Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tipping Fee Criminal total take: $1000

After all the grandstanding by mayoral candidate Sam Kooiker on this city "scandal", a company destroyed, lives ruined (and one ended), it turns out this was about slightly sloppy recordkeeping by city employees at the landfill. Total take: $1000 spread among, at most, six people over seven years?

Wow, that kind of money is even enough (if they all chipped in) to pay for a creepy political mailer!

The accusers were only off by 100% -- and it turns out, even there, the State has no case. Brenner tells the defendants, who have been the bogeymen of local politics thanks to mayoral candidate Sam Kooiker for months, "never mind."

Pennington County State’s Attorney Glenn Brenner dismissed conspiracy to commit grand theft and grand theft charges against three truck drivers who once worked for Fish Garbage Service.... Over the course of seven years, the company was alleged to have swindled the landfill out of more than $100,000 in tipping fees.

Then in March, superseding indictments were issued lowering the alleged financial theft to more than $1,000.


"It was tragic. This has really been a real tragedy that these men had to endure a year or better of community condemnation," [attorney] Connelly said.

Rapid City Journal, Charges dropped against drivers in landfill fraud case,, 6/14/2011.

It's not only Brenner and Kooiker that look pretty bad here. The Rapid City Journal editorial staff, in a May 25 editorial, presumed guilt on the basis of public accusations. Not good behavior from the our respected Paper Of Record, and I hope they own up to it in a future editorial. This is what they said:
There's obvious reasons for the public to wonder if political motivations were behind the criminal case. But we highly doubt it

Prosecutors don't file charges for no good reason, and are well aware their reputations are questioned when they lose a case.

Will Kooiker be sued for defamation of character? Oh, I forgot -- the people he attacked are working-class and do not have the money to sue him -- especially after defending themselves against unfounded criminal charges by the State's Attorney, who now says "oh, never mind" -- because he clearly has no case to back up the very public accusations.

Kooiker has claimed to stand up for the little guy, but in fact has in this case attacked the defenseless to gain power for himself.

He's really creeping me out.

Truth: I'm not a big fan of the current mayor, but a Kooiker mayorship would be a total disaster for our city: legally, financially, spiritually. We'd be faced with two years of unbridled conflict in City Hall.

I sure hope my fellow Robbinsdalians agree and re-elect Alan Hanks on June 28.

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