Saturday, January 31, 2009

Jordan Neighborhood Back Story: When Jerry Moore Unsuccessfully Sought A Temporary Restraining Order Against Dan Rother

Flickr.com Image, "Humpty Dumpty Filing
For A Restraining Order Against Jack
And Jill."

This account was forwarded by Megan Goodmundson, and provides some useful background in the current controversies in the Jordan Neighborhood...

According to Goodmundson, Dan Rother was elected to the JACC board in October of 2007. Somewhere in the first quarter of 2008, Rother started asking some questions in regard to financial reports and documents. Rother didn't get what he thought was an adequate response from Jerry Moore, and that apparently made Rother even more determined to see the documents in question.

But His Finger May Have Been Loaded

As the months went on, and requests were ignored or met with "shallow excuses" (according to Goodmundson) Dan beame more insistent about having a right to any document, report, involve, contract or any other piece of business pertaining to JACC.

Goodmundson adds: "Neighbors had been battling to get financial supporting docs for approximately two years, including a letter from the attorney general that verified JACC is obligated to disclose, which Chair Ben Myers responded to (the) attorney general basically saying the atorney general was wrong and JACC would not disclose."

Dan sent his requests via email, via public mail, via phone conversations and voice messages and also voiced his requests at public meetings such as a July board meeting in which he told Jerry, in public, to stop putting him off and bring all the requested documents.

Now, (Goodmundson says) picture this: Meeting room, tables are arranged in horse shoe shape. Dan is standing on one side of the horseshoe, Jerry sitting on opposite side of the horse shoe. Dan is standing, leaning on the table, and pointing his finger at Jerry who is approximately 8 feet away. Dan says in a loud voice something to the effect of "I am demanding you give me the copies of everything I have requested or I am going to go over your head to get them."

Jerry Moore Responds With Paperwork...Sort Of

A few days later, Rother was served with a Temporary Restraining Order against Dan. The TRO accused Dan of harassment and physical threats. Jerry said he was stressed and frightened. A hearing was scheduled for approximately 5 or 6 weeks away. In the meantime, Rother could not attend any meetings or functions in which Jerry Moore will be, or could be expected to be. Rother couldn't email Jerry, call Jerry, certainly couldn't speak to Jerry in person.

Goodmundson says, "(Rother's) freedom of speech was stolen and his responsibilities to serve the community as an elected representative were inhibited. Dan had to hire an attorney for his defense and pay out of his own pocket."

Much Ado About Moore

On the fateful day of the court hearing, many witnesses were summoned for each side. After two days of testimony, and (according to Goodmundson) "much un-twisting of the distorted facts, much like we see in the newest Jill Clark file" the judge ruled firmly in favor of Dan Rother and denied the restraining order sought by Jerry Moore.

Goodmundson summarized it this way: Dan's freedoms are returned and Jerry's playbook is down one play. She then adds, "Have you ever filed a restraining order against one of YOUR bosses? I'm considering it as a strategy the next time my boss gives me an assignment with a deadline."

The Usual Caveat, With Caveat

This blog remains committed to printing info from all sides in this conflict, but some sides are a lot more open and communicative than others.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Phone Book Dumping, Breaking News

Flickr.com Photo

Word comes from Ed Kohler of The Deets blog saying the Star Tribune interviewed him yesterday about the issue of unwanted phone book dumping; which Ed calls "phone book spam."

Hopefully this issue will gain a higher profile in the near future. I've mentioned it to Mayor Rybak each and every time I've seen him, and I hope he does something soon.

(Do not click "Read More")

Jordon Neighborhood Controversy: The "Poppycock" Email

Flickr.com Photo

I've been in possession of an email since January 20th, and only more pressing matters in the Jordan Neighborhood controversy kept me from publishing it, since it contains a substantive and detailed discussion of the arcane, highly-involved issues surrounding the JACC Board election...

The email is from (New Majority Member) Dan Rother to (Old Majority Chair) E.B. Brown, and the subject line is "Poppycock!" I think the email contains a number of rough sentences which I have tried to clean up. Boldface headers not in orginal document, plus I've put in more paragraph breaks.

...

A public response from Daniel Rother to Ms. EB Brown's letter distributed by Mr. Steve Jackson at the JACC Press Conference on January 17, 2009.

Such Poppycock!

It is very disappointing that a member of JACC would be so disgruntled they would come up with such poppycock. The letter goes on about the correct method (of?) removing (a?) Board Director, the implying (implication?) (being?) that such a thing happened or was attempted. The truth is that there was no call for the removal of any board members and no board members were removed.

How it really happened:

The old executive committee, and in particular Mr. Jerry Moore, undermined the October 2008 election process to the extent that the annual elections had to be postponed. The City of Minneapolis and NRP had already advised that if the elections went forward under the questionable conditions that had been created, they would have been invalidated.

At the annual meeting in October 2008 the membership in attendance overwhelmingly voted to postpone the elections due to the circumstances described above. Following the postponement of the annual elections the old board illegally and unneccessarily extended the terms of two board members and in the absence of an election and then voted in and seated new officers.

Illegal Extension Of Terms

The illegal extension of the terms of two board members was done in violation of JACC bylaws which clearly state that board members shall serve a term of only two years. Neither one of the board members receiving an extended term was a board officer and their board tenure had ended as called for under the bylaws. If the selection of new officers had not taken place in November the board would have still held a sufficient number of directors to meet the minimum complement required under the law.

Further, the bylaws provided for new officers to be elected after the annual election so that the new board elects and seats their own officers at the first board meeting following those elections. It is that sequence of events described in the bylaws that is integral and necessary to this process. As the annual elections had not yet taken place, the elections of new board officers should not have been undertaken. Doing so was a deliberate action and had it been allowed to stand would have served to deprive any board members who would be elected in the January 2009 election their right to participate in the election of their new officers.

"Mutiny?" Hardly!

As a point of clarification, an assistant Minneapolis City Attorney has provided an opinion to NRP indicating that the election of new board officers follwing the January 2009 elections was not only a legal and proper action, but that it would have been irresponsible for the board not (to?) have done so.

It is unfortunate that some members of the board (Ben Myers and EB Brown in particular) and a small part of (the?) community have chosen to characterize this as mutiny. This is participatory democracy at the grass roots level and in a democracy majority rules. The fact that the old officers would describe and publicize this as "mutiny" is a disservice to the community they claim to serve and a distortion of the truth by a disgruntled few who failed to get their way.

After new officers wre elected on January 14, it was discovered that the old officers, like thieves in the night, came in and removed from the JACC offices at 2009 James Avenue North computers, fax/copier, financial documents, and the check book and register. This action was taken without board knowledge or approval and can only be considered outright theft.

Desperation And Malfeasance

The removal of this property has rightfully been reported to the Minneapolis Police Department as a theft. This type of vigilantism is especially troubling because we expected better from someone like Ben Myers who is a licensed attorney (at the time of this writing). Ben Myers has announced publicly that he has knowledge of the location of the property that has been reported stolen. I speculate that the level of desperation shown here is directly in proportion to the level of malfeasance that will be discovered when we retrieve the records.

Mr. Ben Myers and Ms. EB Brown have additionally failed to disclose what authority they believe they have to act outside of a board meeting and remove any JACC property from the established JACC offices.

This Is The New Agenda

JACC did hold a regularly scheduled board meeting in January and it did not adjourn until the time ran out at about 7:45 PM. There was a portion of the meeting that was closed to the public to discuss an employee's conduct, which I will not comment on in a public forum. This was on the agenda (nothing hidden here) and that agenda was adopted by the majority in a vote by the Board Members in a public meeting. It must also be recognized that part of the Executive Committee's role is to "propose" an agenda for the board but it does not become the agenda unless it is adopted by the Board of Directors, by a majority vote.

No Proper Disclosure, Documentation

As for JACC being the fiscal agent for any other organization; that action was taken without board prior knowledge or approval. To make matters worse, Board Members have not been made privy to any substantive financial information including bank statements dated between July of 2008 and today. In fact(,) Mr. Jerry Moore reported that he has sublet the office in the past to other businesses and done so without proper disclosure or documentation to the Board of Directors and also includes hired and paid employees unbeknownst to the board.

It also appears now that Mr. Ben Meyers or Mr. Jerry Moore may have told the counselors (for whom JACC may be the fiscal agent) they had to be out of the office by Friday(.) (T)his action did not come from the current officers as it is alluded to in Ms. EB Brown's letter.

What About The Youth?

It is also worth mentioning that no member from the old board has brought forward any youth programs in the past year except in secret meetings that the full board was not invited to and no recorded minutes of such meetings have been made available (to?) other board members despite multiple requests to provide minutes from those meetings.

Stop Acting Outside The Law

I sincerely hope(,) wish and encourage the old officers to bring forward any grievances they may have or to seek mediation rather than (...) continuing on this injurious path of acting outside the law and further damaging their creditability in the community. Mr. Myers(,) please return to the community the property reported as stolen from the JACC office at 2009 James Avenue North.

A Side Remark Directed At "Jane Northside" (No Relation, Thank Goodness)

On another note, Jane Northside failed to do her research in a resent (sic) article before going to print. If she had(,) she would have know(n) that every candidate went through the same process for vetting. Just sending your autobiography to the nominations committee was not good enough for any candidate to get on the ballot. All candidates had to verify their residency, or that they worked in the neighborhood, or that (they) owned property or a business here. Documentation could come from a Hennepin County property record, or a written statement from an employer or landlord(,) etc.

Unfortunately, one individual (WHO?!!!) repeatedly was sent requests for such written documentation over and over and over again in writing and in documented phone calls and failed to respond at all until the ballots were closed! This individual was given more opportunities than any other to respond and failed to do so until it was too late.

Daniel Rother 01/19/2009

ADDENDUM: Rother did submit this entire document as a "comment" to the article written by Jane Northside. But I consider my extensive blog posts about JACC to be a kind of historical record and, in any case, the Rother "Poppycock" document represents a "response" to the January 17 EB Brown Letter, so I prefer to include it on this blog.

Also, I just loved the idea of publishing a picture of "Poppycock" snack food along with this document about the JACC controversy.

Part Of The Fun Of Being A House Flipper In North Minneapolis




Photos By Jennifer
The Flipper

These four images were forwarded by realtor Jeanie Hoholik. This are things found by Jennifer The Flipper in a house she recently purchased at 2755 Russell Ave. N., in the Jordan Neighborhood, where there is a treasure trove of housing bargains to be found.

The items were found behind some cupboards removed by workmen.

I received these photos on January 19, and would have published this stuff the very same day except for one thing...the Jordan Neighborhood Soap Opera, which has dominated "prime time" around here for several days.

(Do not click "Read More")

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hawthorne Housing Director Gets All "311 Happy" (Part Two)

Photo By Jeff Skrenes

The house at 2207 4th St. N. is an ongoing, frustrating situation with no end in sight, the subject of several previous blog posts, click here for example.

A Hawthorne resident recently asked our Housing Director, Jeff, to...

...go check on the house. Again. When Jeff arrived, he found permits posted all over the front door board...and the house wide open to trespass, unsecured, through both the back door as well as a basement window.

The only surprising part was all the permits stapled to the board covering the front doorway. Despite the well-documented problem property status of this place, it appears the owner (Hugo Jose Contreras Vasquez) is trying to rustle up paperwork to save the place from the Backhoe of Doom. Arguably, the place could be saved...but it seems like Vasquez is not the one to do it, with his long record of letting 2207 4th St. N. fall to wreck and ruin.

Jeff Skrenes says, "With CitiMortgage down, and Larry Maxwell set to go to prison for a long time, it looks like Contreras Vasquez is trying to become my next nemesis."

To which I respond: Oh, come on now.

Two words: Mahmood Khan.

The Writing On The Wall?

Jeff may not love official paperwork the way I do--the way coin collectors love coins, the way beer snobs love Belgian brews--but Jeff sure reads the stuff. The first piece of paperwork on the door of 2207 4th St. N. was a "scope of work order," with $30,000 the estimated cost. The second page lists the permit number, BIRE3057165, and it appears they are applying to remodel the place. Jeff says, "I suppose after a party where you spray paint your own house, you've probably got some remodeling to do."

The permit was issued January 13, 2009 and lists the phone number of the owner: 612-298-9871.

Those who want to call Mr. Contreras Vasquez and make their feelings known can...well, do that.

The last page is a checklist of work that needs to be done.

Not surprisingly, nothing is checked.

Hawthorne Is Watching

Jeff says, "Mr. Contreras Vasquez, you still have the chance to redeem yourself. But you have owned a problem property for years. You knowingly allowed disruptive and irresponsible behavior to occur at your property and have made no attempts that this neighborhood has seen to rectify the situation. We are watching you."

Hawthorne Housing Director Gets All "311 Happy" (Part One)


Photos By Jeff Skrenes

For the last couple of days, our Hawthorne Housing Director has been doing street level property surveys to see what is up in the neighborhood, and this has involved just about wearing his dialing finger down to the bone calling 311...

3101 6th Street N. Almost All Gone

First of all, nothing is left of "The Apartment Complex of Anarchy" but some remnants of walls below ground level. It reminds me of the gaping hole left behind after a bad tooth is extracted.

It's possible a souvenir brick may have made its way to my possession...plus some used insulation for renovation purposes, bound for the landfill, anyway, really scavenging that would be doing the demo guy a favor.

I'm just saying it's POSSIBLE all that happened.

3023 4th St. N.

While Jeff and I were pausing to watch the demolition a couple days ago, we saw a group of what appeared to be ne'er-do-wells crossing the vacant lots where Phase I of the Eco Village is going to be. Jeff told me, "We better go check because the way they're crossing the lot...I bet 3023 4th St. N. is open to trespass."

And Jeff was right. You could tell, just from the path they were walking and their body language, something was up with 3023. But checking the property slipped our minds, temporarily. Yesterday Jeff went back through the area, and remembered about checking 3023, but it turns out the PPL people were already at the house, securing it. And, yes, people had been inside, just as Jeff suspected.

See, this is what happens when you have one of the few heated, vacant houses on the block...if not the ONLY one.

409 31st Ave. N.

Right about then, Jeff noticed the garage at 409 31st Ave. N. (owned by Vicki Cox-Maxwell, wife of the infamous Larry Maxwell was also OTT. (That's Jeff's little abbreviation for "Open To Trespass.")

So Jeff called 311. Again.

3024 6th St. N.

And then Jeff noticed the garage at 3024 was also "OTT." So he called that one in to 311 as well. Once you're walking around in North Minneapolis with a 311 operator on the line, it can be hard to get OFF the line, if you just keep walking. Jeff told me "calling in OTT properties (to 311) is like a drug, albeit a better drug than what gets sold out of 3020 6th St. N."

Following His Nose

Jeff said the second picture is of the garage at 409 31st Ave. N. and added "you should be thankful we haven't perfected Smell-O-Vision and my camera doesn't have a scratch-n-sniff feature for its pictures." Jeff also found an OTT garage at 3011 6th St. N. but said "the interior was not trashed and it didn't have that squatted-in smell, yet. Let's hope the 311 email keeps that from happening."

(FYI, the 311 email is minneapolis311@ci.minneapolis.mn.us)

(I find it's convenient to have in your email address book)

A Hawthorne Housing Director's Work Is Never Done

Jeff got a lot of work done in the Eco Village, but there was more to accomplish on the part of 4th St. N. close to the Kemps facility, an area we have to monitor constantly to keep up the pace of steady improvement. Lately, the problem property has been 2207 4th St. N.

More on that in my next blog post.

Hawthorne Housing Director Jeff Skrenes Spots A STUPID NORTH MINNEAPOLIS PROPERTY REPAIR!

Photo By Jeff Skrenes

Jeff Skrenes was out doing a survey of the Eco Village area in the Hawthorne Neighborhood, plus 6th Street N., and took a lot of pictures. In reviewing the photos forwarded by Jeff I spotted (oh, be still, my foolish heart!) an image which is...

...quite obviously an example of a STUPID NORTH MINNEAPOLIS PROPERTY REPAIR. YES!!!!!! SCORE!!!!!!!!!

See, recently the Minneapolis Investment Property blog has been trying to keep up the pace of blogging about this phenomenon, click here...which its blog master (admittedly) first documented and labeled...but can the guy who pioneered blogging about this phenomenon POSSIBLY keep up with murderously prolific nature of this blog?

(Pushing 100 posts this month, baby!!!!)

I doubt it. I highly doubt it. Not when there's my "bullet hole fixed with duct tape" example to compete with. Dream on, Minneeapolis Investment Property blog!

So, anyway, in regard to the picture taken by Jeff...well, I'm not precisely sure what was being attempted, here, by the person who nailed up those weird shingle-looking things, but I know STUPID when I see it, and I'm calling it.

REVISED, REVISED, REVISED: "Old Majority" Lawsuit Update In The Jordan Neighborhood




Flickr.com Photo, bottom

Picture From Judge Rosenbaum's public and official profile, top

The "official rumor" in the Jordan Neighborhood--which is good enough to publish by loosey goosey blog standards--is that "Old Majority" Attorney Jill Clark's request for a TRO (temporary restraining order) caused two judges to recuse themselves. The lawsuit finally landed on the desk of a Judge Rosenbaum, reportedly.

Persistent rumors say at least one Jordan resident was asked to sign his name to a "complaint" without realizing "complaint" actually meant a lawsuit, with the very real possibility of a decisive and massive COUNTER suit. This is, however, unconfirmed information.

This blog remains open to receiving information from all sides of this conflict and will make an effort to publish it.

ADDENDUM: TEN SECONDS after I got this information posted, rumor came down that Judge Rosenbaum also recused herself, and the lawsuit is now on its FOURTH judge.

ADDENDUM TO ADDENDUM: Rumor Control Central says the lawsuit might still be on Rosenbaum's desk, but Rosenbaum is the FOURTH judge. Still trying to nail down the info.

(Do not click "Read More")

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

EDITORIAL: Things Bent, Twisted And Left Unsaid By "Old Majority" JACC Lawsuit

Flickr.com Photo, Lies And Half-Truths

Upon a review of the long, detailed lawsuit by the "Old Majority" JACC faction against the "New Majority" faction, (click here for access to the lawsuit documents) there are many facts bent, twisted and left unstated. So I'm here to start stating them...

How many points will I need? A bunch. A dozen, at least.

"Twilight Of The Gods"

First, I am reminded of the words of my old law school buddy, Jeremy, who often repeated the sage advice not to go hunting elephants without an elephant gun. Attorney Jill Clark apparently never spent any time with my buddy Jeremy, or she might have heard him say that. Clark could have just sued board members like Michael "Kip" Browne, but instead she decided to drag in defendants like Council Member Don Samuels, the City Attorney's Office, the Commander of the Fourth Precinct and an employee of NRP.

Way to go. Hole up inside the Alamo and declare yourself a nation. Take on the army of Santa Anna, and pray for reinforcements. Yeah, that will work.

Clark would have been better off suing just board members, then dragging in other defendants much later, if the lawsuit could gain some kind of foothold.

But Clark has apparently decided to "go for the gusto." She's playing to a marginalized political constituency, here, not legal and political reality. In taking on powerful, heavily-lawyered entities like--good god!--THE CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE , (stomp, stomp) Clark is creating a situation where defeat is not only likely, but will be spectacular when it happens, truly a Wagnerian "Gotterdamerung" Twilight Of The Gods bloody defeat of tsunami apocalyptic proportions.

OK, any excuse to link to O Fortuna! (Click here)

Oh, That Part Got Left Out

Second, I find it interesting that Bob Scott is named in the lawsuit. With some other individuals named in the lawsuit, Clark says stuff like "he has never resigned his officer position." She can't really say that about Bob Scott. Everybody saw him resign. Though an initial complaint might very well state the most favorable facts, facts can't be kept out forever.

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi

Third, tossing in Latin phrases like "ultra vires" and "ab initio" may impress laypeople, but the judge is going to see right through this wordy piece of tissue paper.

Steve Jackson Disarmed At Last?

Fourth, it's funny how Steve Jackson--who constantly asserts his "Sergeant At Arms" title--isn't mentioned as any "Sergeant At Arms." Yeah, does that position really exist? Also, I've heard some folks questioning whether Steve Jackson gets PAID for the work he does in Jordan, and whether he's really a member of JACC at all. I'm not taking a side, here...I'm just saying I've heard the question raised. So it's very odd how Jackson's little self-declared martial title got dropped, and you have to wonder what else was left out.

Check Was In The Mail?

Fifth, the lawsuit goes into quite some detail about the corporate status of JACC. As this blog revealed recently, that corporate charter nearly lapsed because dues weren't paid...just like lights and rent weren't paid.

But that's fine, Jill Clark, go ahead and cite the JACC corporate charter...which your clients almost allowed to fall into corporate dissolution.

Biting The Hand That Pays You

Sixth, suing an employee of NRP--the entity which has so much power over the money which flows into the Jordan Neighborhood--shows the plaintiffs here have little concern about Jordan, unless those neighborhood issues conveniently intersect with their own personal interests.

The Independent State Of Jordan?

Seventh, a whole lot of stuff is skipped when Clark says "Although there are some contractual relations between the City and JACC, and the City has minimal oversight function regarding funds, the City of Minneapolis does not have a role in the internal governance of JACC..."

WRONG. This is a very complex and arcane area of dispute, but what Clark appears to be asserting is that entities like JACC or, for that matter, any other neighborhood association are basically like a church or any other voluntary association, and city government doesn't have any kind of legal power or control over those entities.

I don't see it that way at all. I say neighborhood government exists like that of an unincorporated township--I've written on this topic before, click here--and whether or not a JACC entity exists to assume power in that void, that "neighborhood government power" continues to exist unless the state takes steps to dissolve it. (Cities are subordinate political entities of the state, so we're really talking about STATE power, here, not city government power)

Neighborhood associations deliberately, and by design fill a grassroots government role carved out by the city government (therefore the state) and though they have corporate charters, (yes!) they are not MERELY corporations but basically a subordinate government unit of yet ANOTHER subordinate government unit. (Neighborhoods are below cities, which are below states...and no, the states are not "below" the federal government. Good lord, lets not get into the complexities of the FEDERALIST system, or we'll be here all day)

So, in a nutshell: cities can and do have some say over neighborhood associations, not just by design (because these are grassroots government organizations) but through the many oversight functions which the associations take on over years, decades by accepting funding and the strings that come along with it. The rare, almost-unheard-of instance of two factions declaring themselves the "true" neighborhood organization is PRECISELY the kind of instance where the city can and should intervene and convey recognition on one side or the other.

There is nothing stopping the Old Majority from forming their own little club and organizing around particular neighborhood issues. But, really, they should buy their own copier/fax machine and not swipe somebody else's. (How much do you want to bet NRP money paid for THAT piece of equipment?)

"Like An Armed Man Taking A Baby Hostage"

Point Number Eight, disagreement about Federal HUD money. There is a vital and complex debate about how to handle federal HUD money flowing to the Jordan Neighborhood. But one commenter on these issues recently told me that "hiding behind" this issue is "like an armed man taking a baby hostage." What the "Old Majority" is doing has nothing to do with this debate. It has everything to do with who gets to be in charge. Heaven help our democracy if those who are voted out simply refuse to leave. Even George Bush knows better than THAT.

But, Um, Counselor...Where Are The Computers?

Point Ten, I love the colorful language in this lawsuit. The "New Majority" is dubbed a "rogue team" and "interlopers." The lawsuit complains about how locks were changed on the doors of the JACC office AFTER computers, files and checkbooks walked off into the night.

Here's some facts left out: Jerry Moore didn't pay the Ackerberg Group their rent for three or four months, and tried to turn off the electricity, which would have damaged the Ackerberg group's PLUMBING.

It seems like no matter who won...locks were going to get changed. Believe me, if you don't pay rent, locks get changed.

Don Samuels, Master Of The Deadly "Back Smash" Move

Point Eleven, the lawsuit complains that City Council Member Don Samuels accosted "a citizen" at the JACC press conference.

Gee, you have to wonder why Clark doesn't name this "citizen" while she is actually representing Al Flowers as an attorney in his lawsuit against Don Samuels. But it's notable how the word "accosted" is used, instead of "assault." Even Clark can't bring herself to look THAT ridiculous.

This "accosting" mentioned in the lawsuit supposedly involved Don Samuels BACKING TOWARD SOMEBODY.

Yeah, that's how I like to assault and accost people who are much taller than me, and angrily shouting. See, I like to stand in front, back turned, and assault them with the pointy parts of my lumbar vertebrae, he-yaaaaah!!!!!!!!!

What's So "Thinly-Veiled" About It?

Point One Dozen: Jill Clark says the Minneapolis Police Department "will not be able to perform a neutral investigation of any issues concerning JACC" and the police are being "misused, in an intimidating fashion, in an attempt to effectuate the coup, including thinly-veiled threats that the legitimate Officers will be arrested and/or charged with a crime."

Uh huh.

Well, I think if the "Old Majority" will just give back the computers, records, checkbooks, etc., maybe things will go easy.

I mean, how can I best phrase it: Come out with your hands up?

Humiliation, Mental Anguish, Suffering, Etc.

Point Baker's Dozen: The lawsuit wants at least $50,000 in damages. But here's the most important part of the lawsuit; the part called the "Acknowledgement" where Jill Clark signs the following statement:

"The undersigned hereby acknowledges that, pursuant to Minn. Stat. 549.21, Subd. 2, costs, disbursements, and reasonable attorney and witness fees may be awarded to the opposing part of parties (sic) in this litigation if the Court should find that the undersigned acted in bad faith, asserted a claim or defense that is frivolous and that is costly to the other party, asserted an unfounded position solely to dealy the ordinary course of the proceedings or to harass, or committed a fraud upon the court."

See, I think THAT part is going to become really important.

Your Status Quo May Vary

Point Baker's Dozen T Minus One: Lastly, Jill Clark's lawsuit keeps pleading for the judge to impose the "status quo," but in mentioning the status quo Clark is actually talking about a situation that existed prior to January 14; when the "Old Majority" held the officer positions.

At this point, "status quo" means the "New Majority" in control of the JACC office, bank accounts frozen until Franklin Bank decides what to do, city officials dealing with the new officers as the legitimate neighborhood authority, and the police trying to figure out who took the material from the JACC office, so the stolen goods can be recovered and handed back over to the New Majority, and the guilty parties arrested.

THAT is the status quo.

And so, in my final point, I find myself in odd agreement with Jill Clark.

Your Honor, please follow the law, here, and impose the status quo.

Spokesman-Recorder Comes Down On Side Of "New Majority" In Jordan Neighborhood

Flickr.com Photo

The Spokesman Recorder has weighed in on the JACC controversy and come down firmly on the side of the "New Majority" faction, click here for article. This is significant, because of the weight this venerable grassroots publication carries in North Minneapolis...and beyond.

Though mostly a rehashing of information that's been available on the internet for about a week, the article does break some new ground; for example discussing how so much JACC money has been spent on administrative overhead in Jordan that now funds aren't available for the new board to pay, for example, salaries.

Money is apparently left for HOUSING issues, however. And that's good. Some of the "New Majority" ran for their board seats on "livability" issues.

The Spokesman Recorder article obviously went to press before the interesting new developments with a lawsuit filed by members of the "Old Majority" faction.

I must say this: when a newspaper's website plays second fiddle to its printed publication, the reader loses...twice.

Paper is dead. Long live the blogosphere.

(Do not click "Read More)

"New Majority" Takes Control Of JACC Website

Flickr.com Photo

The really big recent news in Jordan is, of course, the recent lawsuit filed by the "Old Majority" faction against members of the "New Majority" and, for good measure, the Commander of the Fourth Precinct, an unnamed City of Minneapolis attorney, plus some John 'n' Jane Does. Click here for that story.

There is, however, more news out of Jordan...

It appears the "New Majority" is now firmly in control of the official JACC website, as evidenced by new material appearing which makes it clear Executive Director Jerry Moore is no longer considered employed by JACC, click here. (At least not the JACC recognized by the "New Majority" faction)

Also, I received a copy of an email that went out from members of the "New Majority" to a plethora of North Minnapolis neighborhood associations and other parties. The email stated who was now in control of JACC, and warned anybody associating with Jerry Moore, Ben Myers, et al, should do so "at their own risk."

The Case Against Larry Maxwell, Alleged Mortgage Fraudster

Flickr.com Photo

This blog post is for those who don't have the inclination to read the long and involved source document from the Maxwell investigation, which I've placed on my "PDF support website," click here. There are some advantages to just writing a blog post, chiefly...

...the fact stuff like names and addresses will turn up in Google searches, which won't happen if I just link to a PDF. And some people prefer a summary.

"Third Party Witnesses And Potential Co-Conspirators"

The amended criminal complaint, apparently first filed February 11, 2008, was filed by Cory Cardenas, a detective for the Bloomington Police Department for more than ten years. Cardenas has been coordinating his investigation with Glen Miller of the Hennepin County Attorney's Office in "investigating a pattern of criminal activity committed by Realty Executive Advantage Plus Group" (REAPG) and "Larry Danell Maxwell."

The investigation involved "the execution of search warrants" at Maxwell's home and the offices of REAPG and Worldlink Mortgage, Inc." Worldlink orginated and brokered loans for customers of REAPG and Maxwell. Some of these costumers were later determined to be "fictional." Cardenas says his investigation, though "ongoing" has uncovered "a racketeering and real-estate mortgate fraud scheme perpetrated by identity thefts, forgeries and thefts by swindle."

Larry D. Maxwell Is A Very Bad Man (Allegedly) But Sure Has A Lot Of Titles

Maxwell was 52 years old at the time this criminal complaint was filed and, at that time, held a real estate salesperson's license. (Word is the license is now inactive and, by the way, searching MLS sales data for an inactive real estate license is problematic, a flaw in the MLS which hinders these kind of investigations. Word)

At the time of Cardenas' criminal complaint, Maxwell had previously pleaded guilty to one count of "Aiding and Abetting False Information." Maxwell received five years of probation and orders to pay restitution of $37,592.24 to HUD, an amount that might be looked upon as a mere "cost of business" considering what Maxwell, et al reportedly racked up from their (alleged) swindles.

REAPG was operating at 2309 River Point Circle in Minneapolis, the home address of Maxwell. Others involved with REAPG were Maxwell's wife, Vicki Yvette Cox-Maxwell and Halisi Edwards-Staten. (However, in the course of the investigation it was found Edwards-Staten, a licensed broker, no longer lived in Minnesota but in Stone Mountain, Georgia. REAPG operating a real estate brokerage without a licensed broker present was, of course, yet another violation of the law, according to Detective Cardenas)

Other players in this little drama included Larry Maxwell's son, Larry Scott, and an individual named Terrance Large, who was "both president and a loan officer" at Worldlink.

To make this little drama even more tangled, here are some of the titles held by Larry Maxwell:

Worldlink Loan Officer. Territorial franchise owner of Realty Executives. Real estate agent at REAPG. Certified Residential Specialist. Graduate of the Realtors Institute.

It certainly sounds like Maxwell was a "one stop shop."

It All Started With "J.F." (Well, His Tenacious Wife, Really)

A married man named "J.F." was the one who caused the extensive, wide-ranging criminal investigation to be launched when J.F. received a mortgage statement in the male from Avelo Mortgage for a house at 1564 Hillside Ave. N.

J.F. had never owned the house nor been associated with it. He informed Avelo of this fact, and alleged this was a case of "identity fraud." Initially, J.F. approached the Plymouth Police Department. Mail kept coming to J.F. for 1564 Hillside Ave. N, stuff about "unpaid insurance premiums" and "delinquent tax notices" and, to put the frosting on the cake, a Christmas card from Trent Bowman, a loan officer at Centennial Mortgage and funding, which mentioned 1564 Hillside Ave. N.

It turns out Avelo and Ocwen are "successors in interest" to loans granted by Centennial Mortgage & Funding and Centennial, Inc.

J.F.'s wife was very involved in digging into this mess, at one point enlisting the help of a "real estate friend," (apparently named "Havlish") who contacted Bowman (he of the Christmas card) and found out Bowman was the in-house loan officer who handled the first and--good grief--SECOND mortgage loans on J.F.'s stolen identity. The real estate agent found out REAPG and Maxwell acted "as both listing and buying agent" for 1564 Hillside Ave. N.

Fully caught up in her "detective" role, J.F.'s wife went to the office of Centennial Mortgage and obtained HUD-1 Settlement Statements for the two mortgages, obtaining the name of the title company: First USA Title.

Then, "Mrs. J.F." spoke to an office manager and "an attorney who purported to represent First USA Title." Here, Mrs. J.F. learned there was a "fraud alert" on 1564 Hillside Ave. N. but, shockingly, First USA Title had closed on two other mortgages for a residential property located at 8900 12th Avenue South, Bloomington, Minnesota, both in the name of "J.F." At that very moment, four more residential properties were being prepared for closing in the name of J.F.

Closing documents for 1564 Hillside Avenue North and 8900 12th Ave. S., Bloomington, showed a false driver's license and false social security card for J.F., false tax statements, flase W-2 forms, false pay stubs for UPS (where J.F. is ACTUALLY employed!) and false bank statements.

First USA Title contacted Maxwell to find out what (the expletive) was going on, and Maxwell said J.F. was "an old family friend for 18 years" and assured the title company not to worry.

Maxwell then provided yet more false info about J.F., including a bank statement, tax returns, 401K plan, pay stubs and "other information." (Christmas cards? OK, that was just me wondering)

Here's free advice for J.F., as follows:

NEVER cheat on your wife. She'll find a thread and follow it all the way to the bedroom of your mistress. Never, never, never cheat on your wife, J.F.

Untangling The Web Of Lies

Detective Cardenas met with "several officers" of Centennial Mortgage & Funding, Inc. about the fraud, and obtained more info, including an "incomplete spreadsheet" containing data from their records about suspected fraud. The tangled web now spread to one Tanya Patterson, who had purchased 3431 Penn Ave. N., 3123 Newton Ave. N. and 4940-4946 101st Lane Northeast in Blaine, Minnesota.

Trent Bowman was the inhouse loan officer, here, and police talked to him in his home. Bowman said he had done "40 to 50" loan transactions with Maxwell over the past few years. These were "no document" loans extended on the basis of a "good credit score" possessed by J.F.

(The police document phrases it well: "which the real J.F. then had." No telling what J.F.'s credit score is NOW)

Bowman's ties to Maxwell ran deep. Maxwell had acted as "dual agent" in the sale of Bowman's deceased mother's house at 3122 Russell Avenue North, Minneapolis. In doing this deal, Maxwell managed to disburse $31,000 to an entity called "Gill Construction" which, according to Bowman, had never done any work on the home. Bowman confronted Maxwell "out in the hallway at the closing" and Maxwell said, hey, he "got the deal done." The house was sold for even more than Bowman had it appraised for and, further, Bowman felt under pressure from family members to sell the house.

(Maxwell's son, Larry Scott, was the listing agent)

Search Warrant At 2309 River Point Circle

Armed with this evidence and testimony, police served a search warrant on Maxwell's house/business headquarters as well as, incidentally, his "two Mercedes Benz automobiles and one Infiniti." Officers also searched Worldlink's offices at 800 Washington Ave. N. The warrants were served "consecutively" on November 15, 2007. So many documents were seized that, as of February 2008, Cardenas was still reviewing documents but the detective estimated "we uncovered and seized dozens of fraudulent loan applications" either "closed or attempted to be closed."

(At this point, some information is crossed out of the "amended complaint" for an unknown reason. It mentions a "Donald T. Williams" who is lsited as an owner or taxpayer for the following addresses: 411 Penn Ave. N., 3645 Aldrish Ave. N., 2806 Oliver Ave. N., and 2731 Upton Ave. N. A false driver's license was found in the name of Donald T. Williams, reads the "crossed out" information. Williams comes up later in this same complaint, and it appears the crossing out involved some kind of document revision for purposes of clarity)

At Maxwell's home/office the police officers "uncovered and seized" two buyer/borrower closing packets prepared by First USA Title, together with uncashed checks for the disbursements issued to J.F. at closing out of the loan proceeds. A check register was also found in Maxwell's "night stand" showing payments made out to "J.F." in the amounts of $10,000 and $1,900 shortly before closings of the properties.

Maxwell was arrested that same day and taken to the Bloomington Police Department where, in a taped interview, he admitted to "becoming reckless" but somehow couldn't explain why he had written two checks out to J.F.

The detective asked Maxwell to explain why he was in possession of a counterfeit Minnesota driver's license for Donald T. Williams. Maxwell acknowledged he was "in a tough spot." Reading this account, I have to wonder at what point Maxwell said something including the phrase "my attorney" and "right to remain silent."

The house at 1564 Hillside Ave. N. was purchased--using J.F.'s stolen identity--June 27, 2006, for $179,900. I've heard through the grapevine the house in question is a wreck and should be bulldozed, and wasn't much better in 2006.

The Name "Jerry Moore" Comes Into The Mix

This is the point which is of special interest to some individuals in the Jordan neighborhood, the point where former JACC Executive Director Jerry Moore's name comes into the story. I'm going to post that particular paragraph in its entirety, as follows:

"The documents (about 1564 Hillside Ave. N.) reveal that, based on the fraudulent loan applications initially prepared by Maxwell (a Worldlink loan officer) and representations of Maxwell and REAPG, Centennial Mortgage and Funding, Inc. and its affiliate, Centennial, Inc., granted J.F.'s stolen identity first and second mortgage loans in the amounts of $143,920 and $26,9995, respectively, used to purchase the residential property at 1564 Hillside Avenue North."

(Paragraph break not in orginal)

"Based on the closing documents and information received from First USA Title, defendant REAPG received $26,296.31 in commissions for the sale of 1564 Hillside Avenue North (an above-market, 14.6 percent realtor's commission). Additionally, disbursements (...) paid from the proceeds of these fraudulent loans during closing include payments to Gill Construction ($24,100) Jerry Moore, J.L. Moore Consulting ($5,000) and Peter W. Lang for the benefit (of) James Lang ($56,291.78)"

The False J.F. Used Franklin Bank

Information in the investigation document about the fraudulent sale of 8900 12th Ave. S. says First USA Title's files include a copy of a cashier's check drawn on Franklin Bank dated July 26, 2006 "with remitter of J.F. in the amount of $1,900, the same amount appearing in the check register found in Maxwell's nightstand."

Gee, you have to wonder WHO WAS THIS MYSTERIOUS FALSE J.F. who so boldly walked into Franklin Bank and cashed fraudulent checks?

Tanya Patterson Got Used

This brings us to Tanya Patterson. According to Detective Cardenas, Patterson is "an inactive real estate agent in Fort Washington, Maryland." She was convinced by Maxwell that he could find her "investment properties" under market value and occupied by renters, or capable of being rented. Patterson purchased six properties, giving power of attorney to "Larry Charles Smith" to facilitate these transactions.

Maxwell told Patterson to open a bank account at Wells Fargo with a deposit of $100. Patterson says SHE didn't do anything else with this account, and yet four checks totalling $55,000 were made payable to Maxwell and cashed, two others totally $44,000 were made payable to Larry Charles Smith and cashed. Property values were inflated, more deposits were made. Somewhere along the line, "Gill Construction" got a cut for "improvements" to the properties," though no actual improvements were made.

Detective Cardenas concludes Patterson was a "straw buyer." Funds were "staged" in Patterson's bank account at Wells Fargo to grease the skids on these transactions. In one case, there was an inexplicable diversion of $20,605.89 for "Escrow for Judgement to Judgement." (Sic) The word "judgment" isn't even spelled right, but it is spelled in the way laypeople without legal training are prone to spell the word.

The Mysterious Donald T. Williams (A Felon And Possibly King Of The Janitors)

Further investigation by Detective Cardenas and Investigator Miller tracked down Donald Williams on December 7, 2007, at 2731 Upton Avenue North. A tenant lived there, and said Donald Williams receives mail there, and he was the property owner. One piece of mail that was "very important" came from a "Tina" at the "Welfare Office." Donald Williams--described as short, bald-headed, black, reportedly drove a gray "Benz."

It turns out "Donald T. Williams" is actually Tyrone Tyson Williams, and "Donald Williams" is an alias associated with this person, who has about eight aliases and an FBI rap sheet. Refusing to meet with investigators, but speaking to the investigators by phone, Tyrone Tyson Whatever claimed to work at a business named "Jani-King." It turns out Whatever was on probation, and hadn't notified his parole officer (Joi Kvern) of any address change. The investigators learned from Kvern that Williams had claimed to be in business with "Rochelle Packard" of "Jani-King."

Packard may be Williams' "wife or partner," known to reside at one point at 411 Penn Ave. South, and a co-defendant in the drug case that convicted Williams. Williams had once told his parole officer of his interest in "going to Canada" to do business. The parole officer told Williams he couldn't do that while on probation. And so another dream bit the dust.

On December 19, the officers executed a search warrant on 411 Penn Ave. S., where they found Williams there like a sitting duck. At the Bloomington Police Department, this duck sang like a mockingbird, spilling everything about Maxwell. For each dirty real estate deal, William Of The Eight Or Nine Aliases received $8,000 to $10,000 by personal check. Williams claimed he didn't use any false driver's license at these closings, but an identification issued by Hennepin County Technical College.

And, unfortunately, Tyrone Tyson WIlliams signs his name with a "distinctive 'T' similar to the number 7," and that's how Tyrone would sign the name of "Donald T. Williams" on these transactions facilitated by Larry Maxwell. In one instance, there was an "undated, blank purchase agreement pre-signed by Donald T. Williams as buyer."

In the transaction at 3654 Aldrich Ave. N., another name comes up: Jolanda Combs. The document notes, in a rather dry way, "Ms. Combs is an employee or agent of REAPG, who works as Maxwell's assistant, and she was present at Maxwell's home and REAPG office during the execution of the search warrant there."

Uh huh.

Well, maybe more will come out about THAT later.

A Very Active Investigation

The document concludes with a "laundry list" of charges...a bunch of theft, swindle, forgery, and low-down dirty dealing. I have information I can't reveal at this time leading me to believe the Maxwell investigation is VERY active, with new leads appearing as recently as the last several days.

IF YOU HAVE INFORMATION, contact Detective Cardenas of the Bloomington Police Department.

JNS BLOG EXCLUSIVE: "Old Majority" In Jordan Neighborhood Files Lawsuit Against "New Majority" (I Have All The Documents)

Flickr.com Photo,
Hennepin Co. Gov. Cntr.

The Minneapolis Mirror broke this story, but they can't get all the documents up as fast as I can: click here to go to the Johnny Northside support site and get all the PDF files in this dramatic development...

Jill Clark, the same attorney representing Al Flowers in his recent lawsuit, is the legal counsel in this case. The plaintiffs are the "Old Majority" members as well as a posse of others you might find under a cell phone company "friends and family" plan.

Haven't had a chance, yet, myself to dig through all these amazing and interesting documents!

Enjoy, Johnny Northside readers, enjoy! This soap opera appears to have been extended for several seasons of PRIME TIME. Get the popcorn. Kick back your feet. Now THIS is what I call entertainment!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

JNS BLOG EXCLUSIVE: Summons Arrives For Jerry Moore At JACC Office

Flickr.com Photo

I just received word from a reliable source saying a summons arrived at the JACC office at 2009 James Ave. N., intended for former JACC Executive Director Jerry Moore, (still recognized as JACC Executive Director by the "Old Majority" faction) and...

...summoning Moore to appear at a legal hearing concerning the Larry Maxwell criminal investigation, click here for recent info about that.

At the same time, the Hennepin County Attorney's office attempted to deliver a registered letter for Moore to the same office. Members of the "New Majority" reportedly called the Hennepin County Attorney's Office to give information about where Moore could be found; at his home address or the Jordan New Life Church.

I said it was "too quiet," didn't I?

THAT didn't last long.

"Too Quiet" In The Jordan Neighborhood?

Photo By John Hoff

There's an old line from the movies, and it applies to the Jordan neighborhood right about now.

It's quiet. TOO quiet.

I guess we'll see when the next bit of drama breaks loose in the ongoing controversies--personally, I'd give it no more than a week--but in the meantime here's some bits and pieces of info.

First, the...

...Jordan Livability blog may not follow the Johnny Northside maxim to "pour on the content," but it has some good and detailed info. Here's a recent post, click here, which gives more info on the missing equipment controversies and some details about freezing the bank accounts which can't be found anywhere else.

A subsequent post on that same blog, click here, gives a rundown on events leading up to the elections, basically showing everything was in order. There was no coup or, heaven forbid, "hijacc" of the board. It was an election. After an election, it's somebody's bleak duty to get roaring drunk in the bar and stagger home depressed to cry in their pillow. The first stage of crushing electoral defeat is denial but, as we can see, some people never manage to leave that stage.

JACC Executive Director--A Cursed Position?

Here's a story which just hit in the Pioneer Press, click here. Jonathon Palmer, a former executive director of JACC, is being sued for allegations of sexual harassment. I happened upon this story while fishing all over the internet, looking for new information about the controversy in Jordan.

Like the Professor of Dark Arts position at Hogwart's Academy, in the Harry Potter book series, the position of JACC Executive Director may be, well...cursed.

Images: Apartment Complex of Anarchy Goes Down, Day Two





Photos By John Hoff

In the top photo, the front steps remained near the end of today's demolition activities. A whole lot of drugs were dealt from those steps, and it will take a lot of effort--even by a powerful backhoe--to rid the neighborhood of those accursed steps.

Second photo, a "fault line" appears in the front of the structure shortly before the backhoe took some serious, fatal whacks at the peaked portion. At one point, a crazed squirrel ran on top of the building, started the backhoe right in the eye, held its ground for a moment...then heeded the sensible impulse to retreat, RETREEEEEEEEEAT.

Third photo, some copper pipes pulled from the building. Hard to believe, but there were still a few copper pipes in hard-to-access places ripped open by the backhoe. The water hose was used to decrease the amount of dust in the air, but often it was a case of whistling in the wind.

In the fourth picture, this guy had to deal with trailing wires dragged along with scoops full of material deposited in the dumpster by the backhoe. A dirty job, but somebody had to do it.

Last photo; the Apartment Complex of Anarchy leaves our neighborhood in a fitting way...pulverized and packed in a series of large dumpsters. 

(Do not click "Read More") 

Good Riddance, Apartment Complex Of Anarchy (3101 6th St. N.) Day Two

Photo By John Hoff

"The Apartment Complex of Anarchy," the site of so much drug dealing and chaos, has been nearly reduced to rubble. The distinctive front doorway with a high, pointed roof is now down, and given the pace of the demolition it appears the entire building will be down today. Already, one super-sized dumpster of debri has been hauled away and another is loaded, ready to go.

There is a sense of quiet joy and triumph in the neighborhood. Fourth Precinct Commander Mike Martin came by, briefly, and watched the demolition, speaking to Peter Teachout, Chair of the Hawthorne Neighborhood Association, who lives nearby. 

Notably, the demolition crew happened upon several large copper pipes and pulled these aside. Yes, despite the energetic efforts of an army of desperate crackheads, a lot of copper was missed and that scrap has now ended up in the hands of honest, hardworking people.

(Do not click "Read More")

Monday, January 26, 2009

"New Majority" In Jordan Neighborhood Discusses Evidence Of Financial Irregularity

Photo By John Hoff

Today I dropped by 2009 James Ave. N., the headquarters of the Jordan Area Community Council (JACC) where the "New Majority" faction is firmly in power. Secretary Anne McCandless was sitting at a table, going through mail and, according to her own account, trying to piece together clues about what had been happening to the organization in the last few years while it was under the control of the "Old Majority."

Yes, I was told my "New Majority" and "Old Majority" labels were sticking...

There was frustration in the air as I entered. McCandless had a letter in her hand from a collection agency, demanding $1,506.62 for an electric bill. This didn't make sense. How could there be such a large unpaid electric bill?

McCandless and another person in the office sorted through the paperwork, making calls, figuring out the puzzle. In a short while the mystery was solved. JACC didn't owe an electric bill. Yes, the JACC electric bill had been overdue, recently, to the tune of $490.59. When former Executive Director Jerry Moore had called the electric company to shut off the power, the company told him he first needed to pay the outstanding bill, and THEN they would shut off the power. So, somehow, Moore paid the electric bill, then tried to shut off the power. But the power never got shut off. The electric company did some double-checking, first.

So the light bill had been paid. What, then, was the deal with this bill for $1,506.62? A call to the collection agency appeared to produce the following information: this was Jerry Moore's PERSONAL bill, not a bill owed by JACC. The collection agency was just trying to track down Jerry Moore.

"Um," I asked. "Why would somebody let their electric bill go for so long?"

McCandless laughed. She started showing me things, telling me things.

Item One; unpaid JACC gas bill due to Centerpoint Energy, $602.71.

Item Two; unpaid rent. How far back was rent unpaid on 2009 James Ave. N? According to McCandless, three or four months.

Item Three, JACC corporate charter filed with the office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. According to McCandless, Jerry had not been paying the annual fee and allowed JACC's corporate status to lapse for two years. JACC was due to be dissolved, but through the efforts of McCandless and a very nice, helpful person at the Secretary of State's Office, the fees were now paid, and JACC was in no danger of losing its corporate status.

Item Four, freezing the bank accounts. According to McCandless, Jerry Moore had not only written out a personal check to himself for $1,500 since being fired by the JACC board, but another check for $680 has been cashed by the bank (Franklin Bank) as well. (I didn't find out who wrote the check, or who cashed it) However, the bank account was now frozen. McCandless stated "several" checks had been presented to the bank, but not cashed. I tried to find out the meaning of "several." To McCandless, it meant four or more.

McCandless told me about four board members "marching in" to Franklin Bank and demanding the JACC accounts be frozen. A bank manager said, well, this extraordinary request would require a conversation with the bank's lawyers.

"Fine," McCandless and others agreed. "So go get the lawyers. We'll wait."

So they waited. And soon they had the accounts frozen.

I asked McCandless about when another executive director would be hired. According to McCandless, this will take place no time soon. There is little money left in the accounts to pay a new executive director. And members of the board are trying to figure out how to keep the organization running as the pieces are put together about what, exactly, happened in the last few years. Meanwhile, some members of JACC are still dealing with defamation lawsuits filed by (Old Majority member) Ben Myers.

In saying these things, McCandless showed no sign of being discouraged, of quitting. She talked about the long, dark midnight that went on for years, in which she and others were relegated to "vocal minority" status, and members of the "Old Majority" warned new board members to have nothing to do with these malcontents, squeaky wheels, and "racists" who were only there to disrupt. And yet McCandless said she and others kept pushing for answers, asking questions, never letting up.

At first, McCandless said, Board Member Dan Rother (pictured above, left) was not friendly to their point of view. Indeed, Rother would not even speak to members of the "New Majority" at first. And yet, bit by bit, Rother came around to their way of thinking. Now the New Majority appears firmly in control of JACC headquarters, and backed by city officials. Very little seems certain, but this much I can say for sure: the lights are on and somebody is home.

This blog is open to receiving comments and information from all sides in this conflict and I again wish to make that clear.

"The Apartment Complex Of Anarchy" (3101 6th St. N.) Goes Down, Story In Words

Photo By John Hoff

I was on my way to pick up some dry cleaning, when I thought I'd drive through the Eco Village just to see what was happening, just to make sure my former block was secure. I had just fixed my left taillight after a not-unpleasant encounter with the Minneapolis Police Department the night before. From the east, 3101 6th St. N. looked the same as ever. But as I drove by, The Backhoe of Doom reared its head like a mythical bog beast...

The orange monster was hip-deep in wreckage, but showed no sign of stopping. It was snowing shingles. Cinderblocks popped beneath its treads like walnuts. If ancient humans had beheld such a site, they would have erected temples and brought little doll houses to sacrifice. Forget picking up dry cleaning. It was time to fetch batteries for my camera. It was time to start working the cell phones and alerting friends in Hawthorne to the joyous, long-awaited news.

Ding Dong, The Wicked Apartment Complex Is Dead

Jeff Skrenes needed a nap, badly, but he wasn't going to miss THIS. Even police cars were pulling up, briefly, to watch. I knocked on the door of the Teachout residence, and JoyAnne greeted me. Yes, she said, she had been wondering about that NOISE. Several minutes later she walked over, bundled up, holding a camera. It was too cold to stay for more than a few moments, but I snapped some pictures with her camera as she posed. 

"The Polish Lady" arrived for a visit, too, in leather slippers and a head scarf. Later she told me the building had been there since before 1961, when she had moved into her house, but at some point there had been a renovation of the exterior; that's when the shingles were extended over the sides. I always thought the look was distinctively 1970s, and reminds me of certain restaurant chains.

"Patty Cake" arrived in her cute little blue VW, then drove to her house to pick up Aunt Lizzie's teapot, filled with cocoa. Sitting in my van, me and Jeff toasted to "a rat free Eco Village." It was too cold for any beverage but cocoa, but still we toasted. How long had we waited for this moment? 

"Was it everything you ever imagined?" I asked Jeff. He agreed it was, "only much colder." 

We shared stories with the demolition crew and their family support system, which was also on the scene. This was no ordinary building, no ordinary demolition. This was a symbol of our progress in the Eco Village.


We Have Come Far, We Have Far To Go

While the building was demolished, fairly obvious drug traffic stilled flowed from 3020 6th St. N., but at one point a squad car sat at the intersection of 6th and 31st, taking some kind of coffee break, or just watching. It was encouraging. Clearly, this was a low and demoralizing moment at 3020--seeing yet another building come down in the unstoppable march toward neighborhood revitalization--and the presence of the squad car seemed (even unintentionally) to rub in the feeling of impending, total defeat of drug dealing on that part of 6th Street North. 

3020 6th St. N. Is Still A Problem

If only the squad cars would stop near 3020 6th St. N. all the time and take their lunch breaks. Really, you can hardly get better, more affordable food than the stuff at Bangkok Deli. (Well, admittedly the "pork organ stir fry" is not everybody's cup of testes, but there's plenty of other good stuff and, honestly, if people would just TRY the testes, they'd be as hooked as me!) 

I will not think too much about what remains to be done. This was a great day, and the demolition will apparently continue in earnest first thing tomorrow morning. 

We are still getting used to the idea of 3101 6th St. N. being really, completely GONE and not just an empty wreck of a building. 

I am contemplating the possibility of people having picnics on that spot, buying hot food from right next door, once the grass grows back. Now we are in the cold heart of winter, we are in the dark center of our struggle to change this neighborhood into something better, but spring and light are coming. 

"The Apartment Complex Of Anarchy" (3101 6th St. N.) Goes Down, Story In Pictures, PART THREE






Photos By John Hoff

Top Photo; Congratulations, Shirley G., former owner of 3101 6th St. N., you just won a lifetime supply of TOOTHPICKS!!!!!!!!

In the second photo, Jeff excitedly calls various people, holds up his cell phone and says, "Can you hear THAT? Do you know what that sound is...? That's 'The Apartment Complex of Anarchy' being demolished."

Third photo; at least five different squad cars drove by, some stopping to watch the demolition with pensive-yet-satisfied expressions. It seemed like some kind of word went out over the police communication network, and everybody wanted to get a look-see. This was no ordinary demolition. This building was infamous. 

Tonight a high-ranking police officer sent me a message, telling me "The Apartment Complex of Anarchy" was being demolished. I told him to look for the pictures on Johnny Northside Dot Com. 

Fourth photo, that's me giving a double thumbs-up. It's cold enough for two stocking caps. The other day I saw my 11-year-old son had taken up the practice of wearing two stocking caps and I thought, "That's my boy." 

Fifth photo, Hawthorne Housing Director Jeff Skrenes poses like Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune. For many years you could buy SO MUCH MORE than a vowel at the "open air drug market" of 3101 6th St. N. 

Last photo; a lone toilet sits for a moment...and then The Backhoe of Doom turns it to a chalky residue of ceramic dust. 

"The Apartment Complex Of Anarchy" (3101 6th St. N.) Goes Down, Story In Pictures, PART TWO





Photos By John Hoff

Top photo; the unstoppable fury of The Backhoe of Doom. 

Second photo; "The Polish Woman" walked up from her house, wearing leather slippers, to witness the demise of 3101 6th St. N. It was very cold out, so she didn't stay long, but she posed for a photo. Later that night, she found some Polish sausages in her freezer to share with me and Jeff. It is becoming a tradition in the Eco Village to celebrate demolition with Polish sausage. 

The third photo shows where demolition ended when the hose broke, and though the hose was fixed there was not enough daylight to continue. Roughly one third of 3101 6th St. N. was demolished, roughly 1/3 remained. 

Fourth, The Backhoe of Doom leaves its distinctive claw marks in the snow.

Fifth, some of the family of the backhoe operator who is, I believe, also the owner of the company. They were interested in the upcoming demolition of 3024 6th St. N. and whether the project had already been bid. I gave them a name: Kevin Gulden of PPL. You can try contacting him. Good luck. 

(Do not click "Read More") 

"The Apartment Complex Of Anarchy" (3101 6th St. N.) Goes Down, Story In Pictures, PART ONE




Photos By John Hoff and Jeff Skrenes

In the top photo, a single forelorn blue plastic clothes hanger is visible in the corner of a room as the Backhoe of Doom does its merciless work. At one point a guy in a silvery car pulled up and spoke to Jeff Skrenes, saying, "That used to be my kitchen."

"That's crazy!" Jeff said, agreeably, and avoided saying anything like, "What did you cook up in that kitchen? CRACK? Because that's why this place is coming down, and good riddance" or maybe "how much did you get for the copper pipes out of your kitchen?" or...or...

Sympathy is in short supply, here. No, rather, IT'S TIME TO DANCE THE HULA. 

Second photo, the attic crawl space is exposed. In the third photo, the backhoe is halted due to a broken hose, which caused liquid to spurt all over the scoop. The little boy is named "Jevin" and he is the son of the guy operating the backhoe. In the bottom photo, Jevin (age 2) stands with his dad. Though quite young, Jevin already knows what he wants to be when he grows up: a maker of fine-quality toothpicks. 

(Do not click "Read More") 

BREAKING NEWS: 3101 6th St. N., "The Apartment Complex of Anarchy," Is Partially Demolished. Job will reportedly be finished tomorrow, starting 8 am.

Photo By Jeff Skrenes Or John Hoff

There was no champagne handy, but we managed to toast with hot cocoa, which seemed appropriate given the weather. As of tonight, about 1/3 of 3101 6th St. N. is in a state that could only be described as "toothpicks." The rest is reportedly going to come down tomorrow, starting at 8 am.

Pictures, story to follow soon.

(Do not click "Read More")

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jordan Controversies, More Information Sources




In the course of covering the ongoing JACC controversy, I was made aware of something called the "Jordan Livability" blog. This blog...

...doesn't put out enough content, often enough, to develop much of an online following but shows real potential because all the posts are high-quality, exclusive, detailed information about events in the Jordan Neighborhood. Click here for a link to that Jordan Livability blog.

More Info On Past Al Flowers Controversies

Additionally, I've been doing some digging to find out information about Al Flowers, who has thrust himself to a lead role in the Jordan Neighborhood controversies. (Or, shall I say, PUSHED HIS WAY TO THE FRONT, ha ha)

Here's an article from IBBN, click here, that talks about Al Flowers and some very large amounts of money which--the IBBN blog appears to be asserting--can't really be accounted for fully. This other article from the Spokesman-Recorder, click here, has a different take.

Minnesota Daily Coverage Of Flowers Lawsuit Superior To Star Tribune Coverage

It should also be noted the Minnnesota Daily covered the Flowers lawsuit, click here for article, and I'd have to say their article was far and away better than the one in the Star Tribune. (I won't link to Star Tribune articles, as the links are scheduled to go dead)

The Star Tribune mentioned Councilman Don Samuels didn't comment, which is standard when city officials are served a lawsuit. But Minnesota Daily dug deeper, and managed to get commentary from witnesses at the scene. (Of course, Minnesota Daily had a little help from, um...an old Minnesota Daily columnist who was contacted on the phone, ha ha)