Who is Jim Jundt?


A brief bio of the man who hosted Bachmann and Bush

class=img_thumbleft>For all of the mystery surrounding President Bush's visit to the Twin Cities on Tuesday--Which interstates would be closed for the motorcade? Who came up with the idea of his health care reform panel?--one poorly kept secret was where the Presidential fund raiser for Michele Bachmann's Congressional campaign would be held.

By Tuesday morning, the Bachmann snoops had sussed out the location: 1400 Brackett's Point, a ritzy peninsular enclave on the shores of Lake Minnetonka. Historically, the place has been referred to as "Pillsbury Point" by the locals, due to the fact that the famous Minnesota family has owned several mansions there for decades.

But the host of Tuesday's high-class kegger was a lesser known tycoon by the name of James Jundt.

The party was a smashing success, apparently. Armies of law enforcement vehicles blocked off parts of Highway 15, the road that leads to Brackett's Point, and giant orange balloons and water patrol officers kept boaters about three football fields away from the shoreline. But a cool grand would get you into the lavish affair, and another $5,000 would get you a picture with G-Dub.

Hennepin County property records show that the home of Jim and Joann Jundt, on the border of Wayzata and Orono, has been valued at $11 million. Jundt, along with his son Marcus, is one of the managers of Jundt Associates, an investment firm that was founded in 1982.

"Initially, the firm managed large corporate pension plans and other tax-exempt money," according to the firm's web site. Now the business is a "family of mutual funds," and "currently own[s], or [has] owned in the past, stocks like Microsoft, Oracle, Home Depot, XM Satellite Radio, Wal-Mart, Cisco, and Starbucks."

From 1990-93, according to one newspaper account, the firm earned more than $80 million. Coffee, apparently, has been very, very good to Jundt, for he is also the largest individual shareholder in Caribou.

Jundt started his career in 1964 with Merrill Lynch as a security analyst. He worked for IDS (the namesake of the iconic downtown building) in 1969, and eventually became a portfolio manager for St. Paul Advisers in 1979 before starting his own firm. Jundt is a graduate of Gonzaga University.

Jundt has had a profile outside of the local investment community. He currently sits on the Board of Governors at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, and in the 1990s was one of the owners of the Minnesota Vikings.

He's also been a big-time political donor. The Star Tribune noted in 1998 that Jundt had contributed some $143,000 to local and state campaigns over the years, a majority of it going to Republicans. In 1997 alone, he forked over some 25 grand to political candidates on the GOP side.

News reports had it that the Bachmann shindig raised some $500,000 for the state senator from Stillwater who is seeking Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District seat--although Bachmann never directly said that money was coming from just this one event.

Either way, it's good for Bachmann to have people like the President and Jundt on her side. She's trailed main opponent Patty Wetterling in the money-raising stakes so far, and conventional wisdom has it that her evangelical base in the Sixth is a little light in the wallet.

Jundt, clearly, is a man comfortable around boatloads of money. "If you've got something to invest, he's one of the guys you go to," one Wayzata insider said on Tuesday. "The trouble is, you've got to have at least $4 million, just to play with, before he'll even talk to you."