Ernie Leidiger uncorks some whoppers at the Waconia candidate forum

The only candidate forum in the State House 47A race occurred this morning.  I wasn’t able to attend due to a work commitment, but fortunately we have the Twitter streams of two local Republicans — Jim Sanborn (Waconia City Council member and campaign manager for State Sen. Julianne Ortman) and Jim Nash (Waconia Mayor) — to recap the event.  And, to no one’s great surprise, Rep. Ernie Leidiger said some things that defy explanation.

Like this:

Yes, that’s right.  Ernie Leidiger is calling for elected officials to be held to a higher standard.  This coming from the tax avoiding, government loan defaulting, campaign finance law violating, lawsuit losing guy.  It would be funny if Leidiger didn’t still stand a very good chance of being re-elected.  That just makes it sad.

But it doesn’t stop there:

Yes, that’s right.  Ernie Leidiger — the guy who started this regrettable trend of brawling with the League of Women Voters by acting the fool at a Voter ID forum — now wishes there would be more candidate forums.  He could have acted like an elected official is supposed to act and shown up at the LWV candidate forum last week.  Instead, he petulantly stayed home.  How much more contempt for voters does Leidiger need to demonstrate before he gets shown the door?

There’s still more:

The Legislature did increase the per-pupil formula by $50 per student and provide some additional one-time dollars in the most recent budget.  However, these funds were not sufficient to overcome the impact of the school funding shift that was also passed as part of that budget (and Leidiger voted for).  The impact in the Eastern Carver County School District alone for this biennium was a reduction in state funding of $3.6 million.  Leidiger’s statement is only correct if you ignore the impact of the shift.  As local school boards don’t have the luxury of ignoring the shift, we shouldn’t give Leidiger the ability to ignore it either.

And it goes on:

Leidiger is correct, I suppose, in pointing out that he’s never received a job from a poor person.  Pretty much everything he’s ever accomplished has been on the government dime.  The notion that a tax avoidinggovernment loan defaultingcampaign finance law violating, lawsuit losing guy like Leidiger is a source of wisdom on business issues is absurd on its face.

Every time he opens his mouth, Ernie Leidiger demonstrates why he shouldn’t be representing Carver County in the State Legislature.  It’s time to make a change.


42 Responses to “Ernie Leidiger uncorks some whoppers at the Waconia candidate forum”

  1. Ernie is typical of the me first, tea party mentality. Everything is and always be about him. He is the living, breathing epitome of IRONY. How can anyone of any party support a candidate so flawed as a human being? This is not a party line statement, this is a common sense view. The man promoted the prayer blessing and actually invited Bradlee Dean to the capital. Then he backtracks publicly while still privately supporting our own version of the Westboro hate-mongers. C’mon GOP, get rid of this guy.

  2. Shameless, breathtakingly shameless! Why do people vote for this person?

  3. You weren’t even there!

    • Oh no Sean. You’re buddy at the current is going to be charged with a felony. Are you going to cover that story before it appears in the paper? Perhaps your name will be added to the charges. I sure hope you were not involved in this. I enjoy coming here for lively discussion. Unfortunately, the current blogger screwed the pooch big time.

      • Allow me to address one point that several people have addressed to me over the last couple of months: I am not the person behind the Carver County Current. I do not know who the Carver County Current blogger is, nor are they my “buddy”.

        I’m not sure what you’re referring to in regards to felony charges against the Current blogger. Is this in relation to the Frank Long stuff? If you’ve got information regarding that, I’d be happy to look at it. You have my e-mail.

        • I know you’re not the Current blogger, but you teo seem to enjoy quoting one another in an endless game of “Bash Ernie”, and that’s all I meant by buddy.

          I’m happy to hear you are not involved in his illegal activity. It’s all still under investigation, but will all be uncovered and revealed once the charges are filed. The investigator assures me that they have the blog owner ID’d and are just investigating a few possible tangents which cannot be discussed entirely at this time.

  4. John Brunette, That is an interesting point that I’ve not heard put forward before, political statements and comments should be entirely accurate. That would change a lot of political ads wouldn’t it.

  5. I was there. The tweets are spot on.

    • The tweets are snippets. Sean won’t post the entire sentences as said by Ernie. I’d go watch the video and see for yourselves when it becomes available.

      • You don’t speak for me John, so don’t go around saying what I will or won’t do.

        I’ll be happy to post entire sentences and link to video of the whole event when it’s available.

  6. As I’ve stated eslewhere:

    Ernie’s tax problems are aginst his business. They have nothing to do with his duties as a Representative. Anyone whos knows a thing about small business and running one that has run aground, knows there is nothing unusual about this situation. Apparently, Sean, you have reviewed the books for this organization and know exactly how this came to be. I’m guessing you haven’t, since those who have have not found any wrong doing, including the state, the IRS, etc.

    I’m not talking about these two being in trouble with the Carver County BPOU, which they are to some extent. There’s little we can do about it. There is an endorsement process. We followed it to the letter, and there are duties which we are bound by as delegates, precinct chairs, board members, etc. These delegates chose to endorse Ernie, just those in my district chose Joe Hoppe. Interestingly enough, Joe breifly had a challenger, for all of about a half a dayor so. In the end, he beat the challenger and received endorsement as did Ernie.

    The tweet episode, as I mentioned, does break rules, most definately for the precinct chair position, and these rules are established at the state level, as I recall when I was a precinct chair, not by the BPOU. The state provides a document of chair duties at the caucuses, and these volunteers are expected to follow those rules. I’m not sure what the state can do about it either, other than a firm reprimand. And that may have already taken place for all I know. I’m not privy to internal state activities, and even if I was, I wouldn’t comment about those actions in a semi-public format without an official statement or clearance to do so, because I would learn of this through official business.

    What the Jim’s did was a public matter, as demonstrated on both of your sites, which is the only reason I’d even talk about it. For example, if they had even once addressed these concerns with the board, (they have not, which would be the appopriate action, especially before publically do so), we wouldn’t be talking about their feelings in regards to Ernie.

    Ernie’s business problems have nothing to do with violating public trust in the man. If he were involved in criminal activity, or was under criminal investigation, we’d have something to talk about in regards to removing support for him. But that most certainly is not the case. He’s merely a businessman caught in a tough spot due to rapid decline in revenues, including incurring bad debts from his own customer base, which led to his infortunate circumstances. It’s hrdly grounds for stripping him of an endorsement, or for that matter, determining if he’s fit for office. The two don’t mix. In fact, I suggest, that by his actions of working to recitify these financial issues, Ernie has demonstrated that he is a stand up guy, and he’s not running from his obligations, but rather the opposite is true. He’s working to address them as best as his situation allows. That’s hardly reason to knock the man.

    • There’s nothing you can do about it? Absurd! The DFL unendorsed one of their House candidates, endorsed someone else, and sued to get the original candidate off the ballot after he ran into a bout of unethical but not illegal behavior.

      The notion that Ernie Leidiger’s tax problems are his business alone is equally absurd. When you’re $144,000 behind on your taxes, that’s very much public business, especially when you’re an elected official. And, of course, he’s fighting to get the situation fixed — unless he doesn’t care at all about his credit rating or financial future.

      I would also take exception to your characterization of Leidiger’s 17-year record of dodging taxes in two states as “nothing unusual”. It speaks to his judgment and his business acumen to constantly be having these sorts of problems, unless Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were out to get him, too.

      • You are so far off base on this it’s almost funny. He isn’t behind on his taxes. His business is. He’s the last one standing and I doubt this has much affect on his personal credit rating.

        I’m going to try to explain this to you again, although why at this point seems rather pointless. You can edit this part about your unwillingness to see how cash flow works in his line of work, but the bottom line this:

        Ernie isn’t nor has ever tried to dodge paying his taxes. He has had periods in these businesses were the economy was rough, the market he served bottomed out, and future orders and existing payments disappeared, or fell short of expectations. You have choices when these situations occur. You can immediately lay everyone off or borrow money, or as often happens stop paying ceditors and taxes, and deal with them when the cash flow situation improves. Unfortunately, by not paying creditors, you soon run out of goods to sell. Many in this situation have no choice but to hold back on paying taxes, and keep the ball rolling, and adjust to the market, and pay up when things improve. Ernie’s businesses have always paid his taxes. They may have been late, and in some cases very late, but they’ve been paid. That’s not unethical at all. It’s simply reality. And it’s cerrtainly not grounds for unendorsement.

        • No John– you are off base. Is Mr. Leidiger the owner of any of the businesses? If yes, then he IS behind on his taxes.They are HIS responsibility. Believe me, as a small business owner, and in a business tied to the housing market, I know how devastating the economy has been. HOWEVER, the sacrifices most small business owners make do include layoffs or lessened hours for employees as well as owners. Talking to creditors for better terms may also be part of the strategy, but NOT paying creditors or taxes is NOT the way to run a business.

          You have a very cavalier attitude about paying taxes and creditors. And in the case of sales tax or employment tax, those are not items that the business owners can pay later. They are trust taxes, collected for the state, not money someone can pocket and use as a loan to operate their business. Because that’s what it amounts to, if a business owner is not paying those taxes– a loan from the taxpayers, with no loan agreement. That Mr. Brunette, is a character issue, especially when there is an extensive history of such behavior.

          • I’m not off base at all. Read the documents. It wasn’t a sole proprioritorship. And I do NOT have a cavalier attitude about any of this. It’s a sad day when I company gets into this kind of a cash flow problem. But you can’t pay creditors and taxes when your cash flow disappears. The owners tried and tried to make things turn around, even shifting the customer base to another field of service.

            It’s not a character issue. He’s paying the taxes! On what grounds do you figure we would have to unendorse? There’s nothing. It’s a private matter at this point. Ernie has made arrangements to deal with the debt. Case closed. We couldn’t unendorse ANYONE in this situation. Do you understand that?

            If you’re really looking for character flaws, look in the mirror. Why would you kick a man when he’s down like this? Do you really believe Ernie wants to be in this situation? Don’t you think he’d prefer to have his business turning good profits and paying taxes like it was previously? You are being obtuse and absurd.

            For us to un-endorse over this would be un-precidented. He’s taking care of the situation.

        • Ernie’s first four tax liens were for unpaid taxes in 1995, 1996, 1998, and 1999. The economy was just fine then.

          In August 2009, Ernie got a $500,000 infusion of capital into his business and yet still didn’t pay his federal taxes that quarter. How does that happen?

          You can keep making excuses for him, but this nearly two decade history of paying taxes only when convenient doesn’t pass the smell test. Especially for someone who loves to cite his small business “expertise” as a reason he’s qualified to be in the Legislature.

          • How does that happen? Simple. The load wasn’t granted to pay taxes. It wasn’t applied for to pay taxes. It was to invest in the business to turn things around. Have you seen his books yet? How about for California? Do you have even the slightest clue what kind of cash flow situation he had to incur these tax situations?

            Didn’t he pay them all, eventually?

            Seriously, what grounds would we have to un-endorse? He’s paying the taxes.

            • It doesn’t matter, John. You only pay sales taxes on the sales you make. You only pay withholding tax on the salaries you’ve paid. The money was there and he made the decision not to pay his taxes.

              You can come up with thousands of plausible reasons as to why he made that decision, and any number of them might even be true. I’m sure that he probably had the best of intentions. But the reality is that he’s still required to pay his taxes, and pay them on time (not “eventually”).

              What this 17-year record of tax liens shows is that Leidiger is a lousy businessman. Chronic cashflow problems are indicative of bad management (bad management in this case that cost hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars). And his decision to just keep not paying taxes instead of making the hard decisions about his business speaks poorly of his judgment.

              Ernie Leidiger just isn’t qualified to make crucial decisions on the state budget. (Heck, according to you he can’t even keep his campaign and personal debit cards straight!)

              • It doesn’t work that way Sean. These taxes are accrues and paid periodially from the cash account. Whether monthly or quarterly, you can end up in a situation where you accrued these payables, but have since run out of cash in the cash account to pay them when they are due.

                This is what has happened here. Ernie’s business nose dived so quickly, with some folks even cancelling orders, so future earning go to heck as well. It’s no where near as simple as you make it sound. You can’t pay the governemtn with an IOU from one of your customers. Have you ever taken an accounting course?

                This is why the loan was acquired. To improve the cash flow situation, so that further investment in products and such could be procurred, and employees to be continued to be paid. Becasue you need employees in order to service the existing base, and to continue to try make sales, and you need actual cash to make this things happen.

                Did you actually think that someone writes a check to the government for sales tax from each sale? Or writes a check to cover employment witholdings each pay period? It doesn’t work that way.

                This same thing happened to me, but on a much smaller scale. I paid out my quarterlies, and then my main client was purchased by someone else. Project ended, immediately, while I was on vacation in Mexico. Now what? Suddenly cash reserves get to be an issue. Guess who got paid the next quarter? Everyone but the government. Sure, I made it up with new contracts, but those took a while to generate income. It’s a survival tactic. The difference is, I made it through tothe other side, but I still a bit behind on taxes. No big deal. I’m in no trouble. The government is cool as long as I get caught up, and I will by the end of the year. Ernie’s sales, however, didn’t come back. Now what? Should he ship them a truck? Nope, they only take cash, it seems. And when your out, your out. Please go take an accouting course and learn how this works. Look up the word accural, and combine that with cash flow.

                There’s nothing to see here. And again, I’d ask for a precendent where someone has been un-endorsed because he had a cash flow problem in a matter that has nothing whatsoever to do with his job as a Representative. He’s paying the taxes! What grounds to you imagine we could use even if we wanted to un-endorse? How do you imagine we would proceed?

                • John, I work in finance for a Fortune 100 company. I know how it works, and I know that things get difficult at times. But I also know that in order to run a business successfully, you’ve got to be sufficiently capitalized.

                  To be in a position a month after receiving a $500K loan where you’re not able to pay your taxes indicates that there were real problems in the business and that those in charge weren’t acting prudently.

                  If this were just a blip on the radar, no one would be making a big deal about it. This wasn’t a blip on the radar, though. The Minnesota tax liens show he went for parts of three years without paying taxes. The California records show a similar pattern.

                  You can keep making excuses for him all you want, but it doesn’t change the reality.

                  • And they maybe his probelm, that he was never sufficently capitalized. Not unusual for a small business, especially a young business. You’ve never seen his books then, I take it?

                    I notice the big question that you cannot answer. What grounds do we have to un-endorse Ernie? Where’s the precendent? Which rules has he broken? Do you even know what it takes for a reversal of endorsement? How would we go about punishing someone who already made arrangments to rectify his PERSONAL business?

                    • If $500K wasn’t enough to shore it up, there were real problems.

                      The precedent? How about what the DFL did with Gauthier? Gauthier didn’t break the law, but his poor judgment in his personal activities resulted in him being stripped of his endorsement.

                    • Do you know how the 500K was invested? I’m guessing you don’t. Just like your guessing about this whole thing. This isn’t the same as what the DFL did. Ernie’s found resolutions, so we’d have nothing to go on, if any even wanted to get him removed. I know of no delegates proposing such action. No one has approached the board or even the state GOP with such a stupid request. there are no grounds for it!

                    • At this point, it doesn’t matter. Leidiger blew the money, and we picked up the tab. Guaranteed government loans are bad when Solyndra gets them, but when your friend benefits it’s OK? Are those really Republican values?

                    • By the way, you should tell Ernie his pre-general campaign finance report was due yesterday.

                    • Small business loans occurr all the time. Some make it. Some don’t. Hardly makes this unusual, like say, blowing a minor at a rest stop. Slight difference. Don’t bring that up as a comparison. You look pretty foolish when you do.

                    • The Gauthier behavior is a different sort of unacceptable behavior, granted.

                      However, financial problems of the sort Leidiger has encountered are equally unacceptable. You’re putting a guy who hasn’t followed the rules regarding paying his taxes in a position of authority to determine that for others. That doesn’t strike me as appropriate.

                    • And that’s the crux of things. We aren’t in any position to decide if his tax record is an issue. He was chosen overwhelmingly by his district’s delegates. And the taxes he’s paying, while late, are getting paid, so we have nothing actionable to deal with even if his delegates decided we was in violation of the trust. There’s nothing to see here. This is a non-factor.

                    • How’s Ernie paying it back? He doesn’t list any sources of income on his economic disclosure statement. Someone told me he’s been riding around in a City of NYA pickup. Did he get a job there?

                    • None of my business where he works. I don’t know and haven’t asked. I just know he’s made arrangements to pay. Whether that’s monthly installments, again, none of my business. Yours either.

                    • It’s certainly our business if he’s not making the proper disclosures on his economic interest form.

                    • Maybe he’s selling off stuff from Jelco. Who kbows? The point is that the taxes are being paid back. Like I said, I don’t know and neither do you. How he’s paying them back is his business. And since he is, he’s fulfilling the obligations. Move on already. He’s going to be re-elected. I guess you think so too, since you won’t place a friendly wager on it. We can do favorite charities, if you don’t like the idea of donating to the GOP when you lose.

  7. I want to make one thing clear, If you made a negative post about Joe Hoppe or Julianne Ortman, or any of the county commissioners, or as you’ve seen before, even Kurt Bills or Mitt Romney, I’m going to defend them, and do so proudly. In fact, if I see anyone of these screwing up, I tell them privately about my disappointment, and we usually discuss and move on.

    I’ve been having some very reasonable conversations with many in our local party ranks, and we are working through our differences in our rank and file. The only reason I publically chastised the Jim’s above was that these tweets were sent publically, which I found disappointing.

    All of our elected officials are people I look up to. They all bring various strengths to our party. And trying as it may be at times, I considered each and every one of them a friend. But friends have disagreements from time to time, and true frineds work through them, and in most cases, I have done just that.

    I’ve told Ernie the one and only time I was disappointed in him, and that was in regard to the speeding ticket fiasco. But I certainly defended him while chastising him, because there are people here who wanted to make a mountain out of a molehill. Know that if a Republican steps out of line, I will complain to them about it, privately. My defense ends at criminal behavior. If someone is damaging the brand, they won’t be defended. In many cases, as we’ve seen right here, the person trying to damage the brand, is the opposition. I’ll fight that every time. When lefties over simply and try to spin ups issues that really aren’t our issues, like Ernie’s late payment of his taxes, I’ll be there. Katherine Kersten called me the Knight of the Right, (perhaps thinking I was the John Brunette from Wisconsin who’s big in the knight thing), but mainly because I won’t stand for unreasonable nonsense pointed at our party. When one of ours goes very astray, like Paul Zunker, for example, their is no defense. We cut that loose. Individuals make mistakes, but any party position that gets in that kind of mess is toast. We won’t support him as a party, and I won’t defned him as a person.

    Hopefully this makes sense.


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