post by John Hoff
Click here to view the 109-page transcript of the sentencing hearing from Thomas J. Balko and Jonathan Helgason, the "TJ Waconia" fraudsters who were sentenced to prison for their fraudulent activities involving scores of houses in North Minneapolis.
Thank You, Belatedly, Anonymous Source
A source who said he or she was "cleaning out their office computer" sent me this document, like, I think it was at least a year ago, maybe more.
But it was only recently I figured out how to make a PDF link for this document. Every other time I tried to make a link I had a problem and I presume it was because the document was LONG and my connection was SLOW.
Hey, I'm grassroots media. Often enough I freely admit my little technical struggles and why stories got delayed.
FREEDOM! (Somehow It Was More Inspiring When Mel Gibson Was Shouting It In "Braveheart" Then When Applied To The TJ Waconia Fraudsters)
Today I had a lot more luck, and it's actually a good and timely day to publish this transcript because freedom (precious, blessed freedom!) looms for...
...Thomas Balko and Johnathan Helgason. On August 18 they will both be released from federal prison.
(ADDENDUM, AUGUST 9: That info is incorrect. Only BALKO is being released. Jon Helgason is in prison until 2016. See additional addendum at bottom of page with further release info)
In fact, it would appear they have already been moved from the Duluth Federal Prison Camp to "Minneapolis RRM" for their transition from incarceration to freedom.
"RRM" means "Reception and Reentry Management." They enter and leave prison from the same "RRM" facility. How much it must feel like coming around full circle.
It doesn't seem THAT long ago I was at their sentencing hearing, but it was, in fact, half a decade ago.
Circle Of Life (It Was More Pure And Innocent When Being Sung In Disney's "Lion King")
My role as grassroots blogger media was actually born in the fiery fury of the TJ Waconia story, one of the first wider issues I ever focused upon. So what started out as a personal blog quickly became a grassroots media source when I figured out how easy it was to dig up relevant info that no other media entity had published, starting with nothing more but a simple list of the addresses involved in the fraud, click here for the list of addresses I ultimately compiled.
Now it's five years later. In a sense, I've also come around full circle, trying to figure out the future of this blog and what necessary adjustments I must make.
One relevant consideration is the fact Facebook groups like North Vent which did not exist when this blog started have taken on a new, highly prominent grassroots media role in the neighborhood. Click here for information about a little community garden organized completely through the efforts of these Facebook groups.
What, then, becomes the most useful role of this blog? The spectrum of social media activities in which it is possible to do something UNIQUE and HIGH IMPACT is becoming more and more narrow...
Oh, yes, there will be a role for this blog. But I think maybe it will be DIFFERENT, at least for a while. There are atypical periods like that in the half decade history of this blog. Heck, at one point I took an extended "vacation" in Afghanistan which really cut into my blogging.
Stay tuned for an announcement about the future of this blog in, I think, about a week. In the meantime I'll be doing exactly what I've been doing in the same way I've been doing it. Ah, yes, it seems there is some criminal history information I need to publish about Al Flowers...
Get Out And Stay Out Of North Minneapolis, "Investors," Mortgage Fraudsters, Landlord Robber Barons
The transcript linked above is interesting because it documents, in detail, the damage these TJ Wacoia fraudsters did to my neighborhood when their business operations went belly-up, leaving a wide trail of vacant houses in their wake with all the problems associated with empty houses in a crime-ridden neighborhood. Our neighborhood, stressed at it already was, has not yet recovered from their fraud. The echo of their criminal actions will be felt, it appears, almost infinitely. And this transcript is a testament to the ages, and a piece of documentation for any future researcher or historian.
But we have SO MANY things we've not yet recovered from; one problem stacked on top of another, even murdered bodies falling in our streets to the point city leaders perceive a crisis in crime and police staffing levels. So I doubt any media except this blog will publicly note the fact these prison sentences have been completed. There are so many other pressing issues.
And yet this blog marches on, one plodding boot step after another, toward "Urban Utopia."
Hope For The Future; Everybody's Future
I sincerely hope Thomas Balko and Jonathan Helgason will never, ever (through a corporation or personally) attempt to own another property in North Minneapolis after the horrible mess they made of my neighborhood, the finances of their many upset investors, and their own lives and the lives of their families.
I get a feeling they won't. Won't try to own property in North Minneapolis again, that is to say. If only others would learn from their example.
Here's hoping they turn their lives toward being productive citizens.
(ADDENDUM, AUGUST 9, SEE THIS INFO:)
|JONATHAN EDWARD HELGASON|
|Register Number: 13912-041|
|Located at: Yankton FPC|
|Release Date: 06/08/2016|