Wednesday, December 03, 2008

OSC: Rachel Paulose Retaliated Against John Marti

Office of Special Counsel press release:

WASHINGTON, D.C. / December 3, 2008 - Today, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced the settlement of a prohibited personnel practice complaint filed by John Marti, an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) in the District of Minnesota. Mr. Marti previously served as the First Assistant United States Attorney (FAUSA) to the former U.S. Attorney, Rachel K. Paulose. He alleged that in April 2007, Ms. Paulose demoted him to a staff attorney position because he had reported to officials within the Department of Justice that she had mishandled classified material. OSC’s investigation showed that Ms. Paulose retaliated against Mr. Marti for making whistleblower disclosures in violation of the Whistleblower Protection Act.

AUSA John Marti is part of the Fed team investigating Tom Petters.

Press release from United States Attorney’s Office District of Minnesota about Monday's 20-count Indictment of Thomas Joseph Petters for wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering:

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI; the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division; and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joe Dixon, John Docherty, John Marti, and Tim Rank.

That's a familiar name... John Docherty prosecuted former Mpls Councilman Dean Zimmermann in 2006.

Last I heard, John Docherty went to work at the The Hague to help with the war crimes trials.

Speaking of the Zimmermann trial... this is from the recent issue of MInnesota Law & Politics:


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Minneapolis Teen Challenge Billboard

MNTC Billboard on NIcollet Avenue, Downtown Minneapolis. Ironic phone # - "612-FREEDOM".

Think it has anything to do with THIS?



Marda Liggett Woodbury 1925-2008

This is a post I've had sitting on my computer's desktop for months.

This blog started out documenting the the shady deals of former Minneapolis Councilman Dean Zimmermann who was indicted and convicted for corruption in 2006. It would be nice to think that the City of Lakes has rarely seen corruption of the sort that Zimmernann practiced, but that isn't the case... far from it. Minneapolis has a long history of corruption.

Most Minnesotans are not aware that corruption was so common here. A good introduction to the seamy side of Minneapolis history is a City Pages article from 1995 titled Minneapolis Confidential (no, it's a coincidence that this blog has the same name).

Linclon Steffens in his book Shame of the Cities wrote about corrupt Minneapolis Mayor Doc Ames.

Another excellent book about that period in Minneapolis history is Fred Friendly's Minnesota Rag, a book about the landmark Supreme Court case, Near vs Minnesota.

In Minnesota Rag, Friendly briefly mentions Walter Liggett, a reporter who dared to expose the rackets and graft in the Mill City and was machine-gunned to death in front of his wife and daughter.

Walter Liggett's daughter, Marda Ligettt Woodbury died in July of this year. The Star Tribune's James Shiffer wrote the following in the Strib's Whistleblower blog:

On the eighth of July, Marda Liggett Woodbury, a retired library director, died in California. She was 83. News of her death didn’t reach our newsroom until some time later, and I only heard about it this week.
I didn’t know Ms. Woodbury. I spoke to her only once, last year, when I called her after reading her book. But I found myself saddened, because she had been a living link, perhaps the last witness, to a terrible chapter in the history of Minneapolis.

Between 1934 and 1945, three journalists were murdered in Minneapolis. All of them were gunned down on the street in gangland-style slayings. No one was ever punished in their deaths of Howard Guilford, Walter Liggett and Arthur Kasherman. Over the years, the city salved its conscience by remembering these newspapermen as so scurrilous in their methods and reckless with their associations that they deserved what they got. In fact, each of them, with varying degrees of credibility, self-interest and skill, was attempting to expose the rampant corruption and gangster rule virtually ignored by the dailies, the predecessors of the newspaper I work for now. Guilford, Liggett and Kasherman were the bloggers of their day, attacked by the mainstream politicians and media alike.

In 1935, Marda Liggett Woodbury was 10 years old when she saw her father, Walter Liggett, shot to death behind the family’s apartment in Stevens Square. Liggett, editor of the Midwest American, was a vocal critic of Gov. Floyd B. Olson, whom he accused of tolerating corruption and betraying his radical principles. His daughter testified at the February 1936 trial of the notorious Minneapolis gangster charged in his death, Isadore “Kid Cann” Blumenfeld. That’s when her picture shown above was taken, her eyes glaring into the news photographer’s lens with a startling ferocity.

Blumenfeld was acquitted and went on to a long and mostly uninterrupted career in organized crime. Walter Liggett’s family moved away from Minnesota. Sixty years later, in 1998, the University of Minnesota Press published Marda Liggett Woodbury’s book, “Stopping the Presses: the Murder of Walter W. Liggett”. It makes a persuasive case that her father was assassinated because of his political beliefs and his willingness to speak out about them. It was the first step, and not the last, of historians re-evaluating the meaning of the three murders.

... it's a nice column and well worth reading.

Here is a video I made about Walter Liggett.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Jim Graham: "Welcome Home Dean"

From the Mpls Issues List:

What I am pleased about is that Dean has paid his debt and is now relatively free. It might surprise some, but I am glad Dean Zimmermann is out of prison and back in Minneapolis. Even though his actions did real harm to my neighborhood during the time he was in the Council and became a little too "interested" in promoting the interests of what I, and many, considered "organized crime". Before that Dean contributed a lot to our community in my opinion.

Dean was always a good guy and genuine person before becoming what I consider a pawn and victim of a certain family of "developers". That family has clearly, in my opinion, been the downfall of two City Council-Members -Dean Zimmermann and Brian Herron, but could have been responsible for a couple more.

Dean was weak and totally ineffectual as a Council Member, but that charge can be leveled at many other Council Members. Also, his bribery actions were not that different than some other "conflicts of interest" that were, and continue to be, normal for sitting Minneapolis politicians. Remember folks, in the last eight years three out of thirteen Wards in Minneapolis have had their Council Members go to Federal prison for corruption. And just for the record "IN MY OPINION" others have had similar "conflicts", but were simply too savvy to get caught up in the net that essentially caught only the small fish.

Dean's greatest folly, in my opinion, was not dropping the dime on the people who seduced him into the corruption. The people who were the actual target of the sting on Dean. The transcripts of the trial and the FBI reports make it clear who was the actual target.

So welcome home Dean. If I had known the bus was coming I would have tied a yellow ribbon around the old linden or maple tree.(don't have any oaks)

Jim Graham,
Ventura Village


Thursday, July 10, 2008

More Absurd Coverage of Dean Zimmermann's Homecoming

Steve Brandt in the Strib:

Zimmermann was convicted of accepting an illegal gratuity in exchange for his support of a developer's projects. But the man who entered prison contending that he'd been victimized more by overzealous prosecutors than his own wrongdoing said he's looking forward most to "being able to do useful work again."

Doug Grow at Minnpost

Heiser still clearly believes her husband was set up by politically motivated people in Minneapolis and the U.S. attorney's office. It was just weeks before the 2005 elections – which, because of redistricting, pitted Zimmermann against another incumbent, Bob Lilligren – that the Zimmermann-Heiser home was raided by FBI agents.

So, Zimmermann was an innocent victim of a "set-up"?

If Zimmermann was innocent the FBI tapes would exonerate him. But, only one person stands in the way of the FBI releasing those tapes - Zimmermann. Here's an AUSA describing what's in those tapes to the judges of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals:

The 8th Circuit affirmed Zimmermann's conviction unanimously and Zimmemrmann did not appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.


I went back to read the Strib article and noticed that there were 80 comments. here is a sample:

1. Looks like the FBI already mastered "rat trapping" when
they pinched you.

2. I wonder if Dean is a proponent of evening-out sentencing
disparities between races and between "white collar" and
"street" crimes.

3. Now Go Away! What good are political beliefs if in
practice you are dishonest?

4. Why is it that fat people always think people are actually
interested in how they lost their excess lard? I always
ask them "how did you get that fat?" That seems to shut
them up.

5. Who cares? I don't. He's just another political crook
with no remorse or no accountability for his actions.
Why give him more than his '15 minutes' of notoriety?
Unless he does a Mother Theresa conversion, forget about
him. We have other life issues and things to worry about.

6. The man was given a fair trial and convicted. Will the
residents of MN ever wake up? Why would you subscribe
to a paper that writes such a soft article about a known
criminal? Face the facts, he is a convicted criminal.

7. Perhaps Mr. Brandt received a gratuity/bribe from
Mr. Zimmerman as incentive to portray Mr. Z as hero
rather than villain.

8. I am amazed at how many people are so self-righteous
these days. They can point out everyone else's flaws
as if they have none of their own. Just because
someone is a public figure, an elected official, and
makes a poor value judgment or action does not mean
they are totally unforgivable, forever. If we cannot
forgive others, how can we truly forgive ourselves?
I'm just making an observation.

9. Dean Zimmermann took the money in question while at a
fundraiser. A fundraiser, people, a fundraiser! Not
once - never! - did he ever vote for the donor's real
estate interests. The only reason Dean was set up was
because he very strongly opposed using our tax money
to build a stadium for Carl Pohlad. And now our tax
money has once again been misused in order to imprison
an innocent man - Dean Zimmermann!

It's too bad that the people who wrote these comments cannot see the videos from the trial. It would clear up a lot of misconceptions.

Zimmermann Returns to Minneapolis

Minnesota Public Radio:

St. Paul, Minn. — Former Minneapolis city council member Dean Zimmermann returns to the city today to finish serving the remaining six months of a sentence for multiple bribery convictions.

In 2006 Zimmermann was sentenced to two and a half years in prison after a jury found him guilty of three counts of bribery.

His sentence was reduced after he participated in a drug treatment program. In an email message to his wife and friends Zimmermann mentioned that he tried to make the best use of his time while being incarcerated in a Colorado prison.

He said he's lost 55 pounds and spent much of his time reading and taking classes. Zimmermann will continue serving his sentence in a halfway house and will work for a construction company doing home construction and repair.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Will Zimmermann Return in July?

A reporter told me Zimmermann is expecting to return to Minneapolis by bus and check into a halfway house on July 10th.

I checked with the BOP again and they won't say whether he is or isn't going to return to Minneapolis on July 10th.

Also, my second Freedom of Information request for the Zimmemrann FBI tapes was denied. The FBI said I needed to get a signed waiver from Zimmermann. I sent a waiver form to Zimmermann weeks ago... I have not received a reply.

I have heard rumors that Zimmermann plans to return to politics and may run again for the city council.

If Zimmermann does return in July, I hope reporters ask him to sign the waiver so people can see what is on those tapes.

Friday, June 06, 2008

The CPRT Throws Dean Zimmermann Under the Pod

Looks like Dean Zimmermann's $500-$600 million Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system plan has been scrubbed from the
Citizens for Personal Rapid Transit ( website. A small section of the map still appears (with a broken link) in the upper right-hand corner on the front page of Jerry Schneider's wacky gadgetbahn site. Did this video had anything to do with scrubbing the former Minneapolis councilman's map from the CPRT website?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Dean Zimmermann to Complete Last 6 Months of Sentence in Federal Prison

Gary Dean Zimmermann wrote a letter that appeared in the April issue of The Alley (PDF file) that claimed he was going to be released July 10th, 2008:

But my stay here in Colorado will soon be coming to an end. On July 10th of this year I am to check into the Volunteers of America half-way house in Minneapolis, E. Lake St. & 29th Ave. So., for the last 6 months of my sentence.

According to the Bureau of Prisons inmate locator, Zimmermann's current release date from Federal Prison Camp-Englewood in Littleton, Colorado is January 5, 2009.

I have confirmed the new release date with the staff at Englewood.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Jeral Poskey - Supports Dean Zimmermann and John McCain

When Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was a state senator, she told a reporter:

"People on the right, people on the left, we have the common goal of moving people with transit, but doing it in the most cost-effective manner, in fact, in a manner that may end up costing no government subsidy, it may end up paying for itself."

Jeral Poskey, former executive at Taxi 2000 and former head of the PRT-promoting Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) is a contributor to John McCain's campaign... but I remember when he defended Dean Zimmermann on the Minneapolis Issues forum:

Zimmermann conviction

From: Jeral Poskey Date: 2006 Aug 16 17:45 UTC Short link

I hesitate to re-open this wound to the city, but W. Brandon Lacy Campos wrote

something that has been disturbing me for the last several days: "I have to say that I am a bit saddened by Barb Lickness's Verdict Party taking place

This is akin to celebrating Hurricane Katrina because you really disliked FEMA director Michael Brown. I'm sorry, but I don't see how anyone can delight in a verdict that paints a stain on the city of Minneapolis.

I'm curious who else was at this Verdict Party. Who else put their personal grudges and grievances ahead of the city's well being?

Fortunately, I recently stepped down from my position on the board of the NorthLoop Neighborhood Association, as I would have found it very hard to work professionally with Barb knowing that she could find such enjoyment in a dark day in our city's history.

I hope I am wrong and read that out of context, but these are the thoughts that
have been burning my brain the last several days.

Jeral Poskey
North Loop

Watch a video Poskey made for his pod-pals ... funny that he says he's no longer the ATRA chairman when the ATRA website still claims he is the chairman... maybe ATRA will appoint Dean Zimmermann chairman when he gets out of jail in July.

Speaking of PRT, here's author James Howard Kunstler's podcast about the pod people:

Monday, April 14, 2008

Is Dean Zimmermann a "Political Prisoner"?

Scott Horton has an interesting article about how to spot political persecution. The investigation of Dean Zimmermann would appear to fit some of Scott Horton's description of politicial persecution. But, Zimmermann's own words and conduct belie that description.

I called the 8th Circuit Court and they told me that Zimmermann did not appeal his conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court. He had 3 months to appeal and didn't bother... that seriously undermines his supporters' claim that Zimmermann was a "political prisoner" and was "framed"

If Zimmermann was indeed a political prisoner, the video and audio evidence would exonerate Zimmermann. However, his supporters have yet to call for the FBI to allow the public to see the evidence as I have done.

Here is the complete text of the letter Zimmermann sent to The Alley. While you read it, ask yourself if it sounds like the sort of letter a political prisoner would write.

Greetings to All A letter from Dean Zimmermann

It has been just over a year that I have been incarcerated here in "Camp Fluffy", as we affectionately call the Federal Prison Camp-Englewood in Littleton, Colorado. Perhaps the two best things to come out of the experience is that I have had a lot of time to get a lot of books read and I have been able to lose 40 pounds, I'm still working on losing 20 more. I also have had a chance to see my son, Klaus, on a weekly basis as he lives and works here in Denver. My stay here has been made much easier by the support, visits, letters, and books and magazines, that so many of you have sent me, thank you! But especially by the faithful and loving support of my dear wife, Jenny, with whom I speak daily on the phone.

This whole ordeal has been harder on her than anyone,including me, for as I sit here cut off and unable to be of any help to community and family, Jenny hasbeen burdened with the onerous task of keeping our Clinton Ave home and our former home at 17th Avenue together as well as taking care of my brother, Doug, who has had some major medical problems this last year (including his current stint in Abbott-NW Hospital, and Walker Methodist Health Care Center where he resides at this time). I want to offer my deepest thank you's to all who have been supportive of Jenny during these trying times.

All in all, I guess the best way to characterize my experience at the prison is: waste. It is a huge waste of resources, lives and time; and for what? So a few politicians can claim bragging rights that they are tougher on crime than their opponents or some FBI agent can earn a promotion by inventing a crime with which he can con someone into committing unwittingly. After listening to the stories of many of my fellow inmates this is not at all an uncommon occurrence. Did I mention that it is also a big waste of taxpayer's money? The U.S. has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisons. And to think the U.S. is called the Land of the Free.

But my stay here in Colorado will soon be coming to an end. On July 10th of this year I am to check into the Volunteers of America half-way house in Minneapolis, E. Lake St. & 29th Ave. So., for the last 6 months of my sentence. The purpose of the half-way house is to help people transitioning into regular life when they are leaving prison. My term at the half-way house is six months, ending on January 5, 2009, and then I'll start my 3 years of probation. As soon as I have a job and have worked a 40 hour week I will be eligible to go home on week-end passes. (After 1-2 inspections of our Clinton Ave home by the Feds and assuming it passes their inspections.) After a few more weeks, if all works out as it should, I can be eligible for "Home Confinement," which means I must be at my house except for going to work, religious services, AA meetings, or a few other pre-approved excursions.

The ability for me to get weekend passes and ultimately "Home Confinement" status is dependent upon my getting a job. They will not let me be self-employed during my 6 month term at the halfway house, but never fear I have a job offer that will allow me to resume my home repair work starting July 13th. There are still some details to be worked out so I don't want to say just yet who I'll be working for, but for any of you who have been putting off needed home repairs until I return, contact Jenny either with a phone call or an e-mail message and as soon as I return I'll be in touch with you. I have good skills in carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, roofing, sheetrocking, etc. and look forward to being of service to my former Jack of All Trades customers as well as new folks.

After January 5th, 2009 I want to gradually turn the focus of my home repair business in the direction of retrofitting older/preexisting homes for solar heating, both hot water and space heating, and installation of photo voltaic solar panels for the production of electricity for homes and small businesses. I am not sure yet how this will work and will be looking for people to partner with me in this endeavor. For the past 10-11 months I have found enlightenment through the "Zen of Dishwashing." However, that practice will be ending soon as I have found a new job being an orderly for the Education Room, a job that will take up significantly less time and allow me to do more reading, planning, and correspondence (Dan Scott: I sent you a letter in November but never heard back from you--?).

In my reading I have focused a lot on history. Everything from the early settlement of the Upper Midwest by European immigrants, to the spread of humans out of Africa some 50,000 years ago. The best book I have read is "Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies" by Jared Diamond. It is a history of the past 13,000 years in just 450 pages, and gives deep insight into how it came to be that Europe conquered and developed worldwide empires rather than say China, or the Incas, or some other group doing so. And it is done in a 100% non-racist analysis. A book that gives a look into a little unknown bit of regional history is: "Land In Her Own Name: Women As Homesteaders in North Dakota," by H. Elaine who walk upright, consider that it will cost us far more to steal Iraq's oil than the fair price which might have been. So, it seems the smarter you are the dumber you can be. Lindgren. It gives documentation and shares stories of some 300 women (though there were thousands) who homesteaded in North Dakota. It was an eye opener for me. I knew that my great-grandmother homesteaded, but I thought that she was an exception, not so. I have also been reading about meditation and doing some meditation something new for me.

I have been reading about dreams and have begun writing down my dreams every night in a journal. My goal is to learn how to do "Lucid Dreaming" technique that allows one to be aware that one is dreaming while they are dreaming. It is easy to wake up and look back and see how absurd
the dream was and to know that it was a dream, but to actually stay aware inside the dream and to keep the dream going while knowing it is a dreamÉthat I have not yet achievedÉbut soon I hope.

I have also become an expert rat trapper and have taken it upon myself to set traps every night in the kitchen and am averaging about one rat per night. With the coming of Spring comes softball and I hope to be an umpire once again for the camp softball league. So far we have had one pickup gameÉ eat your hearts out you snow-bound Minnesotans :-) Besides softball umpiring, with my new job I will have time to work out twice a day in the weight room and on the track. Right now I do power-walking with some running for one hour every day, but soon I'll be able to do two one-hour sessions every day. I have also been attending Narcotics Anonymous once a week as part of my self-improvement program. So, although being in prison is a huge bother, I feel that it has given me a chance to slow down and tweek my priorities and to come out a better, more rounded person. I look forward to being back in Minneapolis, only 4 months and a few days to go. And I look forward to being fully integrated into the community by January 5, 2009. Again, many thanks to all for your letters, books, love, visits, and prayers, and for your support of Jenny. The goal is still to build a world environment and infrastructure, locally and globally, that is capable of sustaining your great-great-grandchildren, anything short of that is rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.

Peace and love,
Dean Zimmermann

Gary D. Zimmermann,
FCI Englewood/Satellite Camp
9595 W. Quincy Avenue
Littleton, CO 80123

It will be interesting if Zimmermann's "goal... to build a world environment and infrastructure" still includes this:

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Gary Dean Zimmermann to be Released July 10th

The Alley Newspaper (no web site) has published a long letter from former Minneapolis Council member (Gary) Dean Zimmermann titled "Greetings to All". Much of the letter describes the trivial details of his incarceration and the "ordeal" of his wife Jenny Heiser. He mentions that he has been going once a week to Narcotics Anonymous.

Zimmermann's story that he was innocent has changed somewhat and stands in contrast to his supporters' claim that he is a "political prisoner".

Zimmermann now claims that politicians and FBI agents (he doesn't name them) conspired to "con' him into "unwittingly" commit a crime that the conspirators invented just for him:

Dean Zimmermann

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Does Farheen Hakeem Really Believe Zimmermann Was "Innocent" and a "Political Prisoner"?

Nearly a year ago, the Green Party candidate for Neva Walker's House seat (16B) Farheen Hakeem signed a letter of support for Gary Dean Zimmermann.

These are some statements from that letter posted by Dave Bicking on David Shove's Progressive Calendar:

"We are convinced that Dean is innocent of the crime of bribery"

"we stand in support of an honest man"

"We miss Dean's leadership on the Minneapolis City

"Dean Zimmermann is a political prisoner"

Farheen Hakeem also has Zimmermann's picture (far left) on her website:

"Farheen also finds it to be important that the Green Party has little involvement with corporate corruption and greed."

Farheen Hakeem

This is how the U.S. 8th Circuit Court summarized the case against Zimmermann when they unanimously upheld the jury's verdict last month:


On January 18, 2006, a federal grand jury sitting in the District of Minnesota returned a four-count indictment against the
defendant, former Minneapolis City Councilman Gary Dean Zimmermann. The grand jury alleged in each of the four counts that Zimmermann violated Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(1)(B), by knowingly and corruptly soliciting something of value with intent to be influenced or rewarded in connection with any business, transaction or series of transactions with the government of the City of Minneapolis. Counts 1, 2, and 3 pertained to $5,000, $1,200, and $1,000 cash payments, respectively, that Zimmermann accepted from a real estate developer, Gary Carlson, in June and August of 2005. Count 4 pertained to Zimmermann’s request made to a separate developer in 2004 for the construction, at no charge to him, of a retaining wall.

Zimmermann was convicted on the first three counts and sentenced 30 months in a federal correctional facility.

I had an opportunity to talk with the chief witness in the trial, Gary Carlson before the holidays. Here's the videotaped interview:

I live in MN House District 61B. I emailed Farheen Hakeem for a statement about her views on Zimmermann... I have not received an answer.

Farheen Hakeem, Dean Zimmermann