkorb responds. ‘You were the one who called the meeting’.

‘Look, I don’t want to be confrontational’, Matzek begins.

The tension was understandable. Just 48 hours earlier, Koch had resigned and four male senators had gone before the cameras to say she had an inappropriate relationship with an unnamed staffer.

Brodkorb believes his name was intentionally leaked.

‘Look who just walked in’, he said in the recording.

Suddenly, an uninvited guest appeared: Secretary of the Senate Cal Ludeman.

‘I know you’re surprised to see me’, he said. … .

And then there’s the phone recording with GOP Sen. Michelle Fischbach…

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It was “unanimous,” again… Eric Roper of the Strib reports: “A plan to dramatically alter the eastern edge of downtown Minneapolis through a mix of private and public development took a major step forward Friday when the Minneapolis City Council approved its basic elements. The unanimous vote comes roughly two months after city leaders unveiled the proposal to build a mixed-use development, parking lot and large public park on land adjacent to the new Vikings stadium. The deal, worth an estimated $400 million, relies on the purchase of five blocks currently owned by the Star Tribune. … The terms of the Star Tribune’s sale to Ryan have not been disclosed, but a city development official said Friday that the average price per square foot is about $71. That makes the 12.5-acre plot of land worth about $38.6 million. The Star Tribune declined to comment through a spokesman.” …always my favorite part of those stories.

A few cases of E. Coli illness cropped up from swimming in Lake Minnetonka on July 4.  Colleen Stoxen of the Strib says: “Three cases of E. coli O157:H7 illness in Minnesotans have been linked to swimming in the Big Island area of Lake Minnetonka, state health officials reported. The illnesses occurred in young adults, and all are residents of the seven-county metropolitan area. One of the cases was hospitalized but has since recovered. All of the cases reported swimming and boating on July 4 in the Big Island area of Lake Minnetonka, where numerous boaters are known to gather. Officials aren’t yet certain of the source of the E. coli, but lakes can be contaminated by animal waste, individual septic systems or sewage spills, improper boat waste disposal or ill swimmers.”

Save the date… The St. Cloud Times reports: “The Minnesota Department of Commerce has scheduled an auction for July 25–26 in Minnetonka for unclaimed contents of safety deposit boxes. Some of the items available include rare and vintage coins, a Babe Ruth baseball, historic Civil War documents, Rolex watches and a collection from international modernism artist Jenny de Bloot. The abandoned keepsakes will be auctioned off beginning at 8:30 a.m. July 25 and 26 in a ballroom of the Sheraton Minneapolis West Hotel, 12201 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka.” Someone should tell Denny Hecker about the Rolexes.

The tax end of gay marriage will not be clear for a while longer. The AP says: “Minnesota gay couples preparing to get married after it becomes legal next month will have to wait a bit longer for guidance on their income taxes. The state Department of Revenue served notice Thursday that it is awaiting further word from the Internal Revenue Service on how same-sex married couples should make federal tax calculations. Those determinations will in turn have an effect on state tax obligations.”

The GleanShades of Sully Sullenberger… Molly Montag of the Sioux City Journal reports: “A man injured when his truck hit geese flying across the road near Hospers, Iowa, was hospitalized Thursday. Brian Nielsen, 33, of Fulda, Minn., drove through a flock of geese with a 2008 Ford F-250 pickup on Highway 60 two miles north of Hospers, according to the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office. … Nielsen had minor injuries. He was taken by private vehicle to a hospital in Worthington, Minn. Deputies say the truck had approximately $3,000 damage.”

If you love national park concessions, you’ll love this. Says Steve Alexander of the Strib: “Aramark, a Philadelphia food services and uniforms conglomerate, has been winnowed from six contenders to negotiate for the food and beverage service rights in the new, $975 million Vikings stadium that will be built in Minneapolis starting next year. Aramark, which has more than 250,000 employees worldwide and provides food and beverage services for 13 of the 32 National Football League teams, is in talks with the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority and the Vikings.”

Met Council Chair Sue Haigh was on MPR’s “Daily Circuit” today and had some things to say about the routing of the planned Southwest LRT. “Haigh signaled Friday that she may be leaning in favor of a light rail route that would spare homes and a football field in St. Louis Park. … The council is considering eight different alternatives to accommodate the freight line. Two of them would move freight trains into occupied land in St. Louis Park, requiring the removal of homes and possibly an athletic field at St. Louis Park High School. That possibility has stirred strong opposition in St. Louis Park. Other alternatives would allow freight, light rail and the Kenilworth Bike Trail to coexist in a single corridor, or would require moving only the bike trail. Two options would dig tunnels for the LRT line — one shallow, one deep and much more expensive. It was the shallow tunnel that Haigh singled out during the interview. ‘I think one of the most promising ones is the Kenilworth shallow tunnel alternative,’ she said.”

Meanwhile, in St. Paul… Martin Moylan of MPR detects signs of rebirth along the Central Line LRT. “Once the Green Line light rail cars start running next year between Minneapolis and St. Paul and bring tens of thousands of people past her door on University Avenue, Ni Dao hopes business will be stronger for her Ha Tien BBQ and Deli. It’s the kind of optimism shared by other businesses along the busy thoroughfare that’s been clogged by construction crews since 2011. … The Metropolitan Council says the light rail line between St. Paul and Minneapolis is 94 percent complete and should open by July of next year, in time for Major League Baseball’s All-Star game at Target field. Meanwhile, the Council has been funding a $1 million campaign to encourage people to patronize University Avenue businesses through ads on billboards as the sides of Metro Transit buses.”

Oh, good God… Aaron Rupar at City Pages reports: “An arbitrator has upheld the firing of Maplewood police officer Kevin Coffey, a 10-year veteran of the force who lost his job for creepily flirting with and harassing a 19-year-old he met on-duty last summer. … Here, from the arbitrator’s ruling, is the city’s version of events:

On August 27, 2012, a 19 year-old woman called the Maplewood Police Department because a man threw a rock at her car. At approximately 8 p.m. the Maplewood Police Department dispatched Officer Kevin Coffey to take her criminal damage to property report. The complainant had never met Officer Coffey. While Officer Coffey was taking the report, the complainant referred to the male who had thrown rock as ‘Pussy Boy’. While Officer Coffey continued to take the complaint, Officer Coffey contends, the complainant told him that she thought he was good looking. By Officer Coffey’s own testimony, ‘the conversation became flirtatious’ … ‘The two discussed the possibility of going on a date to a casino, and [the complainant] volunteered that she could arrange to get a free hotel room at the Grand Casino in Hinckley’…. ‘Mr. Coffey and [the complainant] also talked about [the] possibility [of] having sex’. … Mr. Coffey ‘began talking to complainant about matters of a personal sexual nature. [Mr. Coffey] told complainant that with her body and attitude she should be become a stripper and he would like the first dance. Complainant had no interest in [Mr. Coffey] and his advances had upset her and made her feel uncomfortable’.”