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$83 million — so far — for attorneys, accountants in Petters clean-up

FEMA poised to assess water damage; food-stamp rumor persists; struck by lightning and star struck; much is riding on Hobby Lobby; proposed rail line to Duluth still on track; and more.

Tom Petters
Photo by Bill KelleyTom Petters

Tom Petters is still making money … for attorneys and accountants. Says Dave Phelps in the Strib, “As the multibillion-dollar scheme led by Tom Petters approaches its sixth anniversary, the meter is still running for the lawyers and accountants sorting through the corporate empire created by the former Wayzata businessman, and the array of creditors and investors who did business with him. More than $83 million has been paid to the lawyers and accountants working on the Petters bankruptcy after a federal bankruptcy judge last week approved $3.5 million for another stretch of legal work.”

FEMA is coming in … . The Strib’s Jim Adams and Pat Pheifer say, “… Sunday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar said the Federal Emergency Management Agency will begin to compile its preliminary damage assessment on Tuesday to start the process of bringing federal help to state and counties with public infrastructure damage. Speaking from a damp Harriet Island in St. Paul, Klobuchar said FEMA’s assessment will take about a week.”

MPR’s Laura Yuen tells us a lot of Latino immigrants are reluctant to get involved with the food stamp program. “Many eligible immigrants, skeptical of food stamps, live with a very specific fear: ‘That once their children turn 18, they will have to pay [the government] everything they received, which is not true,’ Real said. ‘But we’ve heard it everywhere.'” I’ve also heard that guns don’t kill people.

In the PiPress Christopher Snowbeck compares two struggling state health care websites. “Maryland decided this spring to pull the plug on its health insurance exchange website and instead use a system developed by the state of Connecticut. The decision followed a judgment that the Maryland system ‘remains deeply flawed,’ according to a March report. But in Minnesota, officials have decided to stay the course — at least for the short term.”

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Points for sheer damned toughness … or something. The AP story says, “A Minnesota man was struck by lightning Friday, but that wasn’t enough to keep him from attending Country Fest in Wisconsin on Saturday. Gage Stroening … had special passes to see performer Randy Houser, and he wasn’t going to settle for missing the show. … Doctors told him to take it easy, but he said wasn’t missing Country Fest in Cadott. He said it hurts to walk, but he was definitely getting to the show.”

Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Hobby Lobby suit has a lot of Minnesota impact. For the Strib, Tom Steward says, “Did you know Minnesota has more cases than almost any state riding on the outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case coming out on Monday? That’s what I thought. For-profit Minnesota employers have received 8 out of 35 temporary injunctions granted by federal courts to businesses across the country under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

Choose your side … . Mark Steil of MPR writes, “Starting on Tuesday, most diesel fuel sold in Minnesota will contain 10 percent biodiesel, which is double the current portion. The move is opposed by the trucking industry but supported by soybean farmers — who grow the raw material used to make the biodiesel.”

Never mind Eden Prairie. Get me to Duluth, and fast. Stribber Paul Levy says, “Estimated project costs have tripled, corridor counties have defected and key proponents were politically ousted. Yet, the proposed $1 billion passenger-rail line from Minneapolis to Duluth remains on track for federal funding that could cover 80 percent of the project’s expenses, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.”

Better late than never … . Paul Levy of the Strib reports, “… as [John] LaDue spends his days in a Red Wing state juvenile facility awaiting trial on charges including attempted murder, his parents and attorney say they believe he’s not getting the kind of mental health treatment he needs and wants. … LaDue’s parents said a counselor has been seeing their son in the facility, but often for only a few minutes and less often in recent weeks.”