At about 11:15 AM today, while my lawyer Paul Godfread argued on my behalf at the Minnesota State Court of Appeals in my "tortious truth telling about a public figure" lawsuit, I was doing two of my favorite things at the same time: Blogging (in this case, about a candidate for State Senate named Troy E. Parker) and teasing out juicy info about my NEXT blog post, which is THIS one.
So I wasn't at the Court of Appeals. I wasn't even in the same state. I called to ask my attorney how it went, so I could write it up for my readers.
Write it up I shall, but the info I received late last night and earlier today is far more pressing...
Background, Moore's Involvement In The 1564 Hillside Ave. N. Mortgage Fraud
Many readers will recall that after the mortgage fraud at 1564 Hillside Ave. N., Larry Maxwell was found guilty and sent to prison for quite a while. His appeal was denied back in August of last year, while I was in Afghanistan, here's a link to the decision.
The sad little wreck of a house at 1564 Hillside Ave. N. had been sold by slumlord Keith Reitman to a fellow named John Foster, who had outstanding credit. But it turned out John Foster was actually an "imposter foster," a crackhead named Jerome Kingrussell who had been put up to impersonating John Foster. The sale was a fraud, orchestrated by Larry Maxwell.
So when the house was sold, disbursements were made to various entities. One of the disbursements was a check for $5,000 to J.L. Moore Consulting for "windows." Jerry Moore was the man behind J.L. Moore consulting. At that time, Moore was a sheer force-of-personality in North Minneapolis politics, a divisive power to be reckoned with in the entity known as the Jordan Area Community Council, known as JACC.
But when the criminal indictment was made against Larry Maxwell, the role of Jerry Moore was mentioned in the complaint. Click here to view the actual criminal complaint in PDF form. Somehow (I myself am not sure how this happened) copies of the criminal complaint began to circulate among "movers and shakers" as well as "concerned citizens" in the neighborhood, which is not to say there's always a bright line between the two groups. It's fair to say people in the Jordan neighborhood were GOING NUTS over this info. Councilman Don Samuels questioned Moore about it. Moore tried to turn the tables, like, why was Samuels bringing this up?
But I wasn't even in the picture when any of this was happening.
Leaving My Hawthorne Neighborhood Comfort Zone
At some point, I received a phone call from Megan Goodmundson of the Jordan Neighborhood, who I had never met before. She referenced some positive mentions I had made of Jerry Moore on my blog. This might have been one of the articles referenced, click here. Goodmundson told me there were things I needed to know about Moore, and began dishing up interesting dirt like it was 32 flavors of Baskin Robbins ice cream.
At the time, I lived in the Hawthorne Neighborhood and I'd heard about the intense, bare knuckle politics in the Jordan Neighborhood. And I had met Jerry Moore a couple times. As I testified in court, when I was first looking for a house in North Minneapolis, and talking about my house search in a very public way as an (award winning) columnist in the Minnesota Daily, I met Jerry Moore and he talked to me for hours about neighborhood politics. He seemed likable and smart. And powerful. The little king of Jordan Neighborhood politics. I ended up moving to Hawthorne, however, so my association with Moore never became especially close or frequent.
But even in my first meeting with Moore, there were dark hints of conflict in the Jordan Neighborhood. I asked Moore a casual question about his qualifications for his position, and the only way I can describe it would be "he got all weird." He wanted to know what made me ask that question. "Who I had been talking to." And then he apologized and explained how a certain small faction of people on the JACC board made his life difficult with, for example, constant burdensome and picky requests for info.
Which, I should point out, is just the kind of thing I've done most of my life. Requested info from powerful people, info that was only going to shake stuff up, and THEY KNOW IT.
So...filed. Filed in the back of my mind. But when Megan Goodmundson called me, the feeling in the Hawthorne Neighborhood was "stay out of Jordan's politics. Those folks are CRAZY over there and you don't want to get dragged into the conflict."
Goodmundson mentioned the criminal complaint. I should take a look at this document, she said, and know the hidden facts about Moore, before I wrote things and held Moore up through my writing as a positive force in the community. Well, I had to agree "knowing facts" was good for a news writer. I said something offhand about how "I happen to like the guy," a sentence that Megan (who ultimately became my steady girlfriend) would jokingly throw in my face, from time to time, when Moore was later suing me.
The politics in Jordan, already rough, got rougher. An election for board members of JACC elected enough individuals to tip the balance against Jerry Moore, and the writing was upon the wall come election night. There was an altercation and Jerry Moore hit board member P.J. Hubbard in the face. A meeting of the newly-composed board was scheduled for the following night. But information was already flying through the neighborhood rumor mill. THERE WAS AN ACTUAL PHYSICAL ALTERCATION FOLLOWING THE ELECTION BETWEEN MEMBERS OF JACC.
I published what details I had about the altercation, click here and also here, though I was miffed to realize my attempts to get BOTH SIDES OF THE STORY INCLUDING JERRY MOORE'S had caused Don Allen's IBNN blog to beat me to the bloggy punch with news of the altercation.
There was going to be a board meeting of the new board following the tumultuous election. First item on the agenda might well turn out to be Jerry Moore's fate. Megan called me on the phone and urged me to be there. All I really needed was the exact time and place, I didn't really need much urging.
There was a bruising and complicated Roberts Rules of Order battle over board officers. And then the board with its new officers fired Jerry Moore. Months, years of battles followed as the "Old Majority" on the board scrapped with the "New Majority" over who were the legitimate JACC officers. Jill Clark represented the losers of that board battle. The matter is still in court, click here for recent coverage.
Following his ouster from being the executive director of JACC, Jerry Moore found a job doing mortgage research at the University of Minnesota. I wrote an article about Moore's new job and, it would be fair to say, expressed outrage the University had hired him. (HELLO!!! He was researching mortgages and the man had been involved with a mortgage fraud. Admittedly, he was not as big a fish as Larry Maxwell who went to prison, but Moore was swimming in the same school of sharks)
The Blogosphere Trial Of The Century Begins, Click Here For Theme Music
The lawsuit against me is a result of what I wrote and, to some extent, what I allowed to be published in the "comments" section. Click here for the article which "started the whole thing." Click here for a follow up article about Moore's termination.
So I didn't win at the lower court level, and I could go into detail about how flukey that was, and how confident I am of winning on appeal, and describe how the proceeding went today, but developments in ANOTHER civil suit are more urgent.
Melony Michaels, John Foster Sue Jerry Moore, Describe His Purported Role In The Fraud
After Larry Maxwell was convicted, John Foster (the real John Foster) filed a civil suit along with his wife, Melony Michaels. The use of Foster's identity had destroyed his once phenomenal credit rating. I mean, seriously, this guy pumped up his credit rating the way some people pump up their abdominal muscles. Do people NEED such perfect abdominal muscles? The question seems irrelevant to those who seek washboard abs. It's what they DO. Well, this is what John Foster DID. He pumped up his credit rating. And inadvertently made himself a prime target for identity theft at the hands of Larry Maxwell.
So Foster and Michaels sued a bevy of individuals alleged to be involved in the mortgage fraud at 1564 Hillside Ave. N.
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART TWO