Sunday, November 15, 2009

JNS BLOG EXCLUSIVE: City Council Candidate Lennie Chism Is A Fraud, Did Not Live In Fifth Ward Address During Election...

Contributed Photo

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. 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.


veg*nation said...

o.m.g. is it possible that uncle lennie could possibly have represented himself in a way that wasn't entirely accurate?!? shocking!

anyway, i'm sure his good buddy don allen must have been entirely clueless about where his friend has been living all this time, or else, as an entirely objective journalist who crusades against northside leaders putting cronyism above the interests of northside residents, don allen would surely have been ethical enough to report the story.

Anonymous said...

I say it's the work of Al Mc-I'm-In-Charge-Here, but he's too slimey... Oops, I mean slippery, for anyone to actually tie him to this.

Still, it bears all the hallmarks of Al[l] I Know How To Do Is Destroy.

Al: Go mix your cool-aid somewhere else, please.

Anonymous said...

Good investigative work.

Is there jail time for providing false information such as that? Girlfriend beating and falsifying campaign documents? Who is this person? Sounds like a generic thug.

Anonymous said...

Kenya McKnight did not live at the address she filed for either having been evicted for non payment of rent.
But there do not seem to be any penalties for filing under a false address.
Lets see if either of them voted under one of these addresses. That would be voter fraud

Anonymous said...

My goodness give it a rest already. What is your fascination with Mr Chism??

Anonymous said...

Do you have pictures?

Anonymous said...

Really interesting gossip about Kenya - let's see if anyone can confirm or deny.

The city website candidate filing info shows the following:

7/20/09 Kenya McKnight
1230 Morgan Ave N #2
55411 612-483-3245

Can anyone find the housing court record for eviction?

Can anyone confirm where she lives now? I saw on her facebook page that she has been on a shopping spree for household stuff for her 'new cool place'.

Any more info people?

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

@ Anon 1:23

The focus on Lennie Chism is entirely appropriate and I for one am glad SOMEONE is doing this.

Here we have someone who has shown no indication of any kind of success, who was involved in an altercation using a moving vehicle against someone, who bought a building already slated for demolition and whined about the circumstances while making no realistic attempts to show willingness and ability to run a proposed business there (or fix up the property).

If this were just your (far below) average private citizen, we might be in agreement. But Lennie was RUNNING FOR PUBLIC OFFICE. He repeatedly made comments (I presume he believed himself) that he was the best person to represent the myriad needs of the 5th ward. Now it turns out he did not even live in the district where he was running, and this shows an even deeper disregard for...well, everything.

Aren't you glad these things were exposed BEFORE he could be elected? I say fling wide the door, throw back the curtains. Expose every last detail so that we send the message loud and clear: when you want to represent us in north Minneapolis you better have your act together.

Anonymous said...

To Anon @ Nov. 17 7:28, the Minnesota district court system has their docket online at

It does not appear that housing court is part of the docket that can be search online, however, there's an interesting item in the civil/concilliation docket involving Payday America and Kenya McKnight that was filed on 9/10.