Tripp Emmer and a bunch of his hockey-playing buddies got drunk and visited a strip club on July 10. Then they got nabbed for underage boozing, and managed to help drag Republican Rep. Tom Emmer's drunken driving history back into the spotlight as his campaign for governor got rolling.
Although we broke the news of Tripp's arrest, the police record from that day has now surfaced, and it tells the sordid tale of a bunch of underage guys caught partying in a lakeside cabin up north while the owners were away.
Tripp was doing all this while he was a paid staffer on his father's campaign. That's stellar behavior for a kid who may live in the governor's mansion one day.
The cops came down on Tripp & Co. after an ambulance driver saw them running down the middle of a road in the middle of the night near a strip joint called Lookers, outside of Alexandria, and called the cops.
The first guy nabbed was Karsten Gary McGowan, hiding in a ditch, smelling like booze and obviously drunk. He ratted out his buddies: They were all under 21, went to Lookers and decided to walk home "because they were intoxicated."
Meanwhile, a different deputy and a state Trooper searching the area heard someone running towards them. They threw a light on the guy when he was about five yards out, ordered him to the ground, and slapped handcuffs on him.
That's when he identified himself as Thomas Emmer. And pretty quickly he spilled the beans about the booze and strip joint, too.
Then the deputies had to get the lawbreakers home, which in this case turned out to be a friend's place at 6922 E. Lake Carlos Drive, where they were all staying.
I asked Emmer for the name of the person that owns the cabin where they are staying. He told me the cabin belongs to the family of one of his friends whose first name is Matt; however, he didn't know his last name. I asked Emmer if he thought he would be able to direct me to the cabin and he stated, "Yes." Emmer directed me to 6922 E Lake Carlos Drive where I observed Deputy (#217) parked in the driveway. Deputy (#217) and I were not comfortable allowing the two intoxicated males into a house that we had no way of knowing for sure that they were supposed to be there. I explained this concern to Emmer. I asked Emmer if any of his friends were over the age of 21 and he stated "No."
The two squad cars, one carrying McGowan, one carrying Emmer, rolled up and the cops knocked on the door. They were greeted by Benjamin DomJahn, who they said smelled like he'd been drinking too. And, no, he told them, he was not 21 years old either. So in the officers went, and discovered they had stumbled on the remains of a big underage drinking party.
The cops watched as the booze got poured down the drain and the boys started complaining, sensing the heap of shit they were now in. One even tried hiding a few bottles in a garbage bag. By the end of the go-round, Tripp Emmer was among those who had been issued a citation for underage drinking -- an admission of guilt.
And that might have been the end of the story. But Tom Emmer, booze and the law make a lousy cocktail. The candidate's two prior drunken driving arrests have long been public record. He's also been at the center of some controversy for championing the rights of DWI offenders in the Statehouse.
Emmer has also chosen to make Tripp and the rest of his family part of his campaign, billboarding them in a video extolling his Republican family values and budget-cutting acumen.
So earlier this month we decided to publish photos from Facebook that offered a different look at Tripp Emmer -- the ones without the family values. In image after image he's shown, as a 19 year old, whooping it up with beer in hand at a party.
And in one now notorious photo, he can be seen posing over a passed out woman on whose face someone has drawn penis pictures. And he's smiling, giving a big thumbs-up.
Along with those photos, we also broke the news about Tripp's arrest in Douglas County. At the time, we had heard rumors about his exploits up north. The arrest records we're publishing today confirm the lurid details.
And they now fit into what is emerging as a pattern in Tom Emmer's campaign. Not only have the younger and senior Emmer run afoul of the law with their boozing, but so have two of Emmer's former campaign managers.
One of them, state Rep. Mark Buesgsens, was arrested Saturday night in Wright County on suspicion of drunken driving, after a deputy saw him trying to drive out of a ditch. And David Fitzsimmons was arrested for drunken driving in Hennepin County in May. He pleaded the guilty charge down to a misdemeanor and ended up with a fine and probation. Both say they were off the Emmer campaign's payroll at the time of their arrests.
The Tripp Emmer arrest reports are after the jump.
The first of two arrest reports from the night Tripp Emmer was cited for underage drinking, via Minnesota Progressive Project.
And here's the second report:
- The Facebook photos Tom Emmer doesn't want you to see
- Tom Emmer addresses son Tripp's illegal drinking
- Tripp Emmer was on campaign payroll during underage drinking bust
- Tom Emmer was for bullies before he was against them
Tripp Emmer: It's not the drinking, it's the shaming
- Fox 9 covers Tripp Emmer Facebook scandal
- Tom Emmer's former campaign chief Mark Buesgens nabbed for DWI
- Emmer campaign's alcohol problems keep getting worse