According to this Dakota County Criminal Complaint, the West St. Paul City Councilmember who raised hackles back in February for flying a Confederate flag has been charged with Misconduct of Gross Misdemeanor Public Officer or Employee as well as Misdemeanor Disorderly Conduct due to his interference with properties adjacent to his.
From the Complaint:
In January of 2011 the West Saint Paul City Council voted to develop a property next door to Hansen’s residence, but on the opposite side as the listed property. Hansen was the sole dissenting vote against the project. The West St. Paul City Council Members make up the city’s Economic Development Authority committee (EDA). The project was a joint effort of the City of West Saint Paul Economic Development Authority and a developer. The developer was to develop the property and any profit from the sale of the home would be shared between the developer and the City. As a city councilman, Hansen was aware that any sale of the property would need to be approved by the EDA. Despite this knowledge, after the vote passed Hansen contacted the developer and offered to buy the property. The developer declined the offer.
On June 11, 2012 the West Saint Paul Police Department was contacted by the listing agent of property located on Felix Street in the City of West Saint Paul, Dakota County Minnesota. The agent reported concerns about the conduct of Edward Everett Hansen. It was reported that Hansen owned the neighboring property and was interfering with multiple showings occurring at the Felix Street property.
While still in the residence Hansen questioned the potential buyer about whether the potential buyer intended to use the property as a rental property after purchasing it. The buyer indicated that it was his intention to use the property as a rental. This seemed to anger Hansen who then told the potential buyer in an irate, raised voice that he was a “City Councilman for West Saint Paul” and that he would “make sure that he would never get a rental permit”.
On November 23, 2011 the general contractor was working on this site and was approached by Hansen. The general contractor had never met Hansen before. Hansen approached and said “what the f*** are you doing?” Hansen began yelling at the contractor that he did not want this house to be built, and that Hansen was not going to allow the house to be built. The contractor reported that Hansen was ranting and raving, and most of Hansen’s statements began with some variation of the word “f***”.
It’s clear that what Hansen did is inappropriate, however, so is greasing the wheels of the system and getting others on the City Council to agree with your position on one agenda item so they can get their way on another. Is one more right or wrong than another? Definitely not. Unfortunately because this guy didn’t play by the political rules, he is going to be punished while the inappropriate behavior conducted by politicians every day will go on unimpeded.
What do you think about this one? Do you think that Backstrom’s comment that this isn’t a common criminal charge is a sad state of affairs and should be exercised more often? Do you think that Hansen could have gotten his way had he approached the deal in the more traditional “you scratch mine and I scratch yours” route? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on below!