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Minneapolis looking at 6.5% property tax levy increase

Plus: More Feeding Our Future details emerge; an audit found no waste or fraud in $200 million in pandemic grants to health care providers; Reuters reports on what charges Mike Lindell is likely facing; and more.

South Minneapolis houses
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

Says Stribber Liz Navratil, “Minneapolis residents could face a property tax levy increase of up to 6.5% next year, though its impacts wouldn’t be felt evenly across the city, a disparity that concerns some members of the Board of Estimate & Taxation. In a split vote Wednesday, the six-member board cleared the way for officials to approve Mayor Jacob Frey’s proposed tax levy later this year. He will negotiate the figure with the City Council this fall, but in recent years the council has often adopted his recommendations. Board President Samantha Pree-Stinson and Vice President Steve Brandt — the two members elected directly to the board — voted instead to set the maximum property levy at a lower level, noting that North Side wards that have been historically marginalized and are home to many people of color are likely to see the biggest impact.”

At MPR News, Emily Bright and Megan Burks say, “ … the All Things Considered team wanted to take a step back and get a handle on how health systems in the state are doing financially at this phase of the pandemic. Sayeh Nikpay, a health economist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health’s Division of Health Policy and Management, joined the show Tuesday. … So we hear a lot of criticism about executive pay. How does that stack up from Minnesota health systems? So what we know from data on nonprofit hospitals is that when you compare the payments, on average, that a CEO gets to the wages that a non-college-educated hospital worker would get, on average across the nation, it’s about eight times [higher]. Whether that’s too much, too little, it really depends on on circumstances. But what I would say is that if you are a nurse and you are coming out of this period of intense stress and potentially dangerous work conditions, you would look at the performance of hospitals after the pandemic and think it seems reasonable that they should share in some of those gains. Because one thing that the research is telling us is that lots of hospitals ended up kind of where they were before the pandemic started. But there are some hospitals — including in the local Twin Cities market, the Minnesota market — that are actually doing better than they were before the pandemic started because of those unprecedented subsidies.”

For KSTP-TV Mia Laube reports, “A man is dead after a shooting involving Minneapolis police that resulted from a response to a 911-hang-up call around 5:30 Tuesday night, the department said in a press release early Wednesday morning. Minneapolis police say 2nd Precinct officers went to a home on the 3400 block of Fifth Street Northeast after a 911 caller hung up on dispatch. Officers attempted to communicate through a window with people inside the home, and were directed to the back of the home. Police say officers went through an unlocked back door, announced their presence, then heard ‘cries of distress’. Then, police say a man confronted one of the officers with a gun, prompting an exchange of gunfire. It is unclear at this time who fired first, or how long the gunfire lasted.”

In The Minnesota Reformer Deena Winter writes, “A former senior policy aide to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and former chair of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority — appointed by Frey — were among the 48 people charged Tuesday in connection with what feds say was a scheme to defraud the government — and needy children — of 125 million meals. Those are just the two most high-profile instances of the alleged fraud’s tentacles reaching deep into the city’s elite political circles.  In a statement to the Reformer, the mayor’s office said, ‘We are grateful to U.S. Attorney (Andy) Luger for his work on this case. The allegations are appalling.’”

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Stribber Kelly Smith reports, “Tears welled in Hanna Marekegn’s eyes as she said her catering business had crumbled financially because she refused to give a $150,000 kickback to Feeding Our Future, the nonprofit that she said demanded the money in return for facilitating federal reimbursements for feeding needy children. ‘I got terminated because I was asked to give a kickback and I refused to give the kickback,’ Marekegn said in a February interview with the Star Tribune, adding that she couldn’t document it because it was a verbal request. Marekegn, who owns Brava Cafe in Minneapolis, said a Feeding Our Future employee asked her for the kickback to ‘just do like everyone else is doing.’ But when she refused, the St. Anthony nonprofit’s leader, Aimee Bock, then accused her of fraud and overbilling and stopped working with her.”

At KMSP-TV Theo Keith says, “An audit of $200 million in grants doled out to health care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic found weaknesses in Minnesota’s processes but identified no waste or fraud. The Office of the Legislative Auditor’s report released Wednesday shows the Minnesota Department of Health generally had adequate controls over the grants. But the agency failed to consistently document conflict of interest disclosures, how it evaluated grant requests, or how it complied with state requirements, auditors found. And health officials didn’t always claw back unspent funds from grant recipients.”

A Reuters story by Susan Lynch says, “Mike Lindell, the My Pillow Inc chief executive and ally to former President Donald Trump, is under U.S. federal investigation for identity theft and for conspiring to damage a protected computer connected to a suspected voting equipment security breach in Colorado. The new details about the focus of the investigation were confirmed on Wednesday after Lindell’s attorneys uploaded a copy of a search and seizure warrant approved by U.S. Magistrate Judge Tony Leung for Minnesota federal court on Sept. 7.”

At Talking Points Memo Christina Cabrera says, “Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who led his state’s sham 2020 election audit and failed to find any voter fraud whatsoever, urged fellow conservatives to carry out a ‘revolution’ earlier this month. Gableman made the push as he was giving a speech at a GOP Outagamie County dinner on Sept. 9, as shown in a video published by liberal activist Lauren Windsor. ‘For the first time in my life, I am beginning to wonder if America’s best days are behind us,’ he said. The ex-justice asserted that Americans’ ‘comfort’ is ‘holding us back from taking the action that is necessary.’ ‘It’s a beautiful world. But it’s that very comfort that is keeping us from what our founders knew to be the only way to keep an honest government, which is revolution,’ Gableman said.”

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