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Zygi Wilf complains of ‘anti-wealth bias’

Lottery ready to sell Internet scratch-offs; bad quarter for Imation; ex-legislator to sue over new Senate building; GOP slave-auction image draws fire; stolen gopher-feet case; LRT damage uncompensated; and more.

Under the heading of “He didn’t really say that, did he?” Mike Kaszuba of the Strib reports “Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said there is an ‘anti-wealth bias’ behind efforts to force him and his family to disclose their net worth, according to new documents released Wednesday in a civil case in New Jersey. The family’s legal team, in a 21-page legal memorandum, presented their most detailed legal reasoning of why the Wilfs’ net worth should not be made public, saying that doing so was not supported by New Jersey law and that rulings by other courts across the country had routinely kept net worth private. … The Wilf’s acknowledged in the newly-released court documents that ‘being wealthy provides them with some business advantages,’ but added that ‘none of the Wilfs is seeking special treatment.’ ” The super-rich … still not catching a break in this country.

NOT … let the record show … pulltabs … Tim Nelson at MPR says: “Minnesotans will soon be able to scratch-off lottery tickets with a click of their mouse. The state lottery is poised to start selling the well-known games over the Internet. Lottery officials say they need to stay competitive, but critics fear what could happen if the state begins to rely on Internet gambling. The Minnesota State Lottery is doing a pretty brisk business, with sales up 4 percent — or $40 million — over last year, lottery director Ed Van Petten said. But there’s a problem: the number of young players dropped by nearly half between 2003 and 2012, according to state lottery research.” Exactly. You gotta snag ’em when they’re young. Think: Scratch-off school-lunch milk cartons.

Not good … Annie Baxter of MPR says: “Imation Corp. lost money in the third quarter of the year and is selling off business units. The Oakdale, Minn.-based company posted a $35 million net loss on revenue that fell about 16 percent compared to the same period last year. Imation is known for selling optical disks and magnetic tape for data storage. But now it’s shifting gears and focusing on high-security data storage and helping organizations reduce storage costs. Imation is struggling but not dead, said Eric Martinuzzi, a senior research analyst with Lake Street Capital Markets.”

Apparently the politics of obstruction extends even to … construction. Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib says: “A new office building for the Minnesota Senate survived legislative battles this year but may now enter a legal war. Prominent conservative attorney Erick Kaardal said in an email that he and former state Rep. Jim Knoblach will hold a press conference on Thursday to announce a lawsuit to stop the planned building’s construction. Knoblach, a Republican from St. Cloud who ran for congress in 2006, ‘will be filing a lawsuit for a court injunction to prevent the design and construction of the new $90,000,000 state senate office building just north of the Capitol building,’ an email from Kaardal’s office said. … The suit will focus on the fact that the building’s approval was in a tax bill, not a bonding bill, Kaardal said on Wednesday.”

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Also from Stassen-Berger, a story on a not-so-light touch … on Facebook: “The Chisago County Republican Party sparked a firestorm of criticism on Wednesday for posting an image of a slave auction and the message: ‘Pro Choice; Against Slavery? Don’t buy one.’ The posting drew national attention and wide condemnation and came at a time when the Minnesota Republican Party has worked to diversify its ranks. In reaction to the storm, Republican Party Chairman Keith Downey said on Twitter: ‘Slavery is morally reprehensible as was Democrat support at the time, but this is the WRONG way to make the point.’ … Minnesota Republican Party secretary Chris Fields said in an interview that he found ‘absolutely nothing offensive about that (Facebook) post.’ Fields said that as an African American man he finds slavery reprehensible but saw the post as a reminder that the Republican Party started as an abolitionist party, at a time when Democrats supported slavery.” Did someone call Keith Ellison for a reaction to Mr. Fields?

Stolen … what? The AP reports: “A Minnesota mother and her 19-year-old son have pleaded guilty in a stolen frozen gopher feet case. Thirty-seven-year-old Tina Marie Garrison and her son, Junior Lee Dillon, both of Preston, pleaded guilty Monday to gross misdemeanor receiving stolen property. The two were accused of stealing nearly $5,000 in frozen gopher feet from a freezer in Granger and selling them to Harmony Township for a $3 per pair bounty.” Sounds like an episode of those swamp-character reality shows.

Strib endorsement watch: “Twelfth Ward: One aspect of [Ben] Gisselman’s record gave us pause, too. He ran up extensive business and personal debts between 2006 and 2009, and was the subject of court orders to pay a total of $55,000 to his creditors. All but $17,000 of that debt has been repaid as specified in a negotiated schedule, he told the Star Tribune Editorial Board. To his credit, he declined to seek bankruptcy protection, opting to pay the full amount owed. The episode taught him a painful lesson about financial prudence and personal responsibility, he says. He’s asking voters in the 12th Ward to trust that he has learned those lessons well enough to apply them to the city’s budget. Given the alternatives, we think voters should take that chance. … 13th Ward: Voters in the city’s southwest corner have it good — and not just because of the area’s storybook lakes and charm. They also have three outstanding candidates vying to succeed Betsy Hodges, who is leaving the City Council after two terms to run for mayor. No matter the winner, the ward and city stand to be served well by the new council member from the 13th.  Narrowly, on the strength of his deep familiarity with city finances, we prefer Matt Perry over Linea Palmisano and Missy Durant.”

Speaking of Strib endorsements … Aaron Rupar at City Pages can’t understand the paper going for Meg Tuthill in the 10th Ward race, saying on Wednesday: “During her single term on the council, Tuthill has come under fire not just for the way she handled losing the DFL endorsement, but also for hating on patios and for being rude to prospective business owners. Nonetheless, today, the Star Tribune officially gave its much-sought-after endorsement to her (read the editorial here). Why did the Strib’s editorial board decide to back Tuthill, you ask? Because she’s ‘offering Uptown residents an often underappreciated asset — City Council seniority, and the experience and clout that go with it,’ the second paragraph of the editorial says. Again, Tuthill, first elected in 2009, has served exactly one term on the council. In other words, she’s not exactly the Chuck Grassley of Minneapolis politics.”

Rattled and shaken … Frederick Melo of the PiPress says: “When the jackhammering started next to Marty’s Second Hand Store, Gilbert Marty’s basement saw sunlight for the first time. ‘There’s gaps at that end, a lot of debris falling. Tenants upstairs reported panes of window glass falling out,’ said his son, Todd Marty. The decades-old secondhand-goods shop at 935 W. University Ave. is one of several businesses along the Central Corridor light-rail line to claim that general contractor Walsh Construction caused cracks last year in basement foundations, holes in exterior stucco, broken windows and spaces around doorframes. About a dozen other small businesses in and around the 900 block of University Avenue filed claims last year with the Metropolitan Council, which were forwarded to Walsh, the general contractor on the new light-rail line. And like Marty’s, they have yet to see a penny for alleged damages.”