Davis contends that Gaertner should have declared herself in conflict earlier because of Wodele's established relationship with Barkley; he makes a more convoluted claim that Anoka prosecutors dismissed the complaint as part of a political payback scheme that culminated with the appointment of former Anoka County Attorney Charlie Weaver as the public safety commissioner. Weaver was not county attorney at the time, but Davis contends that Weaver was still connected to the office. Davis concedes he has little evidence to establish this component of the alleged cover-up. But, he asks, why else would Ventura turn over such a plum job to a law-and-order Republican with whom he seemed to have little in common?
Those named in Davis's book are not much inclined to respond to his myriad allegations. Neither Ventura nor Wodele, the governor's spokesman, responded to City Pages' requests for interviews. Gaertner says only, "I haven't read the book, and I don't intend to. I've got other books on my reading list." Dean Barkley is also entirely dismissive. "I have not bothered to make comments on his book since his book is not worth commenting on," he says. "It belongs in the fairy-tale section of the bookstore."
Dick Franson, who filed the initial complaint with Gaertner over the Dahn affair, begs to differ. "Dahn wasn't a good candidate, and I think if he had been a better candidate somebody might have done something about it," Franson opines. "But it shouldn't matter. The law was broken, all the way down the line."
Dahn has embarked on another campaign for governor, this time registering under the banner of Ventura's Independence Party. Dahn says he regrets his refusal to give a statement to Ramsey County investigators when they first looked into the matter. Of Barkley and Ventura, he says now, "They conned me. They chumped me."
Davis, meanwhile, is not sure what effect Ventura's decision not to seek reelection will have on his book's fortunes. He is coy about sales, saying only that he has been disappointed.
And with Ventura bowing out, what is the point of digging into a back-room deal that likely had zero effect on the outcome of the election? After all, no one--with the exception of Bill Dahn--believes a primary challenge in '98 would have hurt Ventura.
"That's irrelevant," responds Davis. "If you rob a gas station, and you come back and return the money, you still have to answer for that. Dahn was a victim of these bullies. They roll up to his house in a Porsche, and made him all these promises to change parties. And that was not right."