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Jury awards Ventura $1.8 million in defamation case

Illustration by Ken Avidor

Now … to collect. Defying the wisdom of many experts, a St. Paul jury has given former Gov. Jesse Ventura a victory in his defamation suit. Randy Furst and James Walsh of the Strib report, “The jury awarded a total of $1.845 million: $500,000 in defamation damages and $1.345 million for ‘unjust enrichment’ — or to be specific, $1,345,477.25. Jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict, as instructed. Instead, with the consent of both sides, they voted 8 to 2 in Ventura’s favor.”

Says Adam Belz of the Strib, “Minneapolis is gentrifying as fast as any city in the country. Incomes are rising in Minneapolis neighborhoods at a faster pace than the city’s suburbs, according to an analysis of census data by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and the shift toward higher-income neighborhoods in the city has been more dramatic after the recession than in any U.S. metropolitan area other than Portland, Ore.” Soon we’ll all be gentry.

The Minnesota connection to west Africa’s ebola outbreak … . Amy Forliti of the AP reports, “Members of Minnesota’s sizeable Liberian community say an Ebola outbreak that has killed hundreds of people in West Africa, including a local woman’s husband, has them worrying about relatives and scrambling to raise money to help prevent the virus from spreading. ‘It is killing people like crazy,’ said Prudence McCabe, of Brooklyn Park.”

Quite likely related to Item 2. So where am I supposed to put the three SUVs, the boat and the trailer? Eric Roper of the Strib says Minneapolis may be getting tough(er) on new home sizes. “New rules tightening restrictions on the size of new single-family homes throughout the city are heading to the City Council after passing an advisory body unanimously on Monday night. The laundry list of zoning changes arrives months after the council passed and then lifted a controversial moratorium on home demolitions in southwest Minneapolis. While the moratorium was largely aimed at improving construction site problems, the new changes are intended to alleviate some resident concerns that new homes are dwarfing old ones.”

No problem, I’m sure … . Dan Gunderson of MPR says, “Flooding has uncovered three of seven Enbridge Corporation pipelines that cross the [Tamarack] river, pipes that largely carry crude oil from Canada across Minnesota. Although the pipelines generally are buried three to four feet below ground, in some places erosion has exposed them to the elements.”

With Paul McCartney due in town this Saturday, Jay Laxen of the St. Cloud Times gets some memories out of a guy who saw The Beatles at the Met in ‘65. “[10 year-old Bob] Pratt was tagging along with his father, then-KMSP-TV photo director Ken Pratt, on assignment covering a Beatles concert. Bob Pratt’s brother decided not to tag along and instead play with his neighbor’s new skateboard. As Pratt was waiting for his father, a man sat down next to him. ‘He said: ‘I’m John.’ ‘I know, you’re John Lennon,’ Pratt responded. ‘Lennon said back: ‘Oh, you’ve heard of me.’ “

The latest Minnesotans invited to the White House … . WCCO-TV says, “The White House named Ryan and Tiffany Batalden, of Lamberton, two of the ‘champions of change’ in America. They’re among 15 people being invited to Washington to discuss the next generation of farming and ranching in the U.S. … They grow organic corn, soybeans, oilseeds and small grains, but they may be best known for their popcorn business called Patriot Pops.” Is Monsanto among the 15?

Bill Salisbury of the PiPress puts together a story on the political fund-raising races. “Republican candidate for governor Scott Honour has raised almost twice as much money as his three rivals in the Aug. 12 GOP primary combined, and he has outspent all of them by a wide margin, according to campaign finance reports released Tuesday. … State Rep. Kurt Zellers came in second in the GOP fundraising race, followed by Republican-endorsed Jeff Johnson and former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert.”

David Farley of the Los Angeles Times gives himself a 30th anniversary of “Purple Rain” tour of the Twin Cities. “There are no witty cafes or shops referencing the diminutive genius, no plaques affixed to walls declaring that Prince had slept or eaten or recorded here, and no statues of him (though the city did erect one of Mary Tyler Moore on the Nicollet Mall downtown). But scratch the surface a little bit and Prince is everywhere in Minneapolis. From a chef I talked to at the buzzy restaurant Travail Kitchen & Amusements who was Prince’s private chef for two years to the friend of a friend who once was his hair stylist to the guy I met in a cafe who was convinced Prince is really not human.”

“Free” they say. Beloved sort-of hometown airline Delta will no longer charge for (heavily-edited) in-flight movies. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, “Delta said it will offer free entertainment on more than 1,000 of its planes, with more free movies, TV shows, music and video games than any other carrier. That includes entertainment on seat-back screens or streamed onto passengers’ own mobile devices via in-flight Wi-Fi.” How soon before the $50 overhead storage bin rental fee?                        

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 07/29/2014 - 02:43 pm.

    Ventura’s attorney

    made the point in his news conference that the money was not coming from the widow and orphans but from an insurance company. If that’s true, I’d bet that affected the jury’s decision.

  2. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 07/29/2014 - 03:28 pm.

    A couple of points..

    1. The rules of evidence likely wouldn’t allow the jury to know the source of the payment.

    2.. Just think, if Enbridge can get McFadden elected, they won’t have to worry about silly, needless regulations like burying pipelines.

  3. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 07/29/2014 - 08:37 pm.

    The money means nothing to Jesse.

    Now he can hit the talk show and try to rebuff his fading star.

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