Marcus Bachmann: The City Pages Interview
Throughout Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign, her husband, Marcus, has remained stubbornly in the shadows.
Even after allegations that his Christian counseling center provides gay reparative therapy, Marcus still stayed virtually silent.
But now Marcus is coming out swinging, and demanding $150 in payment from the patient who exposed the practice with an undercover video.
City Pages called Bachmann to find out if a voice-mail message to that patient really came from him. To our shock, he actually called us back and gave City Pages an exclusive interview.
John Becker, an undercover agent for Truth Wins Out, went to five appointments at Bachmann & Associates in Lake Elmo this past June and told his therapist, Timothy Wiertzema, that he didn't want to be gay anymore.
After Becker videotaped Wiertzema saying his homosexuality might "subside" or be coaxed to a "manageable" level, Becker packed up and returned to Vermont with the scoop. And that seemed to be the end of that.
Then on Monday, Becker received a surprise voice mail from Dr. Bachmann himself, demanding a $150 no-show payment for two therapy sessions Becker booked but didn't attend.
Becker returned the call, and allowed a Fox affiliate in Burlington to tape it.
"I half didn't expect him to answer," says Becker.
City Pages decided to give Bachmann a call to find out if the story was true. We never expected to hear back. After all, we're the ones who put Bachmann in a Cher video.
To our surprise, the notoriously media-shy doctor returned the call and chatted about Becker for several minutes. Read the whole conversation below:
City Pages: I'm just calling to find out if I could get a quick comment and also to make sure that was really you.
Marcus Bachmann:You mean, did I call John Becker and leave a message about the bill that he owes?
CP:His version of the story is that he already canceled those two appointments and you're saying that cancellation never happened.
CP: So he owes $150.
MB: Ah, he owes us money.
CP: The message they're putting out is that this is politically motivated, you're angry at them for doing this exposé work that they did. Do you have any response to that?
MB: No, well, it's not politically motivated at all. He owes money to our business and he should pay for it. The appointments were not canceled and the therapist was -- because if they're canceled then the therapist can see other clients, and because they were not canceled and the therapist couldn't see clients, he was financially out the money. He owes the money. He's saying that he canceled them. We have all records. We have all voice messages and he did not cancel his appointment. So at this point, it's going to be his word against ours, but on a principle basis, if a person owes a bill they should pay for it.
CP: Do you usually make these kind of bill collection calls for no-show fees?
MB: I have done that before.
CP: And just to reiterate, this is not because of the story they did or anything like that?
MB: I'm trying to follow your question. This "this," what is "this?"
CP: The point they're trying to make is, you personally calling and asking for this money is, you know, you're angry about the story they did about you guys, and you're angry about the way it may have affected your wife's campaign.
MB: No, as a matter of fact the attention we received, it actually increased business. So we'd like to thank them for allowing us to have an increase of business due to the story that got out. Our name was quite recognized across the Twin Cities and that's been helpful for business.
CP: One other thing [Becker] mentioned was that you had actually offered to meet with him and talk some of these things out. Was that something you actually would want to do with him?
MB: Our conversation -- I was open to that until he started to act in an unprofessional manner and the conversation went into, he had no agenda when he came to our clinic, and I said, 'Well, that's not a true statement. You obviously had an agenda.' He said, 'No, there's no agenda at all.' So I thought, if we can't even establish the basics of why they, why he came to our clinic and if he's stating, to say at the forefront there was no agenda -- I canceled my offer. I refuse to unless he's going to be reasonable.
The only other thing he mentioned is, it's such a small amount of money. As a conservative, it's not the money amount, it's the principle that he owes. I'm doing this on behalf of our therapist who is out the money. That's the way it works, so. Our therapist actually did not want to call him because of the situation. That's why I stepped in, so, in that way it was probably somewhat unusual for me doing it for a therapist.
We can only wonder, now that Michele Bachmann's campaign is on death-watch, does this herald the era of a badder, bolder, more media-friendly Marcus? Only time will tell.
Meanwhile, Becker's got until Friday before his bill goes to collections.
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