Al Garcia, disgraced power broker, in trouble with probation officer
Disgraced Minneapolis power broker Al Garcia is in trouble with his probation officer for violating the terms of his supervised release.
Garcia pled guilty to a federal charge of aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine in 2010 and beat the rap on charges that he raped a client. Garcia was later disbarred by the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Last summer, Garcia cut a deal with federal prosecutors that let him out of prison early in exchange for his cooperation on unspecified cases. But Garcia recently got in trouble with his probation officer for working as a paralegal on gross misdemeanor cases with young local attorney Adam M. Terwey.
Terwey runs Against the Grain Legal, a small law firm advertising "creative and zealous advocacy that delivers maximum value."
An investigator with the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, Deb Barnard, discovered that Garcia had been visiting felons with Terwey at the Hennepin County jail and informed Garcia's probation officer, James Weinberger.
Weinberger asked Garcia, who admitted that he had been working with Terwey as a paralegal on gross misdemeanor cases. Terwey told Weinberger that Garcia was working with him as a "consultant."
Garcia is forbidden from working as a paralegal, at a law firm, or as an attorney, Weinberger wrote in a report detailing Garcia's parole violation.
Federal Judge Donovan W. Frank held a final revocation hearing with Garcia last Thursday, where Garcia admitted the allegations.
Judge Frank ordered Garcia to perform 50 hours of community service, to be approved by the probation officer, and prohibited him from "engaging in, or consulting on, any criminal matter for income."
He was also forbidden from working as a lawyer, paralegal, or doing "any type of legal work" during his probation. Garcia "must obtain approval" from the probation officer prior to accepting any employment, clients, or consultations that would "provide him with income," the judge ordered.
Garcia's attorney, Peter Wold, did not return a message seeking comment.
Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility Director Martin Cole confirmed that the probation officer's complaint has been brought to his office's attention and said there is an ongoing investigation of Terwey. Reached for comment, Terwey declined to provide any.
Garcia used to be one of the most influential power brokers in Minneapolis, helping elect Joe Biernat, Steve Minn, Lisa McDonald, and Jackie Cherryhomes to the City Council.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.