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State Board of Investment votes against Medtronic deal

Wikimedia Commons/Bobak Ha'Eri
Medtronic HQ

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.”

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Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by E Gamauf on 01/06/2015 - 07:50 am.

    Mingling Lessons

    The lesson in all this:

    Its GOOD to be Treasurer!

  2. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 01/06/2015 - 09:00 am.

    Dick Durbin had it about right…

    …when he said:

    “When corporations choose to invert and don’t pay their fair share of taxes, they leave the rest of us to pick up the tab. That isn’t right,” Durbin said. “Today, the Obama Administration put these corporate tax deserters on notice: we are not going to stand by while they game the tax code and avoid their responsibility to our country. Now, Congress must follow suit by taking up a legislative solution to crack down on companies that are renouncing their corporate citizenship and turning their back on American taxpayers.”

    Medtronic is a corporation feasting on the benefits of American location and an American market – while doing all they can to avoid the responsibilities of an American company. That local paper writer can call it an American company all he wants, but it ain’t so.

  3. Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 01/06/2015 - 10:07 am.

    Who do you call?

    My question is this:

    When Medtronic’s systems get hacked, or their intellectual property is otherwise stolen and misappropriated, who do they call? The FBI or Irish National Police? Wanna guess?

    We know who Sony Pictures turned to (albeit a US company but a subsidiary of Japan’s Sony).

  4. Submitted by Joe Smithers on 01/06/2015 - 11:16 am.

    Healthy kids

    The nutritional rules shouldn’t be scrapped because healthy food is more expensive but they should be scrapped because most kids are not getting enough to eat at school thanks to MO.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 01/06/2015 - 01:13 pm.

      You’re accusing Michelle Obama

      of starving America’s school children? Obama Derangement Syndrome continues….

      • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 01/08/2015 - 09:33 am.


        I don’t know any school boards that don’t blame her for the nutritional rules. As far as I know the rules were her idea to combat obesity. While some kids predisposed to obesity may benefit there are many others who suffer from a lack of food because of the rules. One size does not always fit all. If not her then who do you think is responsible for the nutritional rules? I’ve never heard anyone but her as being responsible for the rules.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 01/06/2015 - 01:15 pm.


      Nuts to Missouri!

  5. Submitted by Richard O'Neil on 01/06/2015 - 02:38 pm.

    Minnesota State Fire Department Association – “Swindle”

    The “Association” was negligent by not having an annual audit or at least a review of their financial management controls. I am wondering whether they carried some form of insurance to cover this loss.

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