Mark Andrew scolds Ordway for ‘dancing’ with the Koch brothers and Flint Hills

Mark Andrew
MinnPost file photo by Karen BorosMark Andrew

Mark Andrew, the former Hennepin County Commissioner who ran for Minneapolis mayor last year, takes a giant swing at the billionaire Koch brothers in a Star Tribune blog and ends up scolding the Ordway Center for Performing Arts.

In a community voices piece for the Star Tribune, Andrew lays out a pollution-loving, right-wing, political manipulation case against the billionaire brothers who own a stable of oil refining and production businesses, including Flint Hills Refinery on Hwy. 52, south of the Twin Cities.

He notes that they fund the annual Flint Hills International Children’s Festival at St.Paul’s Ordway, and calls it “the perfect halo under which the conglomerate might dwell for a few days, basking in the glow of delighted children whose lives are put at risk by their business and political actions.”

A Flint Hills official says the company supports numerous causes, like the festival, in an effort to be a good corporate citizen.

While Andrew lauds the Ordway’s mission and says: “Sally Ordway Irvine’s dream of bringing multi-cultural and arts variety to the stunning theatre that the family helped fund, is articulated in the flier advertising the Festival.”

But, he says those attending the  festival “won’t be asking why, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the Koch’s continue to imperil the very children whose skirts and trousers they hide behind this weekend.”

And he takes a shot at the St. Paul’s beloved arts organization: “The Ordway management, while not exactly dancing with the devil, are up close and personal with benefactors that are out of step with the spirit and magic that emanates from their stages.”

Andrew’s environmental marketing company, GreenMark, has counted Xcel Energy as a client, a fact that now-Mayor Betsy Hodges’ campaign criticized in the 2013 Minneapolis race.

Jake Reint, a Flint Hills spokesperson, has posted a response to Andrew’s blog:

“Mr. Andrew’s characterization of Flint Hills Resources, our parent company, and our long-time sponsorship of the Flint Hills International Children’s Festival is to say the least disappointing. Most troubling, however, is that Mr. Andrew’s comments do a tremendous disservice to the Ordway Center, their employees, and the many volunteers who work hard every year to bring the Children’s Festival to life. Thanks to their efforts, the Children’s Festival has become one of the top events of its kind in the world, delighting more than 50,000 people every year.

“Flint Hills supports numerous community causes like the Children’s Festival out of a commitment to being a good corporate citizen. Our employees are proud to call Minnesota home, and we want to do our part to contribute to all the things that make this such a special place to live and work. We are equally committed to making sure our refinery operations in Rosemount remain among the safest and cleanest in the country, which they are today. Mr. Andrew himself is well aware of this commitment. He and his promotional company GreenMark have approached us many times in the past about doing business together as a way to call attention to Flint Hills’ environmental accomplishments. It’s disappointing that he now finds our support for these community causes so objectionable.”

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