Small, but significant. The Strib’s Joe Carlson reports, “The promise of 1,000 new Minnesota jobs was not enough to persuade the state’s investment board to support a $48 billion corporate transaction that will move Medtronic Inc.’s legal headquarters overseas. A four-member subcommittee of the State Board of Investment (SBI) decided Friday morning not to vote when shareholders are asked Tuesday to approve Medtronic’s acquisition of Irish health care supplier Covidien PLC. Critics on the state investment board said they were concerned that the deal, which is widely expected to be approved by shareholders, will help the Fridley-based medical-device company avoid taxes while providing ‘preferential’ tax perks to executives.”
The paper’s business columnist, Lee Schafer, also gives the deal a thumbs down. “The right way to vote on the Medtronic deal is still no. … After more than six months of thinking about it, I can’t approve of a transaction that transplants an American company in Ireland for tax reasons. There’s no denying that Medtronic is an American company, either. It grew into a global giant because of access to the American capital markets, access to dynamic markets here for its products and access to American intellectual capital. Even more fundamental, however, is the basic unfairness of a transaction structure that’s really only available to the top tier of corporations.” Bleepin’ hippie.
Today’s top swindle. From MPR: “A former treasurer stands accused of using funds from the Minnesota State Fire Department Association for personal expenses including online dating fees and a vacation in Mexico. A Ramsey County prosecutor charged Anthony Bronk, 42, with stealing a total of $188,000 from 2010 to 2014 from the MSFDA, according to a statement Monday from the attorney’s office. Bronk also was charged with trying to pass thousands of dollars in forged checks. … Bronk, of Hugo, used a credit card from the Minnesota State Fire Department Association to pay for ‘all-inclusive vacations to Cozumel, Mexico,’ his BMW’s maintenance and membership fees to dating sites such as eHarmony and Christian Mingle.” It’s right there in the story. I’m not making that up.
All you need to know about what’s on the other side of your wall: From MPR’s Paul Huttner we learn, “-15 degrees: coldest temperature at MSP during this week’s cold wave expected Wednesday morning.”
The Strib’s Brandon Stahl reports on a fight the paper has taken to the Supreme Court. “In a hearing Monday, several justices of the Minnesota Supreme Court criticized the Star Tribune’s arguments that a state-created insurance agency should open its records to the public. An effort by the Star Tribune to obtain records from the Minnesota Joint Underwriting Association (MJUA) has turned into a two-year legal battle that has reached the state’s highest court. The outcome could have major implications for the public’s access to records held by government-created entities that operate like a business or nonprofit.”
Before you eat that sandwich, Mike Hughlett of the Strib says, “A southwestern Minnesota hen-slaughtering plant is the target of an undercover sting alleging inhumane treatment of animals, a claim the chicken company adamantly denies. On Monday, the Humane Society of the United States unveiled results of its investigation of Butterfield Foods, a company about 45 miles southwest of Mankato that processes hens no longer useful for egg laying. Many birds were ineffectively stunned before being killed, while others were still alive while being put into a tank of scalding water used in the de-feathering process.”
The Think-Off has commenced. The Fergus Falls Daily Journal says, “The Minnesota-based Great American Think-Off has released the philosophy question for its 23rd annual essay competition. Individuals nationwide are invited to participate in the 2015 national debate by submitting a well-crafted essay arguing their position on the question, ‘Does technology free us or trap us?’ The Cultural Center, located in the northwestern Minnesota farm and manufacturing town of New York Mills, sponsors this annual philosophy contest and encourages people of all ages to submit an essay of no more than 750 words for a chance to win one of four $500 cash prizes.” My bet for the last words spoken on this planet: “It worked!”
How much longer do we have to put up with this guy? Marino Eccher of the PiPress reports, “Just ahead of the trial for Officer Scott Patrick’s accused killer, prosecutors claim the defendant conspired from his prison cell to commit murder and tamper with a witness. The new allegations against Brian Fitch Sr. were described in a brief court filing Monday that offered few further details. … Should Fitch be convicted in Patrick’s death, any new charges will have little practical effect on him because he’ll be sentenced automatically to life in prison without parole.”
City Pages is like a doberman with a rabid clamp on Rep. John Kline’s leg. In his latest, Corey Zurowski writes, “Congressman John Kline, whose political coffers enjoy $75,000 in sweetener from cereal heavyweight General Mills, thinks the diets of America’s school children need more fat, salt, and sugar. The seven-term GOP congressman from the southern suburbs is leading the charge to gut nutritional rules aimed at providing healthier meals during the school day. … Since healthier food tends to be more expensive than junk food, Kline believes kids should take a backseat to the bottom line. It also doesn’t hurt that the some of the biggest sugar daddies on Capitol Hill — i.e. General Mills, maker of nutritional goodness like Lucky Charms and Count Chocula — don’t like being iced out of the school market. So they’ve been lathering Congress with the most sustentative fruit of all — cash — to convince members that healthy kids aren’t really that important after all.”