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TV report: Archbishop Nienstedt, others under criminal investigation

Ciresi helps Kraft win case against Starbucks; ethanol industry strikes back at AP story; judge tosses stadium lawsuit; T’wolves reportedly ban “backpack” hazing; and more.

MinnPost photo by Rita Kovtun

At KSTP-TV, Jay Kolls is reporting: “Sources tell 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS officials at the Archdiocese are part of a criminal investigation by St. Paul Police, including Archbishop John Nienstedt and former Vicar-General Father Peter Laird. We are told the investigation, in part, involves possible child pornography on a computer used by former priest John Shelley. St. Paul Police closed their case into the child pornography when they could not find enough evidence to charge Shelley. But, sources tell KSTP, police are looking at ‘everything’ connected to the case, including possible obstruction of justice, failure to report possible sexual abuse as required by the state’s mandatory reporting statute and possible child endangerment.”

Score another (big) one for Mike Ciresi. Anne D’Innocenzio of the AP and Dave Phelps of the Strib report: “An arbitrator has concluded that Starbucks must pay $2.76 billion to settle a dispute with Kraft over coffee distribution. The two consumer products companies had been locked in a fight for three years after Starbucks Corp. fired Kraft as its distributor of packaged coffee to grocery chains. The arbitrator determined that Starbucks must pay $2.23 billion in damages and $527 million in interest, Starbucks and [Deerfield, Ill.-based Mondelez International] said Tuesday. The arbitrator will determine attorney’s fees later. Kraft was represented by Mike Ciresi, a well-known plaintiff’s attorney for the Minneapolis law firm of Robins Miller Kaplan & Ciresi.”

The AP might consider hiring Ciresi … The agency reports: “A new Associated Press investigation, which found that ethanol hasn’t lived up to some of the government’s clean-energy promises, is drawing a fierce response from the ethanol industry. In an unusual campaign, ethanol producers, corn growers and its lobbying and public relations firms have criticized and sought to alter the story, which was released to some outlets earlier and is being published online and in newspapers Tuesday. Their efforts, which began one week before the AP project was being published and broadcast, included distributing fill-in-the-blank letters to newspapers editors that call the AP’s report ‘rife with errors.’ Industry officials emailed newspapers and other media, referring to the AP’s report as a ‘smear,’ ‘hatchet job’ and ‘more dumpster fire than journalism.’ “

If that roasted chicken you bought from the street vendor looks a little odd … Liala Helal of MPR says: “A coop of about 35 racing pigeons was stolen from a St. Paul yard Monday night or early Tuesday morning, according to St. Paul Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Paul Paulos. The pigeons were valued at about $1,000. ‘There were two coops there, and the owner feels that they [thieves] must’ve known what they were doing because they did take the racing pigeons and left the other pigeons behind,’ Paulos said. The owner told police that he believes the pigeons will be used to breed other pigeons, or sold to other breeders.”

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It’s fait accompli, but still … Eric Roper of the Strib says: “A district court judge said Tuesday that the Vikings stadium deal would have triggered a city charter requirement to hold a public vote were it not for a state-sanctioned override of that provision. The ruling by Judge Philip Bush has little practical effect, but revisits an argument that knitted stadium opponents in 2012: That the deal violated a charter mandate that the city hold a referendum if it spends more than $10 million on a sports facility. The city attorney’s office issued a written opinion at the time saying that — even without a legislative override — the referendum wasn’t necessary because the sales taxes used for the stadium weren’t ‘city resources.’ Bush wrote in a memo … Tuesday that the funds were ‘city resources’ and the charter provision would have applied. The judge tossed a petition seeking a referendum on the deal, however, because the stadium legislation passed by the Legislature explicitly preempted the city charter.”

ESPN is saying that the Timberwolves have made it clear that frat house hazing (and worse) is not tolerated in their locker room: “Even the most lighthearted hazing has no place in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ locker room. At least that’s what the team has told rookie Shabazz Muhammad. Muhammad was given a Jonas Brothers backpack by his veteran teammates, but told the Los Angeles Times that team president Chris Wright and general manager Milt Newton told him he could no longer wear it. ‘They actually said they don’t want us carrying them, but I understand with the stuff going on with the football thing’, Muhammad told the Times. ‘They want to be separate from that. … Now I think rookie hazing won’t exist anymore.’ “

Tough neighborhood … Matt McKinney’s Strib story says: “WCCO morning news host Steve Murphy was robbed and assaulted while jogging to a South Minneapolis bus stop early last Thursday on his way to work, according to WCCO.com. Hospitalized with cuts to his face, the well-known radio personality has taken a leave from his job to recover.  Murphy, who usually runs the mile from home to the bus stop during his early morning commute, told WCCO that he was jogging at 2:30 a.m. when he saw a white SUV slowly following him. He said he took a different route, but the SUV caught up to him near the corner of E. 53rd St. and 13th Ave. S.  Several men got out of the SUV and pushed him facedown onto the sidewalk, taking his wallet.” Heal up, Steve.

A train station does need, you know … trains. Frederick Melo of the PiPress says: “Amtrak’s passenger rail service rolled a step closer to coming to downtown St. Paul, though it won’t happen for another few months. The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved a 20-year lease with Amtrak, which will begin passenger service through the Union Depot on St. Paul’s Kellogg Boulevard ‘in the first quarter of 2014,’ according to the agreement. … Amtrak had been expected to shutter its Twin Cities station on St. Paul’s Transfer Road and relocate to the Union Depot in late 2012. That never happened, but Amtrak and county officials have repeatedly said they’re confident the nation’s passenger rail provider will become one of the cavernous depot’s most visible tenants.”

If you ever wanted to visually ID the true believers … City Pages’ Aaron Rupar reports: “Vice Presidential candidate-turned-unintentional punchline Sarah Palin will be signing copies of her new book at the Mall of America’s Barnes & Noble store on Friday, November 22 from 6 until 8 p.m. The book, entitled ‘Good Tidings and Great Joy,’ explores ‘the traditional roots and true meaning of Christmas,’ according to a press release. In other words, it’s about one of the gravest threats confronting our civilization today — the ‘War on Christmas.’ A Time Magazine piece published today hits a few of the book’s ‘highlights’:

For readers who want classic Palin, have cheer. There are plenty of references to ‘dopey-hopey-changey things you hear from politicians,’ criticisms of the Lamestream Media, digs at ‘cultural elites,’ jokes about NPR-loving liberals, mentions of the ‘unfolding train wreck of Obamacare’ and even an allusion to death panels … A central trope in the book is Palin’s disgust and frustration at people saying ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas.’ While hitting on various points about the commercialization of the holiday (it’s good, it’s bad, it’s beside the point), she extolls businesses like Hobby Lobby that use religious imagery in advertisements and shames businesses like Target and Wal-Mart who have eschewed ­Christmas for more politically correct terms.”

I still hope she’s planning a Paul Revere book  …