What should a public official do when faced with accusations of racism? Naturally, the first order of business is to issue a blanket denial. Scott LeDoux, the embattled director of the Minnesota Boxing Commission, followed that protocol in the wake of reports that he called officials with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe "stupid" and "greedy."
In a statement on his personal website, LeDoux—known as "the Fighting Frenchman" in his glory days as a heavyweight contender—flatly denied making any racist remarks. In keeping with the tradition of politicians since time immemorial, he claimed he had been misquoted by the Duluth News Tribune.
Still, LeDoux acknowledged that he opposed the Mille Lacs band's decision to form an independent athletic commission to oversee a March 17 boxing card at Grand Casino in Hinckley. And he defended his decision to blackball two fight judges from state-sanctioned shows if they worked the Mille Lacs card.
With Mille Lacs now demanding that Gov. Tim Pawlenty remove LeDoux from his post as boxing commissioner, the Fighting Frenchman has assumed a more aggressive posture. Early Thursday, he fired off a mass email to the likes of Frank Stallone (Sly's brother), Matt Blair (the former Minnesota Viking), and "MOMMY LeDoux" (paging Dr. Freud).
The list of recipients was not as strange as the content of the email. It began with the claim that "Satan has been on the attack against me" ever since three people "gave their life to Christ" at a church where LeDoux spoke. After asking his friends to contact the governor's office to voice their support, LeDoux made one more request: "Pray for me that Satan is run off by Jesus. I need your help!!"
It's probably a little late to bring it up now, but LeDoux's boxing career may have benefited from better headgear. —Mike Mosedale
Something About Mary
An Austin, Minnesota, man pleaded guilty to gross misdemeanor theft last week. His crime: stealing a five-foot statue of the Virgin Mary from a cemetery.
"You can tip over a tombstone," Bud Johnson, a curator at Calvary Cemetery, told reporters in November. "But when you steal the Blessed Virgin from Catholics, that's another thing."
If so, there must be a special circle of hell for people who paint Our Lady in clown makeup and pose with her in photos, as 20-year-old Briceson Bryan did. Bryan then offered the statue as a gift to his girlfriend, 19-year-old Ashley Schwarzenbach.
Bryan and Schwarzenbach may be top-notch heathens, but criminal masterminds they're not. Pictures of the couple with the defaced statue eventually made their way to MySpace, which led investigators to Schwarzenbach's closet, where they found Mary.
Bryan did not return calls requesting comment, and his MySpace page hasn't been accessed in over a year, but the page's headline reads, "We're on an express elevator to hell." —Chuck Terhark
Last one out, turn off the lights
Metro magazine is having staffing problems. Another way to put it: Metro magazine has a fantastically dynamic masthead.
Last week, Mark Baumgarten resigned as editor of the seven-month-old shopping-and-nightlife glossy. His departure followed defections by the art director, managing editor, and assistant editor.
"We'd brought in a new editor and it didn't work out that well," says editorial director Barbara Knox of Tiger Oak Publications, who adds that the departure was amicable. "Of the two earlier departures, managing editor Rob Van Alstyne left for a better job at Iconoculture"—a local consumer-research company. "And the assistant editor, Meghan McAndrews, left for something completely different. She's going to teach yoga."
Filling at least one of these vacancies will be new managing editor Erin Madsen, of Downtown Minneapolis magazine. (If you've ever seen an issue of Downtown Minneapolis magazine, please let us know.)
Does this turmoil mean that Metro might give up the fight in the crowded city-mag market?
"Oh God no!" Knox says. "Financially we are exactly where we expect to be. We're probably ahead of where we expected to be in the number of subscriptions, and ad revenue is better every issue."
Few Twin Cities readers would have expected Mark Baumgarten to be helming a local lifestyle pub, having seen his scrappy music journal Lost Cause in 2002 and 2003. And it sounds like 28-year-old Baumgarten himself may have been uncomfortable with the fit. "The magazine needs an editor more keyed into the demographic they want to hit," he says. "A more affluent demographic. They want to hit late-30s, mostly women, and people who have expendable income. And that's kind of exactly the opposite of who I am." —Michael Tortorello
Say it, don't spray it
Minneapolis's war on graffiti hit a new low last week when the City Council passed an ordinance requiring merchants to keep spray paint under lock and key.
The city already bans the sale of spray paint to minors; the new rule would require clerks to ask for ID with every sale.
"Graffiti has been an ongoing, persistent problem in Minneapolis for a long time," says City Council member Cam Gordon. "It's one of the most common problems we hear about."
Last year, the city's 311 information line received 13,600 complaints about graffiti, and police fielded an additional 900 calls.
"It's a tool that other cities have tried to use," Gordon says of the carding provision. "It's certainly not a big solution or a long-term solution, but a little step on the way."
"That's ridiculous," gripes Burt Savitt, owner of the paint store Savitt Brothers on Nicollet. "There's a vast market for it commercially."
Among his best customers? "The city of Minneapolis and the park board will use it to spray posts and things instead of taking machinery out there."
The city and park board's spray paint habit came as news to Gordon, who quipped, "Well, now we've found out who's doing all the graffiti." —Beth Hawkins