Gary Schiff wants developer who wrote fake emails removed from Mpls housing board
Minn (left) served on the City Council from 1994-99. Schiff wants him off a city board and wants the city to stop doing business with his development company.
City Council Member Gary Schiff wants the city to sever ties with Minneapolis Public Housing Authority board member Steve Minn.
Minn, owner of Lupe Development -- a firm that in February was awarded a $2 million Met Council grant for the Mill City Quarter development in downtown Minneapolis -- was recently outed for using fake names on emails that disparaged competing developer Kelly Doran and city officials. Earlier this month, the Minneapolis city attorney ruled that Minn didn't violate ethics rules since he was working on behalf of his company and not the city when he sent the emails, but Schiff argues Minn can no longer be trusted and shouldn't be allowed to continue his relationship with City Hall.
"There is a three- to five-year waiting list from developers who'd like access to funds to help build affordable housing," Schiff said in an interview with KSTP. "I don't think we should be doing business with Mr. Minn anymore."
The Star Tribune backgrounds some of Minn's fake emails and how he was outed:
The two most recent e-mails centered on Doran's pursuit of more than $800,000 in public funds for environmental cleanup of a future apartment site. "The man is a crook. Please do not allow it!!!" wrote Minn, posing as [Howard] Wilbur, in an e-mail to Council Members Diane Hofstede and Lisa Goodman last October...
Wilbur and [Suzanne Sharp, another pseudonym] claimed to own units in buildings that Doran built for Minn's firm, Lupe Development, which they said were poorly constructed. Both projects, Madison Lofts and Flour Sack Flats, were the subject of extensive litigation between Doran and Minn...
Doran determined that the e-mails came from Minn after filing a defamation suit against the pseudonyms in Hennepin County court, requesting that Comcast reveal who had the e-mail addresses. Doran dropped the suit in late December.
In a statement released after news of the fake emails went public, Minn wrote: "I deeply regret my lack of good judgment in using pseudonyms. I hope that by acknowledging these facts, I will be able to re-earn the trust of city officials and continue my positive relationship with them."
But that's not enough for Schiff, who was bashed by Minn for alleged shady fundraising practices in a 2009 e-democracy post that actually bore Minn's own name. Schiff is calling for Minn to either resign from the public housing board or be removed by his fellow members.
Minn doesn't sound like he has any plans to resign, however. Referring to the outcome of the city attorney's investigation, he recently said,"The results speak for themselves."
:::: CORRECTION ::::
Bob Boyd, director of policy for the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, got in touch with City Pages this morning and let us know that Minn's Lupe Development firm hasn't received any MPHA money. Boyd said Minn has applied for MPHA funds in the past, but was denied. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Minn had received tax dollars for public housing projects.
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