Some weeks ago, KSTP reported the arrest of Travis Randolph Lee, 52, on a charge (not yet proven) of third degree criminal sexual conduct. Though the story names Travis R. Lee, and a mugshot can be found online for the arrest, KSTP does not mention Lee's prominent place in North Minneapolis politics as the husband of former Fifth Ward City Council Person Natalie Johnson Lee. Travis Lee is also the publisher of The Trendsetter, a publication that, it can be charitably said, appears from time to time.
After losing office, Natalie Johnson Lee tried again, unsuccessfully, to regain the Fifth Ward seat and is considered by many to be a likely candidate for any future Fifth Ward race.
JNS blog has confirmed the arrest report concerns the same Travis Randolph Lee who is married to Natalie Johnson Lee. I confirmed this by speaking to blogger Don Allen, who (Don Allen states) has personally known Travis Lee for approximately 25 years and...
...Allen communicated with Travis about the arrest, urging Travis to appear upon Allen's radio show to discuss Travis Lee's side of the story. But Travis Lee is not making any public statements at this time. JNS blog predicts if this thing goes to trial, an attempt will be made to blame Demon Rum.
Fairly and squarely, I will point out Travis Lee has no arrest record in Minnesota and has not even been dragged into civil trials, so near as I can determine from MNCIS.
But in 2005, Travis Randolph Lee's name was dragged into heated political discussion in the Fifth Ward race between Don Samuels (who won) and Natalie Johnson Lee (who lost the Fifth Ward seat to Samuels) That race in 2005 was characterized by the City Pages as one of the most ugly bouts of mudslinging in Minneapolis political history, click here for the story "Black On Black Grime." When I moved to the Northside in 2008, that story was the beginning of my eye-opening political education about this rough-and-tumble neighborhood.
In 2005, candidate Samuels characterized Travis R. Lee as a porn peddler, due to some of the content in Lee's "Trendsetter" newspaper, especially advertisements. (Something about "making bad girls look good?")
By the same standard, a respectable weekly paper like City Pages would also be "porn" due to the advertisements in the back, but it is perfectly understandable why Samuels, a minister, would make that criticism about The Trendsetter, which is unarguably a smutty rag during those infrequent times it appears...like mushrooms on the grassy boulevard after a hard rain. Media like "The Trendsetter" have been cheerleaders for a highly sexualized "anything goes" inner city culture.
But pillars of the black community like Don Samuels have cried out against that kind of thing, and tried to hold somebody like Travis Lee accountable for "hijacking" black culture. Samuels explains it so much better than this blogger. I could sit at that man's knee like a child, listening and becoming enlightened by Don Samuel's resonating words.
And now Travis R. Lee is charged with rape, in what seems to be a kind of wink wink, nudge nudge message from the universe all these years after the bloody and memorable 2005 Fifth Ward race, a message saying...
The Reverend Don Samuels was right about Travis Lee! Samuels was almost PROPHETICALLY right!
But Travis Lee is innocent until and unless proven guilty, so if Lee or his chosen spokesperson submits Lee's side to this blogger before I retire at the end of this month, I'll commit to publishing Lee's side in its totality with no editorializing.