In February, we brought you the story of Ed Hansen, the conservative West St. Paul City Council member who, much to the chagrin of his neighbors, fellow councilors, and African-Americans everywhere, flew the stars and bars at home.
Hansen's fellow councilors said there was little they could do beyond ask Hansen to take the flag down. But Hansen also owns a Rocco's Pizza in Little Canada, and the day after our story was published, City Pages received a message from a less-than-pleased Jim Bauer, president of Rocco's.
Bauer said Hansen removed the flag after Rocco's essentially told him to do so. But turns out Hansen couldn't resist the stars and bars for too long -- according to a Pioneer Press report published today, Hansen is still driving neighbors crazy with his one-man Confederate-flag-flying rebellion.
[jump] Jay Brunn, a developer building a home on the vacant lot next to Hansen's property, called West St. Paul City Council member Ed Iago about two weeks ago to complain about how Hansen put up not one, not two, but three Confederate flags outside his house, along with two in his windows.
"As a home builder and seller, it's a nightmare," Brunn said.
Hansen is also under criminal investigation for a June 11 "verbal dispute" that took place with a real-estate agent who was visiting a foreclosed residential property next to his home. Police haven't yet disclosed details about the incident.
The city of West St. Paul has a financial stake in the home being build next to Hansen's property. An agreement between the city's Economic Development Authority and Brunn calls for the city to receive a percentage of the profit once the home is built and sold.
In light of that agreement, West St. Paul City Attorney Kori Land recently told Hansen she's "concerned about his behavior" and warned him about possible "legal action for a council member interfering with the EDA's contract."
After Land's admonishment, Hansen said he'd remove the flags, and indeed, as of Tuesday they were gone. The PiPress reports that a no-trespassing sign scribbled "Go Away" now sits at the end of Hansen's driveway. An American flag hangs inside the door, and a motion-activated recorder warns visitors: "No trespassing! Go away"
Hansen says his free speech has been "squelched."
"I feel alienated and I feel like a prisoner in my own home now," he added. How does he think slaves felt?
A call and e-mail to Rocco's Bauer seeking comment about Hansen's recent shenanigans weren't immediately returned.