Tag Archives: 47A

Ernie Leidiger: A day late and a few thousand short

The final pre-election campaign finance reports were due on Monday.  State Rep. Ernie Leidiger missed the deadline, filing his report one day late.  (Given his other history, it would have been a surprise had he been able to file the report on time.)  What’s really interesting, though, is comparing his 2012 report versus the report he filed two years ago at this time.

One of the real advantages of incumbency is supposed to be your ability to fundraise.  Yet, Leidiger’s fundraising has fallen significantly.  In 2010, Leidiger had raised $6,651 in individual contributions (excluding his own contributions).  This year, he’s only mustered $3,973 — a drop of of about 40%.  Even more telling is that none of Leidiger’s itemized individual contributions (those of $100 or more) came from within his district.

Leidiger has successfully been able to tap into additional funds from lobbyists and PACs ($2,320 this year vs. $700 in 2010), but he’s still showing a fundraising gap of nearly $2,800 compared to 2010 (excluding public subsidy payments).

Yes, 2012 is a Presidential cycle, but other Carver County legislative Republicans aren’t seeing the same sorts of dropoffs.  State Sen. Julianne Ortman has more than doubled her individual contributions this cycle, from $14,638 to $31,610, for instance.

It seems that GOP donors just aren’t as in to Ernie as they used to be.  I wonder why that is?

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Compare and contrast

Here’s what one of Carver County’s State Representatives is up to:

A 47-year-old single woman suffering from the highly aggressive HER2NU Stage 2 breast cancer is going to get the life-saving treatment she needs after a bipartisan effort from Rep. Joe Atkins (DFL-Inver Grove Heights) and Rep. Joe Hoppe (R-Chaska). …

After quoting the state statute regarding MCHA coverage, Rep. Joe Hoppe wrote the following to the Enrollee Appeals Committee:

“This statute was not intended to prevent individuals like Lisa, who desperately need coverage from MCHA, from qualifying for coverage. The statute would never have been written this way if lawmakers knew it would force a cancer patient to choose between bankruptcy and an avoidable early death. … MCHA was created to help Minnesotans just like Lisa, who have preexisting conditions preventing them from adequate coverage in times of serious illness.”

And here’s what the other one is doing:

Which sort of behavior do we want our elected officials to model going forward?  I disagree with Joe Hoppe on many, many issues, but he conducts himself the way an elected official should — treating his office and his constituents (whether or not they agree with him) with respect.

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.

Don’t let Ernie Leidiger fly under the radar

Let’s face it, the last few months haven’t been that great for Ernie Leidiger.  His tax issues and rank hypocrisy on government involvement in the private sector have been exposed for all to see in the middle of a re-election campaign.

So how has Leidiger been dealing with these problems?  By trying to keep his head down, staying out of sight, and trying to cruise to a victory based solely on the “R” behind his name.  Even some local conservatives have been muttering about Ernie’s low profile.

His campaign website is an embarrassing shambles that apparently hasn’t been updated since January and still refers to his old House District number of 34A.  He ducked the League of Women Voters candidate forum after his ridiculous behavior at a LWV Voter ID forum was exposed, leaving tomorrow’s Waconia Rotary/Waconia Chamber of Commerce/Waconia Patriot event at Island View Golf Club as the only one-on-one appearance with his opponent, Keith Pickering.  Too bad that interested voters have to pay $10 to gain entrance to that event, as opposed to the LWV forum which not only was free to attend but would have been recorded for on-demand online viewing.

It’s almost as if Leidiger doesn’t want to make himself available to voters. While this may be smart campaign strategy given his propensity for foot-in-mouth statements, it’s really not the sort of behavior we should be rewarding in our public officials.

Leidiger did surface once recently, though, seeking to protect himself by using religion as a shield.  Two weeks ago, Leidiger made one of his infamous campaign-season appearances at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Waconia to campaign on behalf of the marriage amendment.  Classy as always.

The sad reality for Carver County residents is that there’s only one way to stop this sort of self-serving and embarrassing behavior, and that’s to vote Leidiger out of office.  In two weeks, you have that opportunity and you should not let it slip away.

Leidiger defaults on SBA loan; taxpayers left holding the bill

Brick City Blog has confirmed that State Rep. Ernie Leidiger’s business Jelco Parts, Inc., has defaulted on its $500,000 government guaranteed Small Business Administration (SBA) loan.  Based on the information we already knew about Leidiger’s business troubles, this is not a surprising revelation.  Under the terms of the Patriot Express loan program that Leidiger took advantage of, the federal government guaranteed up to $450,000 of the loan.  The final amount that the government ended up paying related to this default was redacted by the SBA.

What is surprising is how quickly Jelco Parts went into default after receiving the loan.  SBA documents show that Jelco Parts, Inc. was considered in default by its lender, Crow River Bank, by July 25, 2010.  That’s only 11 months after the loan was finalized (August 26, 2009).  Typically, loan payments have to be delinquent for at least nine months in order for a loan to be considered in default (closing the business can also trigger a default, and documents from the lender in March 2011 requesting that the SBA pay off the remaining loan amount indicate the business was considered closed at that time.

The question that arises out of this timeline is:  where did all the money go?  Jelco Parts burned through a substantial amount of money in a year, and didn’t pay its taxes or make its loan payments during that time.  Interestingly, included in the SBA documents was information about a September 2009 fire at the Leidiger property in Camden Township.  The house that was on the property was substantially damaged in the fire, and a new one was built in 2010.

Ernie Leidiger owes us a complete accounting of his business troubles, and give us a complete explanation of why we should trust him to responsibly handle the affairs of state government when he appears to be doing such a dismal job of keeping his own affairs in order. The Waconia Rotary Club, the Waconia Chamber of Commerce and the Waconia Patriot are hosing a candidate forum on Wednesday, October 24 for Leidiger and his DFL opponent Keith Pickering (as well as State Senate candidates Julianne Ortman and Jim Weygand).  We hope Leidiger will use that forum to give a forthright accounting of the situation with a complete acceptance of personal responsbility, as opposed to continuing to blame others for his failures.

Brick City Blog Endorsement: Keith Pickering for State House 47A

I am pleased to announce the endorsement of Keith Pickering for State House in District 47A.  Anyone who reads this blog will not find this to be much of a surprise, given the numerous things we know about his opponent, State Rep. Ernie Leidiger.  And, in fact, one could construct an argument to support Pickering based solely on the disastrous record Leidiger has put up in his single term in the state legislature.

But there’s also a positive case to be made for Keith Pickering.  So let me tell you a few things about him.  Pickering does not have the usual background of a state legislator.  He recently retired after a long career in the information technology field.  He’s a historian — an accomplished and recognized expert of the journeys of Christopher Columbus principally — but has also written about Minnesota explorer Ralph Plaisted.

Pickering is a long-time Watertown resident.  He knows this area inside and out.  His background as a systems analyst means he loves data and facts.  We need more folks in the state legislature who can take problems apart and apply logic to them as opposed to shooting from the hip and having only a talking-point deep understanding of the issues our state faces.

Pickering is a moderate, who is committed to working together to solve the problems that face out state instead of engaging in all-out partisan warfare.  Regardless of which party ends up holding the legislative majorities after November’s election, it seems likely that both houses are going to be closely divided.  If we expect the people’s work to get done, we need pragmatic and principled leaders willing to do the hard work required to reach compromise.  Keith Pickering will be one of those leaders.  We have had enough of backbenchers who don’t contribute to solving our state’s problems.

Carver County, you have a choice in this election.  I encourage you to find out more about Keith Pickering, and his vision for honest and balanced leadership.  Visit his website — www.keithpickering.com — to learn about his views.  And then, I urge you to vote for him on November 6.

Leidiger’s tax troubles extend to California

The folks over at the Carver County Current brought my attention to some new Ernie Leidiger tax records unearthed at a new blog called We Can Do Better Carver County.

The records show that Leidiger’s tax issues have not been limited to his recent experiences here in Minnesota.  Six tax liens were filed against Leidiger from 1998 to 2009, for unpaid taxes from 1995 to 2006.  The liens totaled $27,497.45.  Scans of the documents are below.

A search of the San Diego County Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk website shows that all of the unpaid California taxes were paid off by the end of 2009.

Leidiger releases statement on tax issues

State Rep. Ernie Leidiger has released a statement on his tax issues.  It reads:

Many small businesses have experienced financial difficulties in these uncertain, troubling economic times. My office furniture business was successful for almost five years, employing 30 people with sales that grew every year, reaching almost $2.5 million at its height in 2008. Our business was closely linked to commercial real estate, so when that market faltered, so did ours. Things were looking good by the middle of 2009, only to crater again as uncertainty grabbed hold of the economy.

As businesses downsized, demand for our products dropped, orders were canceled and we had to downsize ourselves. We tried to stay afloat by shifting to work in furniture removal and liquidation, but that, too, soon lost its demand.

By 2011, we had to close our doors, and with that came the loss of 30 direct jobs as well as work for the vendors we worked with. The pain of closing its doors was difficult for me and the employees and family members who made our successful years possible. You never want to see something you pour your life into fail.

I am the last office holder standing from our operations, and I am the one who is taking the responsibility to finish it. I have a payment plan in place with the state to pay off our remaining tax liability and am in negotiations with the federal government to do the same.

Leidiger speaks, and it makes no sense

State Rep. Ernie Leidiger has finally spoken regarding his tax problems.  Based on what he said, he probably should have kept his mouth shut.  In an interview with the Chanhassen Villager/Chaska Herald, Leidiger claims the current owed amount of taxes is lower that the original amount of $144,000 and he is working on a payment plan.

Instead of taking responsibility for his problems, though, Leidiger knows exactly who to blame for his problems:  Barack Obama.

“One of my companies is a victim of the Obama economy,” Leidiger told the Villager.

Later comes this passage:

Leidiger said if the Obama administration had not done a federal stimulus program the business would have been fine.

An interesting perspective, given Leidiger’s own business was the recipient of a $500,000 loan as part of the federal stimulus program.

Leidiger also claims that if government had reduced spending, his business would still be alive today.  How Leidiger can make that claim is not specified.  And it likely won’t be specified in the future, either, given Leidiger’s record.

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