Monday, December 21, 2009

JNS BLOG EDITORIAL: Something Smells Rotten In Koenig-Land...

Gingerbread House Image From Michelle Koenig "Majestic Farm" Blog, Which Is Public, Click here to go to original image, image is reproduced for First Amendment purposes of criticism and commentary

In my opinion, and I'm entitled to one, Paul Koenig should be in jail for what he has done to North Minneapolis with his slummy Pamiko Properties fiasco, extensively documented on this blog and--back channel information has it--increasingly on the radar of public officials. (I will write about that if and when I can) The degree of involvement of Paul's wife, Michelle, is unknown, so I'm not sure whether (in my opinion) SHE should be in jail, but based on information available from her extensive "majestic farm" blog posts, click here, it appears she is enjoying a lifestyle derived--at least in part--from Paul Koenig's extensive and ongoing victimization of North Minneapolis through slumlord activities.

I would STRONGLY SUGGEST readers click on this link and check out Michelle Koenig's blog posts NOW, before the blog and the information it contains disappears. Hopefully, the person(s) asked to make screen shots of the information are hard at work, because it is not the nature of this blog to sit on information and play back room policy wonk. Information wants to be free. Fly, information about the Koenigs, you're free, you're free!

At this point, it might be good to review how this Pamiko story emerged and evolved...

It all started with Hawthorne Housing Board Member Michael Klick, though this information might surprise Michael. See, Michael was compiling a list of properties in Hawthorne which it might be good for the city to acquire for demolition and/or rehab, but probably demolition. We were particularly interested in clusters of bad properties, since our experience tells us that revitalization in clusters has a bigger impact than a house here, a house there. Michael had a pretty good list of houses in his own Hawthorne Neighborhood quadrant, but the Housing Committee agreed a more extensive list should be compiled and turned over to CPED for consideration.

In the course of compiling this list, Hawthorne Housing Director Jeff Skrenes discovered a foreclosure with a shockingly large value attached, the "slumdog millionaire" house on Bryant Ave. N.

So picture this, gentle reader. Jeff calls me up--I'm on the road driving, as usual, and I remember I was on a break at a Flying J truck stop with an extensive collection of trucker cuisine, which has been evolving and getting dinosaur-large in proportion while nobody was looking. I distinctly remember sitting in the dark cab of my vehicle munching on a Polish sausage shish kabob--with green pepper and onion--while Jeff was telling me about this very odd foreclosure with the large amount of money associated with it. Jeff thought it was quite notable, and maybe even the tip of some kind of ice berg of mortgage irregularity, but at this point ALL JEFF HAD was the "slumdog millionaire" house information.

Jeff didn't think the info he'd developed was very extensive. He thought maybe the info should be developed more but, geez, how should one go about it? And--between bites of Polish sausage shish kabob--I told Jeff about All The President's Men, a book every aspiring student in journalism school gets around to reading for class at least ONCE. I told Jeff how the entire Watergate story started out as a small item about a rather odd burglary with some interesting characters involved. Nobody knew where the story would go at the time, but the Washington Post operated on a principal of "publish what we've got." And the story went somewhere. It went all kinds of places. The rest is history.

Jeff published what we had in a blog post about the "slumdog millionaire" house on Bryant Avenue North. (My label, not Jeff's) Within a short while, a highly-placed source kicked a list of Pamiko properties to Jeff, which resulted in more blog posts and more information coming available. All along, readers contributed more valuable bits and pieces of info. Then it was time to start contacting reporters and public officials.

Now it appears that some public officials and journalists are interested. In fact, it was word that a particular large media entity had been making pointed inquiries which spurred this blog post. I am working under the assumption the Koenigs are aware of what is being written here, so there's no point in pretending NoMi neighborhood activists are not reading their "majestic farm" blog and finding out about their (expletive) horsey hobby, supported on the bleeding back of our neighborhood.

According to a neighborhood source, Paul Koenig was involved in the "dream homes" fiasco which involved putting up prefabricated slabs of solidified crap and calling them a home. The dream homes fiasco is not extensively documented, and hopefully this blog can change that in the future--photo tour, Hawkman?--but here is some information I found making mention of it, click here.

My opinion: Paul Koenig needs to be in jail. I only hope public officials act quickly before evidence of criminal wrongdoing (if, indeed, there was any) is destroyed and authorities are looking for him in (expletive) Belize. (A hypothetical (expletive) example)

Paul Koenig--you predatory scum--if you want to answer for yourself, there is a comments thread below. If you see protestors on the sidewalk in front of your oh-so-nice home, don't bother calling the police--we will have already contacted them beforehand.

Slumlord Bashir Moghul Wounded By Random Gunfire In A Micro-Slum Of His Own Creation And Johnny Northside Is So, So Sad...

Stock Photo, My Son Alex With Crime Scene Tape, Photo By John Hoff

In regard to my headline: sarcasm font.

First of all, I don't wish evil upon Bashir Moghul nor, for that matter, upon most living creatures. So I'm trying very hard to be all Christmas spirity and think, "Oh, Bashir Moghul got hit by random gunfire while visiting his property at 623 26th Ave. N. on December 13? Why, that's TERRIBLE."

But when I try to get into the spirit of Christmas and think "Ho, ho, ho" all I can picture are...

The hoes walking down Penn Avenue North, an area which neighborhood revitalizers are trying SO HARD to change, but it's a long, difficult struggle when you've got rancid characters like Bashir Moghul creating such slumified conditions.

Lately, what I see in North Minneapolis are "micro slums." There are relatively large areas which are peaceful, and getting more affluent all the time, especially since NoMi was named "Gayborhood of the Year" two years running. And then there are rough areas which may consist of a few blocks or an area as small as one crappy house filled to the rafters with crappy people. These "micro slums" are endangered by revitalization as surely as litter is endangered by a stick with a nail, and good riddance, but it doesn't happen overnight. Thugs and slumlords resist the trend. And Bashir Moghul is a slumlord, as evidenced by his dealings with HUD, click here, or a recent unsuccessful legal appeal about one of his crappy buildings that had to be torn down, click here. 


I got word by text message of some kind of shooting at 623 26th Ave. N., in the area formerly known as "Desolation Row," then renamed "Paths of Victory" in a much-too-obscure Dylan reference, but recently I heard a neighborhood activist named Brian Finstad suggest the area be called "Woodland" after the name of the addition on the plat. Good idea. Done. This area near Farview Park is now called "Woodland." And the Farview Park Historic District is in Woodland. Please make a note of it. 

Was I on a tangent? I was. But isn't it interesting how the little paths of our lives go this way and that way, seemingly without a grand plan, but sometimes somewhere along the path there is some DIVINE RANDOM BULLET OF DESTINY with your name on it or--if not your name, precisely--perhaps the bullet says "TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN." And the rest of the message reads: HELLO. I AM YOUR DESTINY. THINK ABOUT WHY THIS IS. THINK ABOUT WHAT GOD IS TELLING YOU.

So, anyhow, I was out on the road doing my driving job, and after I got word of the shooting from Jeff "Hawthorne Hawkman" Skrenes, I sent the information along to my Twitter account while on break. Not sure where I was. Texas maybe. It was WARM. I was wearing short sleeves and loving my job, humble as it may be. All we knew at that point was "some kind of shooting" happened at 623 26th Ave. N., a property owned by Bashir Moghul.

Later, a rumor came from a trusted source--through another party, pretty trustworthy where this kind of information is concerned--and then to a person I frequently use as a trusted source. I say this so the reader may judge the quality of the information, which I judge good enough for blogosphere standards in light of matching info. The rumor was as follows: Bashir Moghul was the person hit in the shooting at 623 26th Ave. N. (JNS blog addendum: Police report now confirms the validity of the information, with the additional info that a relative named Mohammad Moghul was also treated at the scene) 

So this information was matched up with info from the "police highlights," which go out by email weekly and--thankfully--the Minneapolis Crime Watch blog reproduces the highlights so this stuff turns up in search engines. The date and circumstances of this particular incident, see below, matched the police highlights info that none-other-than Bashir Moghul was the person hit in the shooting on December 13.


6XX 26 Av N Sunday 12-13-09 15:30 hrs 09-377412

Officers were in area when a “shots” call came in and flagged down by 2 males. V1/unk race male – 58 yrs. had a gun shot wound to lower leg while getting tools from their parked vehicle. They were not the intended target. 2 suspect vehicles were shooting at each other just south of intersection. Neither had a description of vehicles except a “green” car and a “white” car. Officers located a white Chevy Lumina/MN UCH176 w/possible bullet lodged inside the door. O1 stated S1/unk BM 510” /medium build wearing black Carhart jacket w/black hoodie and red/wh/blk Jordan shoes had the gun and shot 5 – 6 times.

(End of police highlight) 

Now you may think "Random bullets are random" but I say God has a plan. And that plan involves Jeff Skrenes--the Hawthorne Hawkman--doing a photo tour of the slummy properties of Bashir Moghul some time in the very near future, and then me buying Jeff beer.

Oh, I should add this: Get well soon, Bashir--if it was really you who got hit by the bullet, reportedly, allegedly, rumor has it, so we hear--so you can take care of your vast collection of MICRO SLUMS. (JNS blog addendum: info confirmed. It was Bashir. Get well soon, Bashir. Allegedly) 

This post belongs to Johnny Northside alone and nobody else is responsible for its dark, snarkified tone.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pamiko Property Photo Tour

Guest post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman. Image from

Inspired by this weekend's release of "Avatar," easily the most in-depth 3-D movie ever made, I wanted to give JNS readers a similar visual experience. However, writing the links to each individual property is incredibly time-intensive. So for the fullest interactive version of the Pamiko photo tour, I recommend opening the unabridged list in a different window and viewing the two posts side-by-side. I will keep the photos in the exact order of that list.

Oh, I almost forgot. The Koenigs own a racehorse. I just thought you should know that little factoid.

ADDENDUM: An alert JNS Reader has sent in a photo of what one property in particular, 3025 Clinton Ave S USED to look like. Not that all or necessarily any of the "damage" was done while Pamiko owned the house, but it gives a visual example of how these homes get remodeled into something that only appeals to slumlords or those few with the inclination and ability towards restoration.

There are 58 properties in all, so let's get started. Please keep your hands inside the cart at all times, and make sure to have your protective eye gear on the "Slum-o-vision" setting...

First up is 3053 15th Ave S

Next is 1414 16th Ave N. This is the first property on our list where we note an architectural feature unique to Pamiko Properties: The Pamiko Rail. This was pointed out by "Hillside Chronicle." The Pamiko Rail typically consists of two plastic posts with an unpainted block of wood connecting the two. There are minor variations, but if you see a handrail like this, you can be sure you're looking at a Pamiko house.

Here is 1812 16th Ave S. Is that a bathtub in the backyard?

2736 16th Ave S has a whole host of problems. On top of the Pamiko Rail, we also have plenty of unfinished construction, loads of chipping paint, and windows that are just visually insulting.

Here's 1318 18th Ave N

1017 22nd Ave N gives us a variation on the railings, where they're made entirely out of wood.

1100 24th Ave N has some actual interesting architectural features that Pamiko hasn't managed to destroy (yet). The garage is boarded, and there are shoes on the power lines RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE HOUSE.

2402 4th Ave S is next.

2119 4th St N has a for-rent sign out front. Take a look at those railings. Notice that they didn't even bother to take off the stickers. What's the point? If you lose the house to foreclosure before 90 days, you can probably just take those posts and return them to Home Depot for a refund.

3242 6th St N is apparently going for the "shiniest door of the year" award.

2701 Aldrich Ave N has another part of the structure that still has the price tags on: the block windows. We also see the Pamiko rail put to multiple uses.

How sad is it when 3238 Aldrich Ave N would actually be IMPROVED by a Pamiko Rail? There is actually a wheelchair-accessible ramp in the back, which is just ironic given the front. And does this qualify as another "Neapolitan house"?

4652 Aldrich Ave N is the site of one of Pamiko's three known multimillion-dollar foreclosures. What's going on with the siding/window?

2420 Bryant Ave N has already been profiled on this blog as the property that kicked off this whole issue.

2708 Bryant Ave N is registered as a duplex, but I'm looking at this house and thinking there are four units here.

2931 Bryant Ave N has plenty of peeling/chipping paint as well, and here you can see the evolution of windows from historic to slummy.

2616 Cedar Ave S has some graffiti on the south side of the property. This is one thing I noticed in south Minneapolis; that the graffiti seems to be MUCH WORSE than over north, yet we're the neighborhood with a bad rap.

2905 Colfax Ave N is fairly nondescript.

At 2918 Colfax Ave N, we learn that you can put tinsel on a Pamiko Rail, but it's still a Pamiko Rail. Also, we've got mismatched STUCCO, with siding that converted a porch to probably another bedroom.

3101 Dupont Ave N has Pamiko Rails and it's hard to tell if those doors are supposed to be replaced or taken away.

4100 Dupont Ave N is boarded and the front door is profiled as the lead image of this post.

1317 Emerson Ave N almost has it all: Pamiko Rails, multiple price tags and stickers left on the construction material, bad window jobs. The only thing it's missing is mismatched siding.

2827 Emerson Ave N has a railing made entirely out of wood, but still looks terrible.

3531 Emerson Ave N has a "for rent" sign out front covered in snow. I didn't bother fixing that little problem.

2316 Fremont Ave N really gets my gander up. Look at what he did to those windows on the second floor! Oh, and there's a weird opening on the garage that's open to trespass.

2719 Fremont Ave N has window issues as well.

3223 Fremont has yet another Pamiko Rail.

1605-7 Girard Ave N has a half-Pamiko Rail.

1622 Girard Ave N looks rather nice comparatively. Until you see the RAILINGS!!!

2706 Girard Ave N has the most, um, creative railing so far.

And here's 2710 Girard Ave N.

I'm not sure what's being used to plug a hole in the window at 2727 Girard Ave N. There's also a "for rent" sign out front that directs people to call Pamiko.

1547 Hillside Ave N has the shortest Pamiko Rail to date. Look at that! It's like they're just TAUNTING us!

1608 Hillside Ave N is DEFINITELY another "Neapolitan house." It also has Pamiko rails, and is that a STROLLER on the ROOF?

1611 Hillside Ave N looks pretty nice, actually. But take a closer view of the railing on the front stairs. It's perfectly fine, so does Pamiko just have a COMPULSION to make the railing that ugly?

And here's 2013 Hillside Ave N.

2420 James looks like it's already gone through foreclosure if an REO Realtor is selling it. And a notice torn off of the door indicates that the owner in 2007 had illegal occupants.

Here's 1211 Knox Ave N.

I thought I had pictures of 1417 Logan already, but perhaps not. I'll have to remedy that shortly.

And 2400 Lyndale Ave N.

726 Morgan Ave N is next.

2943 Morgan Ave N marks the return of the Pamiko Rails.

1016 Newton Ave N is next.

1507 Newton Ave N has something ugly happening to the windows.

1229 Oliver Ave N has Pamiko Rails, and can someone tell me why the balconies have those wooden things built in? Is it an attempt to meet some city code?

3015 Oliver Ave N has more Pamiko Rails.

817 Penn Ave N is above-average, but for Pamiko, that's not saying a whole lot.

907 Penn Ave N starts to get us back into familiar territory.

2435 Portland Ave S is up next.

Here's 3119 Queen Ave N.

1340 Sheridan Ave N just might be the nicest house out of the whole lot.

2314 Sheridan Ave N, on the other hand...not so much.

621 26th Ave N just makes me depressed. That balcony and porch weren't originally closed in like that. Somebody decided to convert this into more rentable rooms for a duplex. And look at the crummy window repair!

818 19th Ave NE is the only Pamiko property in Northeast. One look, and you'll understand why it's a Pamiko.

2321 Lyndale Ave N looks much the same.

Here's 1403 21st Ave N.

This concludes photos from the original list. But there's still a few loose ends to tie up.

3025 Clinton Ave S does not show up under a search on the city records, although it was an address given to me by JNS readers. It's got a lot going on though. And it does show up as owned by Minnwest Bank on the tax rolls.

Here's a shot of 3025 Clinton Ave S in its former glory.

2119 4th St N was another new property that wasn't on any previous list. This is a duplex owned by Pamiko and more than one year behind on taxes. For some reason, I forgot to get a shot of the front. But look at the rear of this property:

3213 4th St N is also a new property. While neither of these two properties show up on foreclosure searches, they were both listed under the multimillion-dollar foreclosures and can be expected to be owned by Minnwest Bank in the near future.

Finally, this blog listed several properties that did not show up anywhere: 828 19th Ave N and 1318 Queen Ave N. Since I didn't get hard copies, I can't be sure if my notes are correct. However, neither of these properties exist, and both are on the mortgage documents. If my notes are indeed accurate then this is certainly fraud.

Oh, and lest we forget, the Koenigs have a racehorse. We just get stuck with their horseshit.