Friday, April 30, 2010

Uncooperative Crime Victims From Recent Police Highlights...

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

Following up on my repeated mentions of the "uncooperative victims problem" in North Minneapolis, and how authorities need to use new tactics to break through this "do not snitch thug code," super citizen Megan Goodmundson of the Jordan Neighborhood sifted through some of the recent "police highlights" for the Fourth Precinct, and found numerous examples of the problem...

Check out these reports and judge for yourself whether uncooperative victims are just as big a problem in North Minneapolis as criminals.

ASSAULT3-Significant Bodily Harm
18th Ave N & Newton Ave N Tuesday 4/20/10 1600 hrs 10-109576
V1/BM, 31 yrs, flagged down officer & advised that he was punched in the jaw by S1/BM, 19 yrs. The right side of V1’s jaw was swollen, & possibly broken. V1 declined further suspect info & does not wish to cooperate in the prosecution of this case. V1 transported to the hospital by his brother.

ASSAULT3/Significant Bodily Harm
Broadway Ave W & Emerson Ave N Sunday 4/25/10 1435 hrs 10-114879
Officers were flagged down to check an assault victim. V1/BM, 29 yrs, had an apparent broken arm & stated unknown S1/BM, 20-40 yrs, & S2/BF, 20-40 yrs arrived in an SUV & assaulted him. V1 was unresponsive to questions & said “I don’t want no police.” V1 was transported via ambulance to the hospital. No further info. Suspects GOA.

(JNS says: Wow! Check out the one below. Two female thugs attacking a guy and gal because they "snitched" and even their small children are involved in the attack? Whoa)

21ST Ave N & Broadway Ave W Monday 4/26/10 2030 hrs 10-116323
V1/BF, 25 yrs, was in a vehicle with her boyfriend, V2/BM, 21 yrs, when they were approached by females & children in another vehicle. S1/BF, 30-35 yrs, ran up to V2 & yelled at him. V1 recognized the females as relatives of a male she recently ID’d as being involved in a robbery of person near her house. S1 hit V2 in the face & then V1 got out of the vehicle & they began fighting. S1 told the victims they were going to be killed for putting her brother in jail. V1 fled, & S2/BF, 20-22 yrs, followed in her vehicle, stopping to swing a bat at V1, hitting her 3 times. The children in suspect’s vehicle also attacked V1. V1 was able to get away when V2 picked her up in his vehicle. V1 refused medical. Suspects GOA.

WEAP/Carry a Weapon w/out a Permit
29XX Oliver Ave N Saturday 4/24/10 2153 hrs 10-113114
Officers were dispatched to a possible Narcotics sale. Officers approached a vehicle w/the engine running & immediately noticed the barrel of a handgun protruding from underneath the front passenger seat. AP1/BM, 17 yrs, was removed from the vehicle at gunpoint & placed in handcuffs. AP1 stated he was waiting in the car for his cousin & that the vehicle belonged to someone else. AP1 would not provide further info & was booked at JDC for being Under 18 with a pistol.

(The next ones from previous week's highlights)

ASSAULT 2/w a Dangerous Weapon
33XX Oliver Ave N Wednesday 4/14/10 0228 hrs 10-102334
V1/BM, 23 yrs, had been kidnapped & carjacked in a different city & transported to Mpls. V1 was able to break out of the trunk & get away from armed suspects as they shot at him. V1 was transported to the hospital for minor injuries (no gunshots). V1 does not know S1/BM, 20-24 or S2/BM, 20-24 yrs, but S2 held a black & silver semi-automatic on him during the kidnapping process. V1 was vague & somewhat uncooperative with officers.

ASSAULT2/w a Dangerous Weapon
42nd Ave N & Lyndale Ave N Monday 4/19/10 1230 hrs 10-108259
V1/BF, 27 yrs, was approached by S1 & S2, both black females, no further information. V1 got into a fist fight with S1 after an argument. S2 pulled V1 off S1 & S1 pulled out a knife, stabbing V1 in the right forearm. V1 phoned her boyfriend who transported her to the hospital. V1 was very uncooperative with officers & would not provide any information. Suspects GOA.

ASSAULT2/with a Dangerous Weapon
44th Ave N & Fremont Ave N Sunday 4/11/10 2045 hrs 10-099889
V1/BM, 28 yrs, was in Webber Park for a picnic when he heard a shot from off in the distance & was struck in the abdomen. V1 drove himself to the hospital. No suspect information. Friends & family who were at the picnic, gathered in front of the hospital but began leaving as officers asked questions. V1 was not cooperative with information. V1’s injury is non-life threatening.

This are fairly typical events, unfortunately. And they will continue to be typical until the authorities grasp this pattern and find effective new tactics to break through this resistance.

Yet Another Level Three Sex Offender Dumped In North Minneapolis...

State mug shots are in the public domain, blog post by John Hoff

A citizen of the Hawthorne Neighborhood forwarded me some information from the Department of Corrections about yet another Level Three sex offender being dumped in North Minneapolis.

Out in places like Chaska, they call a community meeting and everybody is up in arms...then the offender goes somewhere else, probably North Minneapolis.

But here in North Minneapolis, we just get an email and--if we're lucky--a few fliers on the door. This situation will not cease until somebody sues the Department of Corrections and seeks the protection of the law for our North Minneapolis neighborhoods. There is a statute which says sex offenders are not supposed to be "concentrated" in neighborhoods, but obviously that statute isn't worth the paper it is written upon until somebody takes it to court and demands its application.

In the meantime, this particular offender is...

Antar Abdulahi Ali, a man who raped a 14-year-old girl after using a ruse of offering assistance, then used physical force resulting in injuries to "gain compliance." The victim was a complete stranger to Ali.

Ali lives on the 2200 block of 6th Ave. N. If I find out the exact address, I will publish it, just like more than half the states of the United States publish the specific addresses of Level Three sex offenders, and Minnesota should join that list.

Police Action On Washington Ave. N. Today...

Photo by Jeff Skrenes, blog post by John Hoff

I have a report from Jeff Skrenes ("The Hawthorne Hawkman") of some major police action on Washington Ave. N., just north of 26th Ave. N. There are only police cars present--including cops on motorcycles--and no ambulances. It looks like some kind of raid or bust, not an accident.

Jeff took the picture above a short while ago, apparently with a zoom setting shot through a chain link fence. A couple of suspects are visible seated on the ground, and the on the right is wearing what appears to be a red stocking cap. (I tell you, so often when somebody is spotted openly dealing on a street corner in North Minneapolis, there is a red hat or a red garment involved. I'm just saying)

So far, we have no further information about this police incident, but God Bless The Fourth Precinct.

(Blogging from Erwin, Tennessee)

(Do not click "Read More")

Thursday, April 29, 2010

EcoVillage Foundation Set!

Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman

This is likely a sign of what 2010 will be like for the Hawthorne EcoVillage. Progress is already happening at 400 31st Ave N at such a rapid click that I can barely keep track of it. Only a few days ago, we broke ground, and construction has already started.

I'd wax eloquently about this, but I have an important meeting to get to.

(Do not click "read more," but do enjoy the photos and celebrate progress!)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Toasting Success on West Broadway!

Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman

This morning marked a significant gathering of partners along West Broadway. Much of the work, spurred by Ackerberg Group offshoot Catalyst Community Partners, has already been profiled here on Johnny Northside.

However, one thing many partners realized was that there are many people and institutions working on revitalizing West Broadway, but we don't meet and coordinate our efforts often enough. CM Don Samuels chaired this get-together, and we commemorated it with a toast to the many success stories of West Broadway. We didn't use REAL stuff, like we've done in the EcoVillage or at Harvest Days, but the toast was special nonetheless.

Among the things we celebrated were...

...Minneapolis Public Schools' decision to move their headquarters to NoMi, the ongoing renovation of the Delisi's building at Penn and Broadway, new businesses like Good Sports Bar & Grill, and the phenomenal work of Catalyst - including the building at 1200 West Broadway.

On top of Samuels' presence and that of an aide (we'll miss you Jose!), representatives from CM Johnson's office, CPED, the Pohlad Foundation, Catalyst, Hennepin County, the West Broadway Business Coalition, and many other partners were in attendance. And even though we met on a weekday morning, several area residents came as well.

One other item worthy of note: this blog has already documented the success rate of Catalyst hiring local and minority workers on their projects. But Mike Christenson of CPED noted that on the 300 residential rehabs done by city development partners such as GMHC, PPL, PRG, or Urban Homeworks, 70% of the contractors used have been Northside contractors. Our partners have been intentional about doing their work in a way that maximizes benefits for our community.

But this wasn't just a self-congratulatory meeting. We also wanted to discuss barriers and roadblocks so that we can begin to work around them. One issue that thankfully came up was...

...Hawthorne Crossings. Presumably they meant Hawthorn (sic) Crossings, and hopefully an influx of financial assistance will correct the spelling. But that's not all we plan on doing. All signs point to some serious measures to address the safety issues along that block. Given how far we've come and how quickly, it's truly encouraging to think of what can happen in this area as well.

One of the residents also brought up the need for transportation improvements along the corridor. Hopefully, that will include a light rail stop at Penn and Broadway, but what can be done until then? This wasn't QUITE along the lines of the topics we had gathered to discuss, but public transit in NoMi could stand to be improved and her point shouldn't be lost in the shuffle.

All in all though, I left the meeting thinking of what Don said during his campaign, that in four years, we won't BELIEVE the kinds of amazing changes that will have come to West Broadway! A HUGE thank you goes out to all our partners who are working to make this happen!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Camera Loves Spanky Pete, But The Love Just Goes One Way...

Mugshot, therefore in the public domain, blog post by John Hoff

I just got word that Peter "Pete The Pedophile" Rickmyer has a BRAND SPANKING NEW photo on his Level Three sex offender profile, which the DOC maintains to warn and inform the public and which, for all practical and legal purposes, makes "Spanky Pete" a public figure. And an all-too-interesting one at that!

Here's the photo for readers to enjoy.

God, those eyes. Like a puppy that didn't get its shots, and played a little too much in the woods with raccoons.

Of course, this photo doesn't do justice to Pete's "Mr. Clean" appearance which he was sporting in court quite recently, click here for more details, but I figure DOC will eventually get around to updating the photo. They seem to be paying attention to Spanky Pete more than their other Level Three sex offenders, thanks to all the attention Spanky brought on himself and, actually, brought on all the Level Three sex offenders concentrated in North Minneapolis.

All the same...

This photo doesn't help our neighborhood so much as it shows the limitations of the DOC's clunky website. These Level Three sex offenders change their looks in a calculated way, and it seems like DOC doesn't even pretend to try to keep up. Some of these guys need a lot more than two photos, but I've never seen a profile with more than two. And, like I've pointed out to DOC a couple of times, there is at least one slightly blurry photo, which is Michael Robert Logeais.

What does DOC say when they slap up a photo like that? "Good enough for government work?" "Good enough for North Minneapolis?"

(Blogging from near Jefferson City, Tennessee)

Would-Be Squatter Turned Away In Jordan Neighborhood...

Photo by Michael Spivak, blog post by John Hoff

Michael Spivak, a soon-to-be attorney who lives in the Jordan Neighborhood, emailed me about a week ago in regard to a rather notable conversation he had in front of his house. The view from Mike's front porch is pictured above.

Here's what happened, in Mike's own words...


I just had an interesting interaction with someone. My dog Bear started to bark so I thought maybe Mail Guy (tm) was here. He likes Bear so when he comes by, I let Bear go out to say hi. Nope, no mail.

There was an African American woman, mid to late 20's, standing on the walk up to my front porch.

"Sorry," she informed me. "From the outside, the house looked abandoned. I was just looking for a place to stay."

She then left and drove off in her Cadillac, light brown on bottom, tan on top, license roughly CGB 555 (or 559 or something similar).

Johnny Northside says: Mike, it is actually lovely. Instead of an empty house, your house is occupied and in great shape. Our neighborhood is no longer a place where squatters have easy pickings. We're watching, we're calling, and we're revitalizing. I do hope the woman finds a decent and legal place to live, though.

This story is a reminder to all of us: if you see folks in a house who appear to be squatting, get in touch with the authorities. Over and over again, if necessary. And don't think squatters may not be bright enough to have some faked up piece of paper purporting to be a lease. But you can't exactly fake a rental license.

(Blogging from near Jefferson City, Tennessee)

River of Life Lutheran to Celebrate 150 Years of the Lutheran Church in Liberia!

Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman, photos from the River of Life Lutheran Church website.

My church, River of Life Lutheran at 22nd and Fremont, will be celebrating 150 years of the Lutheran church in Liberia. On Saturday May 1 at 4:00, there will be a screening of the movie "Pray the Devil Back to Hell." Special music begins on Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m., followed by a worship service at ten. A meal and fellowship will follow the worship service, and let me tell you, the folks at my church can COOK!

This is an honor for River of Life to be selected as the host of such a tremendous event. Liberians from around the metro and even the Midwest are expected to attend the celebration. We hope to see you there!

(Do not click "Read More," but do join us on Sunday!)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mis-"Khan"-duct Won't Be Tolerated by McKinley Neighbors!

Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman, photo by Megan Goodmundson.

The McKinley neighborhood invited both the owner of the Northside Food Market and Mahmood Khan to their Crime and Safety meeting on April 26th. Having blogged once on one issue and extensively on Khan, I decided to attend. Surprisingly, Khan showed up, although the owner of the Northside Food Market stayed away.

One editorial note: The dialogue taking place was rather intense at times, so I opted not to take photos. I worried that doing so might have caused Khan or his tenants (yes, he brought his tenants along, more on that later) to leave entirely.

Once introductions were made, Khan took the floor and said...

...that he had "good tenants who pay rent on time." But, oh gee, he sure doesn't want any problems with the neighborhoods. So if the NEIGHBORHOOD wants his tenants gone, then he would evict them (or not renew their month-to-month lease).

This was certainly an interesting ploy. What Khan seemed to be attempting to do was to put the McKinley neighborhood in the position of being the force behind eviction of a supposedly good tenant. And the only qualifier for "good tenants" used initially was whether the rent was paid on time.

A little back story is in order as well. The property in question, 3238 Bryant Ave N, has been owned by Khan for quite some time. The current occupants have only been in the house since about October of last year, or roughly six months. The previous tenants, who lived there while Khan was the owner, reportedly had an actual "open/closed" store sign in the window for when they were or were not selling drugs. Those occupants are long gone, but the activity that at least LOOKS like drug dealing continued.

So on April 15, the Violent Offender Task Force (VOTF) executed a search warrant at 3238 Bryant Ave N. For the record, this is NOT a small thing. It takes a court order to get this and significant activity needs to be observed within ten days of the action being taken. A SWAT team or something close to it with bullet-proof gear goes in, and there has to be something major to call in a raid like that.

Then the tenants - a man and a woman - spoke, and the woman was in tears about the experience. Whether one is guilty or not, I'm sure that being the subject of such a raid is a truly terrifying experience. She also said that their dog was shot during the raid. The tenants claimed that the warrant did not result in the police finding anything, although what may have come of it is not yet public information.

The man urged people not to judge him yet, and said that he has his peddler's license and makes his money selling "towels, socks, body oil, and CD's." He said that now that he had his license, there was nothing anyone could do about it because he was legitimate. He later said that he sold CD's to his friends, and "you know how it is." The way he described at least the sale of CD's was very similar to language used by the near-incessant stream of bootleggers at the Hawthorn (sic) Crossings strip mall. Just sayin'.

A lot of back-and-forth went on between residents, the tenants, and Khan, and it boiled down to this: Residents see a constant flow of traffic in front of the house. People stop by for 3-5 minutes, often one person stays in the car, and then they're gone. Other times, the cars that stop in front of the house will have other vehicles pull up next to them and then drive off. The tenants claimed that these people were just relatives and weren't doing anything wrong. And the ones that weren't relatives were buying the towels, socks, body oil, or CD's. You know how it is.

(For the record, even though I did not believe much of what the tenants had to say, I still found it preferable that they were in the same room talking with other residents and trying to work things out.)

Then Khan was asked about his screening process. He said he does a background check, and when questioned as to where he gets his background information, he said "a website." Well that's certainly a relief! Glad you're using the INTERNET, can't go wrong THERE! When pushed, he claimed it was a county website that lists criminal activity, and when he needs, he asks the police department for help. Immediately, the police contact at the meeting countered that he has not called her office.

Khan said he'd been in the property management business for 23 years, and that he does all his own background checks. He would not say how many properties he owned in Minneapolis or in general, although he was asked this question several times. In a public hearing, he admitted to having "30 or 40, I don't know exactly," in Minneapolis alone. When residents pointed out that doing background checks on all tenants could almost be a full-time job in and of itself (not to mention checking up on tenants, maintaining properties, collecting rent, and doing all the other things a landlord does), Khan said that his wife sometimes helps with those extensive computer searches.

Khan made no mention to the McKinley group about his other job as a flight attendant, by the way. A thorough account of how Khan handles himself in meetings can be found here.

The McKinley neighborhood sent two letters to Khan at 2972 Old Highway 8, Roseville MN, although he claimed never to have received them. Those letters detailed problems at Khan's McKinley properties and invited him to be part of a solution. Khan instead requested that people call him at 612-998-2500. He was pressed about whether he would respond to other written communication and said that he really preferred being called instead.

One McKinley resident spoke up saying that Khan was not doing an acceptable job of screening tenants. Khan would bring in some tenants and they wouldn't work. The neighborhood would have to fight against drug and other illicit activities. Then after a hard battle, those tenants would go, and a new batch would come in, often just as bad as the last one. "We're sick of being your science experiment," the neighbor said.

Khan's response was, "I'm doing the best I can." To which he was told, "Well, you need to do better."

Suspected Arson in Northeast

Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman. Contributed photos.

The Johnny Northside blog would love to cover all things "north" in Minneapolis. This includes the North Loop and Northeast. There's only so much time in the day, however. (But hey, if there are Nordeasters out there who want to be contributors to JNS, or JNES, just let us know.)

One concerned Northeast resident sent John and me some photos of a house after a recent house fire at 1705 2nd St NE. This person stated, "All signs point to the owners being culprits," but did not elaborate as to why that might be the case. We were asked to put photos and a request for information out there because no other media source has covered this fire.

In a rather Dickensian twist, even though I couldn't place the property at all, I know the area well because...

...first off, the contact person said that the house was right across the street from Sentyrz. This is the market where "Mr. Valeria" makes his artisan Polish sausage - the very sausage used to commemorate the rapidly-increasing successes in the Hawthorne EcoVillage. He's pictured here, proudly holding a newspaper ad bearing his likeness.

The house is also very close to Eastside Neighborhood Services, where half of each year's 3rd Ward CARE Committee meetings are held.

Anyone with information about the fire at 1705 2nd St NE is urged to first contact authorities, and then share what information you can on this blog.

BREAKING NEWS! EcoVillage Breaks Ground!

Post, photos, and video by the Hawthorne Hawkman

The first steps in new construction have started today in the Hawthorne EcoVillage!

If someone would have told me two years ago, in the midst of some of the toughest battles this neighborhood has seen, that this year we'd be building new houses in the EcoVillage, I'm not sure I'd have believed them. But here we are.

It's not just one house going up; we have new owners in the EcoVillage, another family will be arriving soon in a home featured on the Minneapolis/St. Paul Home Tour, and Habitat for Humanity will be building/renovating as many as ten homes in and around the EcoVillage. By the end of this year or early 2011, we'll likely have half a dozen or more new residents. We thank our dedicated partners in this project and the essential work from Hawthorne members!

(Do not click "Read More," but do celebrate NoMi successes like the Hawthorne EcoVillage!)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mr. Slummy Owes Some Money

Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman (with one exception noted below)

Earlier this week, Hawthorne residents had noticed renewed activity over at "Mr. Slummy's" properties - 2515 and 2519 3rd St N. At this point, there doesn't seem to be much happening at 2515 other than pushing some dirt around. Given some unresolved issues and a stop work order at the address, a 311 call was made nonetheless.

Coincidentally, at a recent social gathering among "NoMi Homies," we were theorizing where "Mr. Slummy" (real name: Mohammed Amro, doing business as Amro's Properties) got his money from. After all, the work he's done, while lacking permits and being out of zoning compliance, can't be free. So I went down to Hennepin County to do a little digging--not as much digging as shown above, but digging nonetheless.

Before we get to that, however, I realize that since winning the City Pages best local blog in 2010, we may have some new readers unfamiliar with this story. So to summarize...

...Hawthorne activists such as Dyna Sluyter were posting about Amro's half-demolition of 2515 3rd St N over Easter weekend in 2009. Connie Nompelis posted about this on her blog and she and other Hawthornites contacted me while I was on vacation in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. As soon as I got back, I confronted a person I believe was Mr. Amro although I didn't get his name. His work was shut down on Easter Monday, and John blogged about it here. The first picture above is from that day, and the second shot would later become a visual metaphor for Amro's precarious financial situation.

In an interesting historic twist, the first comment on that blog post was an anonymous person who coined the name "Hawthorne Hawkman." I liked the nickname so much I changed my Google profile from "The Mortgage Geek" to what you see now. In this way, Mr. Slummy and the Hawthorne Hawkman are forever intertwined.

A very extensive photo gallery of Mr. Slummy's work can be found on my personal Facebook page.

But even with an initial stop work order, Amro applied for permits and resumed his work. This work included adding six egress windows and building an addition so large that nobody really believed he would comply with the residential two-unit (R2-B) zoning for the area. Those suspicions were confirmed when, at a 2009 Heart of the City picnic, five bathtubs were seen inside the property (which was flagrantly open to trespass, making such observations rather convenient).

We got the property boarded up, though. (photo below taken by John Hoff)

Fast forward to the present day. Work has been largely stopped at 2515 3rd St N, although Amro's white pickup truck is often seen in front of 2519 3rd St N. He owns this property as well, and even though he stripped off the siding and put in ugly windows, it appears as if most everything he's done at 2519 has been up to code, with permits, and in compliance with zoning.

What he HASN'T done, however, is actually PAID some of the people who did the work. Siwek Lumber and Millwork filed a mechanic's lien against 2519 3rd St N in October of last year for the amount of $14,841.06 for unpaid work from 4/4/09 through 10/8/09. The lien is filed against the property and against Mohammed Amro as well as Amro's Properties Inc.

There is also a second lien filed by the same entity for the same reasons at 2515 3rd St N in the amount of $12,216.11. Interestingly, there is no mortgage filed against either property. Amro either purchased with cash, or in some under-the-table way in which the holder of the debt has not filed a lien against the properties. Clearly the work done at both places far exceeds $27,000. So the next question is this: did Mr. Slummy pay for that work out of pocket, or does he owe more money in ways that haven't surfaced yet?

And speaking of surfaces, there is still an unresolved issue. Amro did not remove the mounds of dirt he created when excavating. He merely pushed it around and leveled off both of his properties. The problem with that, as evidenced below, is that the house to the south has had their fence damaged. And every time it rains, dirt washes into their garden. Amro needs to remedy this issue before even more fees pile up.

Celebrating Earth Day At Farview Park...

Photos and blog post by John Hoff

On Earth Day last weekend, in addition to getting a tour of Connie Nompelis' rapidly-being-renovated $7,900 house, my son and I went to Farview Park and watched an educational demonstration on groundwater, which is pictured above...

At the park, Alex met "Inventor Dude," whose name escapes me, but he's well known in Farview Park as the guy who has dedicated his life to inventions which revolve around compressed air as an energy source.

Afterward, Alex told me his "Future Cities" extracurricular project involved designing a city where compressed air was used to power cars. As he always does, "Inventor Dude" had some pieces of paper with the address of his website. A shame I lost mine. If anybody knows, feel free to post the link.
This decorative tower in Farview Park replaces a historic stone tower which one stood there. You know what I say: Bring back the stone tower. In the photo above, Alex is checking out the plaque pictured below.
The photo below was taken by putting my camera lens right up to the viewing devices in the decorative tower. This shows the old stone tower which once stood on the site.

Below is my son Alex, and the top of the hill in Farview Park with the Minneapolis skyline visible in the distance. This picture reminds me of the day I took him to the top of the Space Needle in Seattle when he was only 2 years old. I held him up to see the view, and I whispered in his ear, "The world is your oyster, my son." It seems like only yesterday.

Kids. They grow up so quickly.

Celebrating Earth Day At Connie's $7,900 House In NoMi...

Photos and blog post by John Hoff

Recently, I was lucky enough to have my son Alex over for a weekend visitation on Earth Day. We went to Farview Park and saw a science demonstration about groundwater. Woo hoo.

I certainly hope as Earth Day continues to develop we will have traditions that are a lot more fun. For example, recycled and re-purposed presents for friends and family. Heck, just take the old leftover Christmas stuff you don't want and give it to somebody else.

But, anyway, after Farview Park we needed a ride--my new vehicle named "Lefty" was getting fixed out of town--so we walked over to Connie Nompelis' house near Farview Park, figuring Jeff would be there hula-hooping and we could bum a ride. Sure enough...

There was Jeff doing a new hula move, click here for more details.

South Minneapolis (SoMi) activist Brian Finstad was there, and gave Alex a tour of the house so Alex could see the amazing transformation. Alex hadn't been inside the house since the night of the housewarming, so he found the changes truly notable.

Finstad kindly made a point of telling Alex how "your dad" managed to figure out a way to get the nasty, smelly fridge out the back door like an oversized Chinese puzzle; opening the fridge door and putting it outside door first, making it wheel around like a frumpy ballerina and then repeatedly kicking it to force it through, somehow doing this WITHOUT breaking the door frame. Good times.

Outside, a friend of Brian was patching up the foundation. All in all, it was a low-key but fun earth day with THE COOLEST SON EVER in a rapidly revitalizing neighborhood which has made frequent and good quality visitation possible. NoMi might be "Divorced Daddyville" but it sure beats "Lives Too Far Away From His Kid In The Twin Cities To Spend Meaningful Time Together Daddyville."

(Blogging from Frankford, Kentucky)

A Chicago Story North Minneapolis Should Hear...

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

So while I was trucking through Chicago a few days ago, I pulled over to buy diesel and I saw this very interesting story in the Chicago Sun-Times. In summary: a 17-year-old teenager was shot in a drug dealing dispute in one of Chicago's rough neighborhoods. As he lay dying, a police officer asked the teen if he knew who shot him.

The teen answered...

...he knew, but he wasn't going to tell.

Here's the story online, click here.

This appears to be the ultimate extreme of the morally retarded "Don't Snitch" mindset, which leads to endless cycles of extra-legal street violence as victims, friends and/or families of victims seek revenge, and become perpetrators themselves.

At the confirmation hearing for Minneapolis Police Chief Dolan, I addressed this issue briefly and pointed out we need new legal tactics to deal with uncooperative witnesses who refuse to give up vital information about shootings, already plotting how they will heal up and dish it out tit-for-tat with live ammo. I've suggested hauling these "so-called victims" in front of grand juries, or doing psychiatric evaluations, or holding them in protective custody. Some or all of these.

The violence in North Minneapolis mostly happens within a small, thuggish mindset, who prey on each other. The tactics used by the authorities in our fair city are indeed working and reducing violence, but there is a stubborn recidivist remnant which digs in and refuses to change for the better. New tactics are needed. And perhaps we can start moving in the direction of new tactics with an open, freewheeling discussion as a result of horrible "teaching moment" incidents like this.

(Blogging from Frankfort, Kentucky)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Susan Newell Mortgage Fraud Sentencing Monday, April 26, 2:30 PM, Room 927

Photo and blog post by John Hoff, truck was not running when this image was taken as trucker texting is now forbidden by DOT

Word reaches me while I am on the road trucking of a sentencing hearing in the Susan Newell mortgage fraud matter, previously reported on this blog, click here and also here. The Judge in this matter is Judge Janish, (pronounced YAN-ish) and the hearing will be in Room 957, Monday, April 26, at 2:30. I'm very hopeful somebody affiliated with Johnny Northside Dot Com will manage to get notes on that hearing and I've been sending messages around. You know who you are.

Newell is the case which previously ended in a mistrial until Hennepin County Prosecutor Brad Johnson came in and cleaned up. Johnson is running for Anoka County Attorney, see previous story on this blog, and was recently the subject of coverage in the Star Tribune, click here. In contrast, Johnson's opponent is a sort of desk jockey, not somebody who constantly puts criminals in prison for a long, long time.

I guess while Johnson's "in the rear with the gear" opponent is shaking everybody's hands on Monday, Brad Johnson will be getting his hands dirty doing the actual job of a prosecutor, like his spectacular victory over Larry "Maximum" Maxwell. This was apparently the longest racketeering sentence EVER in a Minnesota State Court. (If anybody has contrary info, I'm still waiting to receive it)

Needless to say, I think folks in Anoka county deserve a prosecutor not a politician. But what does Susan Newell deserve? I guess the judge will tell us on Monday. I can hardly wait to find out.

(Blogging from Frankfort, KY. Do not click "

Friday, April 23, 2010

Remaro Smith Arrested For Assault, Kidnapping, High Speed Chase...

Contributed image, blog post by John Hoff

Word came to me a few days ago from June Leikas, the mother of murder victim Annshalike Hamilton, that Remaro C. Smith had been involved in a high speed chase after being--surprisingly--released from jail following charges stemming from an incident where he held off a SWAT team.

As anybody knows who has ever read this blog, heard about this blog, or stood near a computer where this blog sometimes appears: June Leikas believes Remaro C. Smith murdered her daughter.

Smith is, of course, innocent until proven guilty. Smith denies the charges.

Now comes a new development...

Smith is in jail, facing a raft of charges. Here's the recent Hennepin County Jail Roster:


Booking Number: 2010010737

Date of Birth: 1/29/1987

Sheriff's Custody: IN CUSTODY

Housing Location:
Received Date/Time: 4/23/2010.. 19:31


HWB BY DC 4/26/2010..13:30 DOWNTOWN Address

BAIL SET BY DC 4/26/2010..13:30 DOWNTOWN Address

4/26/2010..13:30 DOWNTOWN Address

4/26/2010..13:30 DOWNTOWN Address

His bail appears pretty hefty, but given the pattern so far Johnny Northside has to ask: how long before this guy is on the streets again in another high speed chase?

Some details about the charges were available to friends and/or family, who passed them on to me. The assault charges reportedly involve Ann Marie Leikas, who is Annshalike Hamilton's sister and Remaro's girlfriend. A source has described, in detail, the troubling and abusive relationship between Ann Marie and Remaro, click here. It is unknown, however, who the kidnapping charges involve.

My source says "The very day Remaro got out (of jail) he was beating the hell out of Ann Marie." But Ann Marie had a roommate, and the roommate called the police. This is reportedly what led to the high speed chase. Reports are Smith managed to bail from the car, but police got ahold of the car and wouldn't return it to Ann Marie "until she gave up the guy who was driving it."

And so Remaro is in jail. And the wait for justice continues.

Don't hold your breath.

Peter "Pete The Pedophile" Rickmyer Versus City of Minneapolis, JACC At April 20 Hearing...It Did Not Go Well For "Spanky Pete"

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

The City Pages put the story all over its front page about Peter "Pete The Pedophile" Rickmyer's lawsuit against the world, including Johnny Northside blog, the Commander of the Fourth Precinct, the Jordan Area Community Council. But an actual hearing on this bizarre matter happened a couple days ago, and who has the story? This blog, naturally.

Well, kind of. I am out on the road trucking--Mansfield, Ohio at this moment--and I was told the story over a cell phone while I inhaled a Caeser salad at a "Big Boy" restaurant in Clio, Michigan. I hope I managed to remember most of the tawdry tale without taking notes. But, hey, I'm all you've got. The whole City of Minneapolis got the set up for the story. So how is it going down? Well, let me tell you...

There were a lot of defendants and their attorneys gathered in the room, when a man walked in wearing a "charcoal" color suit, a striped tie and, incredibly, a "Dick Tracy" hat, (a fedora, I assume) pure white in color. One of the defendants whispered something like, "Well, he has a white hat. Must be a good guy."

The oddly-dressed individual turned around, and it was predator pedophile "Spanky" Pete Rickmyer, apparently dressed up in some kind of imitation of a lawyer which (quite accidentally) bordered on parody.

Shudder. Like a demonic creature made out of Satanic Playdough, Pete's ever-changing appearance had morphed yet again. Instead of being crusty-looking with a slight beard, he now sported a clean-shaven appearance. Yes, even his HEAD like Woody Harrelson in Natural Born Killers. Double shudder.

You know what Johnny Northside says about that...

Department of Corrections? Peter needs a new mugshot. Again. Are you going to hear it from me, or will folks in the Jordan Neighborhood have to bombard you with emails?

Behind Pete there was an entourage of spectators, consisting of individuals from the probation office and some folks from the Law Library in the upstairs of the Hennepin County Government Building; where Spanky Pete spends so much of his time instead of looking for a job while (reportedly) drawing four forms of public assistance. The entourage was so big and moved in such unison there was an actual small rush of air. The woman from the Mpls Mirror was there. If other media were present, they don't appear to have filed stories.

Oh, wait, Mpls Mirror hasn't filed a story yet, either. I wasn't even THERE and yet I manage to get a story up faster than the Mpls Mirror.


The Judge entered. The first thing the judge did was to ask Peter Rickmyer about a letter sent by yours truly, John Hoff a.k.a. "Johnny Northside." Oh, actually, I guess I could link to the document as a PDF.

OK, here you go, click here.

Hearing mention of John Hoff, the lady from the Mpls Mirror leaned forward, eagerly, hoping for some dirt. I think she was probably disappointed.

My letter basically said Peter Rickmyer had not managed to serve me, therefore the court did not have jurisdiction over me. It's funny how one can write to a court and say this stuff--indeed, one could have an attorney "appear specially" to deal with the matter of a lack of jurisdiction--without being subject to the court's jurisdiction. I picked up some useful stuff in law school. One day, soon, I hope to make more use of this stuff besides just defending MYSELF.

Normally, when involved in a lawsuit, correspondence should be cc'd all around. But, standing on my rights as an unserved party, I didn't bother sending a copy to Rickmyer...though I sent everybody else a copy. The letter also mentioned I had not defamed Peter Rickmyer, and the man is a Level Three sex offender, therefore a public figure.

It's great the Court led with this inquiry about whether Peter Rickmyer had received a copy of the letter. Right away, Pete was off his game...not that he had much game in the first place, even if he was trying to be costumed for the role. I tell you, people think being a lawyer is just talking with words...kind of like flying an airplane is just wearing the Captain hat and taking hold of the controls.

Peter launched into a long, angry rant about how yours truly had been dodging service...had been in the City Council Chambers for two hours, with a process server right outside, but had managed to get away through a "special door" not available to members of the just wasn't fair!

So, the court clarified, John Hoff has NOT been served.

No. No Your Honor. (Pouty face)

In response to questions by the Judge, Peter began to outline the rest of his case. This went on for a very long time, with Peter going into an extended tangential rant. From time to time, he would "make lawyer noises" and ask if he could approach the bench, then Pete would bring up a document. The judge finally told Rickmyer to just bring up all the documents he had at once, but Rickmyer didn't exactly follow the instructions of the court.

In not-so-gripping detail, Peter outlined the alleged conspiracy to drive him from the community. But since this was a hearing on whether the motion should be dismissed and Rule 9 sanctions leveled, the judge kept trying to direct Peter back to this line of inquiry. Finally, the judge just asked, "Explain why I should NOT give you sanctions?"

When Pete answered, it was back to the alleged conspiracy. At some point, Peter said something about having "a disability" and brought a document up to the judge. The judge mentioned Rickmyer having a case before the judge some years ago, and there had been no claim of a disability at that time.

At this mention of a previous case before the judge, the ears of several defendants got all pointy. A previous case? With the same judge? About WHAT? Based on things Peter Rickmyer was telling the judge, it may have concerned the "Golden Chicken" business at 2402 Penn Ave. N., which Pete once helped manage...until he spanked two minors for sexual gratification, and this was AFTER low-life Rickmyer was released from the sexual deviant holding tank at Moose Lake.

However, given the apparent date of the court case, it seemed like the case may NOT have concerned the incident with the minors, but some other aspect of what some of us call "The Chicken Shack."

(You've heard of the "Love Shack?" Love had nothing to do with this. This was a Chicken Shack)

So that was a tantalizing clue into the back story of Spanky Pete. At this point, a discussion took place about how many court cases Peter had filed in how many years, and how many he had actually won. Something came up about a case involving Pizza Hut.

What was THAT about, we wondered? Is Spanky Pete the only guy in North Minneapolis who can get pizza delivered?

There was some slight disagreement about the number of cases and the number of years, but the conclusion was apparent: Spanky Pete's batting average is pretty lousy.

Pete kept gesturing toward some of the JACC defendants, saying how they had caused him to be "removed from the community" for a number of days. (Click here for video of the actual removal) The judge inquired whether Peter had been "removed" because of a parole violation.

Then (in the words of my source) Peter "went to a dark place." Once again, he seemed to morph, to shape-shift. Suddenly Peter was no longer the wannabe lawyer, trying to swim in water way over his newly-shaven head. Instead, Pete manifested in his sex offender persona, talking about his little Level Three legalities in a way that was quite adept and familiar. Pete said a computer had been removed from his home as a probation violation, but the computer wasn't hooked to the how was that FAIR?

Pete said the probation authorities had told him to submit to certain tests, but Pete hadn't done it fast enough. Pete pouted about this. He was doing the tests, so why did they have to move upon him so quickly? It wasn't fair!

The judge asked about whether Peter had had a "hearing" in regard to the removal from the community, the alleged probation violation. Pete agreed there had been a hearing.

At some point, Pete started talking about his former supervising agent, Bobbie Chevalier-Jones. According to Pete, Chevalier-Jones had taken a "leave of absence" because she felt "threatened" over having her picture published on the internet. As Pete said these things, there was a flurry of activity among the probation officers--whispering and shuffling papers. The word I have is though Chevalier-Jones is no longer (screwing up) supervising Spanky Pete, she is still supervising cases. Just not Spanky Pete's case, thank god.

At one point, Pete was forced to admit he was "lost in (his) own argument." It was like watching a train wreck where the cars on the train are somebody's thoughts.

Peter was finally told he was done and it was the other side's turn. The first thing the lawyer for JACC did was to point out Peter had never actually argued AGAINST the Rule 9 motion, either verbally or in writing. Could it be everybody--even Spanky Pete himself--agreed Pete should not be allowed to file lawsuits all by himself? You have to wonder.

The lawyer for JACC knew his case was overwhelmingly strong against a plaintiff who was overwhelmingly weak. In such a circumstance, best to save the time of the court. The JACC lawyer hit a few points and quickly rested on his written briefs. (For the record, so does "Johnny Northside," even though I haven't been served)

At one point, Peter tried to interrupt and say something. Like talking to an unruly child, the judge told Peter to sit down and "sit still."

Next was the lawyer for the City, defending the police officers Pete was suing. The City argued immunity in this matter. The argument was tight, flawless and not terribly exciting. Yeah, I rest on that argument, too.

The judge concluded by saying he'd get an order out. The judge didn't say when that would be, so it could be as long as ninety days. Everybody left and, within a few days...

Spanky Pete was mailing around more legal paper. He will apparently continue mailing his bizarre papery rants, requiring expensive responses from attorneys...until there is an order to compel him to stop.

Has Paul Koenig Ever Paid ANYONE? (part 2)

Post and photo by the Hawthorne Hawkman

I happened to be in downtown Minneapolis today doing a bit of research, and decided to look into our friend Paul Koenig (pronounced Kay-neg) a bit more deeply. Specifically, I wanted to see what I would find out about 621 26th Ave N, which has a demolition order on it and a long list of unpaid contractors.

Several months ago, I documented how some Dream Homes had unpaid mechanics' liens, went through foreclosure, and then were repurchased by Koenig. Presumably the workers were never paid. So when it came to the contractors at 621 26th...

...I wasn't surprised at all to find even more unpaid mechanics' liens.

KB Mechanical filed a lien for unpaid work in the amount of $7,470. Wallboard Inc. filed their own lien against this property for $4,833.25. These were for unpaid work, materials, and/or use of equipment.

Then KB filed a lis pendens (basically an intent to foreclose) on the property for unpaid work at this address as well as several others: 1812 16th Ave S, 2119 4th St N, and 2316 Fremont Ave N. I checked, and all of these were already on the unabridged Pamiko list.

The intent to foreclose was for "rough-in, duct work, two new furnaces per property, gas line and furnace installation, and related work" and totaled $29,880. Also, it's quite possible that this intent to foreclose was the tipping point that caused the rate increases described in this article, which would have then led to the collapse of Koenig's entire empire. Exactly how this might have happened would bore most readers to tears, but 621 26th Ave N could very well be the Pamiko Properties' equivalent of the Piltdown Man.

Then, a few months AFTER THAT, Creative Home Construction filed a $17,102.40 lien for "home demolition and remodel labor."

And now this property has gone through foreclosure, meaning that in all likelihood the people who did this work will never be paid. I should note that in merely scratching the surface of two properties - 2321 Lyndale Ave N and 621 26th Ave N - a total of over $93,000 in unpaid mechanics' liens filed against these and ten other properties has been found. I strongly suspect that a thorough investigation of all such unpaid work would show a systematic refusal to pay contractors. I believe that the total amount of unpaid mechanics' liens against Paul Koenig's properties is well over one million dollars.

How many people had trouble staying in business after being ripped off by Koenig? The ripples of his financial misdeeds continue to be discovered.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Best Blog! Twin Cities! Uh huh! (Making Dancing Motions)

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

Before I say anything else, let me just highlight two of the coming stories here on Johnny Northside Dot Com which you will see, hopefully, in the next few days.

1.) Remaro C. Smith got into ANOTHER high speed car chase a few days ago. June Leikas, the mother of murder victim Annshalike Hamilton, (she suspects Remaro killed her daughter) is in a perpetual state of disbelief these days. That story is on its way to readers.

2.) Peter "Pete the Pedophile's" lawsuit against the Jordan Neighborhood Association and Johnny Northside blog (though he never managed to serve me) went really badly for Pete at the April 20 hearing. Details to follow, but here's a quote from the Honorable Judge: "Explain to me why I should not give you sanctions?"

Now, about being named the Twin Cities' best blog in City Pages, click here for article...

I only want to say the whole reason behind this blog is pictured in this post, and he wants to go to MIT and study robots. He wants to make robots to help the world, to become the Bill Gates of robots. When you support or help Johnny Northside Dot Com with financial contributions, (PayPal button, please note) with juicy information (we are SO far behind, apologies) or even writing directly for the blog like Hawthorne Hawkman, (nice City Pages cover story on Pamiko-gate, thanks Hawkman) you support the support system of this cool young man, pictured above.

Oops, gotta go. The cargo won't load ITSELF.

(Blogging from Lapeneer, Michigan)

Problems at Northside Food Market, 3559 Lyndale Ave N

Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman. Contributed photos.

Every once in a while the Hawthorne Hawkman needs to spread his wings and visit/blog about another neighborhood. Today I was contacted about problems at the Northside Food Market at 3559 Lyndale Ave N in the McKinley neighborhood. (At this time, the city website link is not working. I will add a live link to the property information when the web site is functional again.

The tenants (yes, there is at least one apartment unit above the store) and patrons are causing myriad problems for the residents nearby. It looks like we may have a new "inconvenience store." Among other things, residents have to put up with... blocking traffic by parking in the alley, cars parking on vacant lots, litter, and loitering.

The issue was brought to bear at CM Hofstede's 3rd Ward CARE Committee meeting, and residents found out several other things. They knew the tenants upstairs were being rented to without a license. The owner was told to apply for a rental license and that application was denied. The owner still did not come into compliance and has continued to rent to these problem tenants. This has resulted in at least $1,500 in fines, and the building must be vacated of renters by 5/7/2010.

The loitering, littering, and traffic blocking also migrates over to 3600 Aldrich Ave N, where residents suspect illegal car repairs of going on.

And do you know what else I saw when I drove by today? SIGN SPAM. I'm on it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I Love My Home In NoMi--Spring Yard Cleaning!

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

So a couple days ago I woke up and found out some nobody in Texas--Jim Watkins, a.k.a. "The DFW Mentor," a.k.a. The "Anti-Johnny," who is the self-described "best friend" of T.J. Waconia fraudster Thomas Balko, now cooling his heels in a federal prison, good riddance--is writing stuff on the internet about the dozen or so trash bags of leaves I had left over in my yard from the fall.

This is the pathetic level to which Jim Watkins has stooped, trying to find something to criticize me over. I have LEAVES IN MY YARD. The shame. And this because I criticized his jailbird friends for the damage they did to North Minneapolis.

I mean, like, I have THE INTERNET to remind me how, oh, I really should put out those bags of leaves which were all crappy and FROZEN TO THE GROUND through the winter, because they were so wet when I bagged them up.

Mi vida loco. I mean, who am I, Tom Cruise that I have tabloid photographers taking pictures of my back yard? If I was in federal prison while my family continued to live in a luxurious lake home, click here, I could understand the fuss, but as it, can't really understand the fuss about a dozen bags of leaves.

Anyway, prompted by THE FREAKING INTERNET, I hauled the leaves to my collection point to get picked up by the City of Minneapolis and become compost. That was when I discovered somebody had taken a bunch of branches and dumped them at my refuse collection point, and the city was leaving me a note to bundle the branches...

Yeah, like I'm going to bundle the branches. More likely I will BURN the branches, when I come back from my long trucking trip and sit around drinking booze with my NoMi homies, plotting further acts of neighborhood revitalization. Speaking of which...

I am thinking of writing to the State of Minnesota Parole Board about Thomas Balko and, while I'm at it, Jon Helgason. I mean, think about it. Here's this guy who did so much to harm our North Minneapolis neighborhood, and now he sits in prison, but his self-described "best friend" Jim Watkins (the evil Anti-Johnny) is pouring all kinds of energy into mocking and razzing folks trying to change the neighborhood for the better. I find it hard to believe Thomas Balko doesn't know what Jim Watkins is doing while Balko is cooling his keister in the can. And what does that tell us?

Lack of remorse. So the bastard should stay in prison as long as possible, and NOT get any kind of early parole. And I think it might be good to start coordinating a letter writing campaign to that effect, if I have to make a point of giving out the postage stamps my damn self while my friends write letters.

These are the things I think about while hauling garbage bags of leaves to my alley.

At least my yard work isn't BORING.

(Blogging from Lapaneer, Michigan)

Hawkman Makes 311 Calls, Develops Close Personal Relationship with Connie

Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman

Okay, not THE Connie. But last Saturday I went around the neighborhood and did something of a Hawkman patrol. As the "to demo or not demo" discussion builds up, I wanted to get a sense of what kind of housing conditions we have in Hawthorne. I do this from time to time, systematically driving up and down every street, seeing what I see, talking to people, and calling 311. (Or on a weekend, emailing 311 or taking photos to use for 311 calls on Monday)

So this week I made several such calls, and three times in a row, a very helpful woman named Connie answered. For the sake of clarity on this blog, we'll refer to her as Connie 311 (pronounced Three One ONE, it's numeric).

The picture above was for a property open to trespass, and was the only call Connie 311 did NOT answer. Interestingly enough, though...

...I spoke to a resident on the 2500 block of 4th St N about this property. The lock was cut on the front door and the back door was open as well. He said he'd seen people coming and going who didn't look like they should be there. So I told him if that happens again, call 911 and report a TRESPASS IN PROGRESS. The police will get there much faster.

Earlier today, I drove by and saw him on the block again, and pulled over to talk. He said he did exactly as I said and the police came right away. The squatters may have gotten away, but the house was immediately secured.

Next up, Connie 311 helped me log two other boarded/vacant properties that were open to trespass.

The most heartbreaking call came from 2127 Lyndale Ave N, where a dog was tied up behind a vacant/boarded property. My guess is that either someone abandoned this dog here or that it belongs to the tenants of 2131 Lyndale Ave N, a Bashir Moghul property. Connie 311 referred this to Animal Control.

There was no 311 call needed at 2120 Aldrich Ave N, but there was a raze/demolish order on the place. I want to be able to document as many of the houses that either get demolished or come up for demolition as possible. This comes not only from a preservationist streak, but also a sense of history. Dream Homes aside, the houses that get demolished in Hawthorne are ones that are close to or over one hundred years old. Generations were raised in these homes, and even when demolition is necessary, it feels only right that someone should recognize their passing.

Speaking of things that need to be torn down, John and I encountered more sign spam. This time around, a plumber posted signs on plenty of boarded properties throughout Hawthorne - even ARSON houses. Who in their right mind is going to drive past a burnt out shell of a house, see these signs, and say, "THAT'S the plumber I want"?

We took down roughly 25 of this plumbers signs off of vacant houses. I also saw about a half-dozen signs nailed to telephone poles. They're no longer up, and I have dedicated this song to the signs coming down.

I hope to encounter Connie 311 again sometime soon!