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BEST SCANDAL Minneapolis 2008 - Carol Molnau's shameless land deal

Scandal is a perennial that comes in many varieties, but this year's yield has been a particularly rich and diverse one. There was the newspaper publisher who quit in order to work at a rival newspaper, bringing with him confidential advertiser information on his laptop before being humiliated in court and stripped of his job. Or the visiting United States senator who acknowledged, then angrily denied, soliciting sex in an airport men's room. Or the state's heath commissioner, who covered up data about the cancer deaths of 35 iron ore miners. Not to mention MnDOT's homeland security chief, who spent the 10 days after the 35W bridge collapse hanging out with her boyfriend on the East Coast. We could go on, but we'd rather cut right to this year's winner. Eight years ago, when Carol Molnau was the chair of the state House's Transportation Finance Committee, she authored and pushed through legislation to build a freeway adjacent to her Chaska farm. Eight days later, she sold the farm to developers for $3.3 million. The recent disclosure of this shameless conflict of interest was enough to compel state Senate DFLers to finally fire the much-maligned Molnau as head of MnDOT. But don't feel too sorry for her. After all, if her boss winds up as vice president, she's still in line to be governor.

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