Lennie Chism, who was defeated soundly and overwhelmingly in his bid for a city council seat in the Fifth Ward, and who is also dealing with charges involving an altercation with his mistress, listed 2519 Emerson Ave. N. as his place of residence during the campaign. Information now in my hands reveals Lennie did not live at that address for a substantial part of the campaign--if ANY of it--and, in fact, the house was being offered for rent without a rental license.
For the record, JNS blog was in possession of this information--or most of it--prior to Election Day. However, I could not get verification or permission from my source to use the info on my blog until the election was over. Lennie ran his race and came in dead last.
Anyway, here's the deal.
Very little activity was noted at the house...
...and, for a long time, a phone book sat moldering on the porch. Yes, I know I've said a lot of harsh things about phone book dumping by Dex and other companies, but sometimes--though rarely--you can glean useful information based on the presence of a rotting phone book. In this case, there just didn't seem to be much activity at the house. But one day, a FOR RENT sign appeared out front.
As is often the case when FOR RENT signs appear in North Minneapolis, eagle-eyed neighborhood activists called 311 immediately to check if there was a rental license. Would-be Northside slum lords may want to take note of that fact. I'm just saying. In this case, Lennie Chism had no rental license at that time.
After this, the same concerned citizen was driving by one day--actually, it was September 15--and the citizen saw somebody doing a showing of the property. So this citizen managed to get a tour as well. There were two people giving the tour. One was a guy named Rick, mid-30s, black. The other was a black female, mid-to-late 30s, believed to be Lennie Chism's estranged wife, Virginia. The woman identified herself as "Virginia."
So the concerned citizen looked all around the property and even managed to take some photos with a cell phone of, for example, black plastic garbage bags over windows where the screen was present but the glass was missing. There were at least two windows like that. The date stamp on the photos allow the citizen to recall, easily, that the tour of the property took place on September 15 during a period of time when Lennie was supposedly living at the property, and using it as his place of residence for campaign purposes.
The terms of a proposed lease were discussed during the tour and included an October 1 move in date, a one year lease at $1,300 a month, and a deposit equivalent to first month's rent. The property owner didn't seem overly concerned about doing a background check. Notably, no mention was made of anything like, "By the way, a guy named Lennie Chism lives here and will be sharing the property with you. Um....by the way, would you mind sharing your car?"
There was no sign Lennie was living there, and the property was completely empty; no belongings, no furnishings, no NOTHING.
The conclusion is unavoidable: Lennie is a fake and a fraud, and gave a false address for purposes of running for city council. He is, in fact, believed to live in Plymouth, Minnesota.
It seems possible Lennie didn't cook up this little fraud all by himself. In fact, during the campaign it seemed like it was Lennie's role to be the "bad cop" and say the kind of outrageous things which a candidate like Natalie Johnson Lee couldn't say herself; the divisive and disgusting "Samuels bashing" racial politics which--four years ago--was the dirty job of Booker Hodges and Al Flowers. Whether by design or accident, it went down like that. Lennie played the role of the "bad cop."
But, once again, these ugly tactics didn't succeed. You have to wonder, can't Don's opponents at least find real Northsiders to do the Don-bashing? Al Flowers doesn't live here and now, it would appear, neither did Lennie!
If Lennie Chism wishes to make a response to this blog post, I will be happy to print his response...within reason.