Two years ago it at least seemed like the man once considered the most powerful pol in town might get his day in court, if not a chance to re-enter political life vindicated. No such luck. Since 1996, the former Hennepin County Board chair has been conducting a one-man crusade against the Star Tribune, which he alleges cost him his political comeback in the 1996 state Senate primary when an Election Day goof placed his mug atop a headline on charity fraud. Last year Derus complained to the Minnesota Board of Judicial Standards after the state Supreme Court killed his case against the state and the Star Tribune; he argued that Justice Alan Page--who cast the tiebreaking vote--was biased because Page's wife did contract work for Cowles Media (then the Strib's corporate parent). The board threw out Derus's complaint, as did a state Senate committee when Derus asked for a new election. The fireman's son from North Minneapolis dwells in political obscurity now, paying the bills with consulting work. And Cowles Media? Made a bundle selling the Strib. Life ain't fair.


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