Please publish this letter to
the Mille Lacs County Commissioners
August 31, 2007
The Minnesota Department of Revenue has determined that Nexus aka Nexus
Diversified Community Services, does not qualify as a charity and it has
recommended that Nexus is taxable in Mille Lacs County. Our County Assessor
has concurred with the State’s recommendation, denying Nexus property tax
exemption. Having been refused property tax exemption in Mower County, Crow
Wing County, and now also Mille Lacs County, Nexus continues to disregard
its tax obligation by now seeking property tax abatement.
Minnesota Constitution Article XII, Section 1
states that the local government is prohibited from “exempting property
from taxation...” It continues to prohibit the “granting to any
private corporation, association, or individual any special or exclusive
privilege, immunity or franchise …” Having been found taxable by the
Minnesota Department of Revenue and Mille Lacs County Assessor, any efforts
to circumvent this ruling, including the application of tax abatement,
contradicts the Minnesota Constitution. Nexus has the right to appeal
matters of property tax exemption through the Minnesota Tax Court, not evade
paying taxes through tax abatement.
As United States citizens, we rely on our elected officials to represent us
– we the people. With the City of Onamia forcing the purchase, annexation,
and rezoning of 38 acres in Bradbury Township for the relocation of Mille
Lacs Academy, a privately owned sex offender facility licensed by the
Minnesota Department of Corrections, citizens of Bradbury Township were
deprived of our rights to be represented and protected by our government.
Larry E. Milton is not our mayor. Bill Hill Jr., Bob Mickus, Mark Loch, and
Jerome Kryzer are not our City Council. Yet these five individuals made
decisions affecting so many families outside their constituency. Citizens in
Bradbury Township, including our Township Board were blindsided by the City
of Onamia, who has continued to disregard the opposition by angry residents.
Over 90 individuals signed a petition opposed to the Nexus relocation,
most representing households in Bradbury Township. This Petition, however
significantly reflective of the Will of the People, has been totally,
What has occurred here is an unconventional Taking – unconstitutional,
outside the rule of law. The Onamia government compensated the seller
(three times the estimated market value) for the Taking of his land and the
seller willingly agreed. But it is still a Taking. This land was not on the
market. The seller did not approach the City. The City approached the
seller. Under the Minnesota Constitution, the government has the right to
take property for public use and byways. The Onamia government choreographed
the Taking of the Grosslein/Bye property not for public use, but to
act as liaisons for a private corporation. This sets precedence we
cannot afford to tolerate in our democratic society. Government is supposed
to serve the People. When it becomes an agent for big corporations,
it fails its purpose, its principles, and its people. This is government
gone awry, even if the government is simply five “good ol’ boys” from the
small town of Onamia. Considering the personal gain involved from this
Taking, these conflicts of interest – by themselves - should be
enough to generate scrutiny and spur remedial action.
This is small town politics at its ugliest, its worst. In placing this
commercial correctional facility in the midst of our residential
neighborhood, the Onamia government is out of line. They’re not even
adhering to their own city ordinances. These laws were designed to protect
citizens from exactly the situation occurring here now. If the City of
Onamia intends to re-write ordinances to accommodate one single private
business deal, another appalling precedent will be set.
We have many concerns, including:
Incongruity of the massive commercial Nexus sex offender complex within the
rural character of the neighborhood
3. Lack of
a Comprehensive Municipal Plan
Incompetent city planners
meeting law violations
disregard by city officials of existing city ordinances
Dissolution of Wetlands
Disregard for Environmental Impact
incurred by adjacent property owners as well as other properties in the
Minnesota Constitution Sec. 13
states “Private property shall not be taken, destroyed, or damaged for
public use without just compensation therefore, first paid or secured.”
Article XIII, Section 4.
Indicates that “…a fair and equitable compensation shall be paid for land
and for the damages arising from taking it.”
The Grossleins and Byes are receiving more than fair compensation. Their
neighbors are not. Damages imposed upon Bradbury Township and local property
owners from the Onamia Taking have yet to be acknowledged by Nexus, the City
of Onamia or Mille Lacs County. Besides personal damages from being
“deprived of life, liberty” etc. significant financial damages such
as lowered property values and diminished salability of our properties have
resulted from the Nexus relocation. No property owner has yet to receive
government compensation for their damages. Research indicates the lowering
of property values by as much as 17% with a single sex offender in
the neighborhood. We will be faced with at least 94 sex offenders here. Can
you allow all of these families in the neighborhood to suffer the loss of
thousands and thousands of dollars so that a multi-million dollar
corporation can rob us of our privacy?
There are many issues connected with the Taking of the Grosslein/Bye
property and Nexus project which have not been resolved. There are many
obstacles which lie ahead for Nexus. The Mille Lacs Messenger quoted
Jim D’Angelo as saying that he has found lots of support for Nexus in the
community. What is he talking about? Where has he been hanging out? How much
time has he spent here?
We have found just the opposite, as evidenced by our Petition. I can’t tell
you whether or not the majority of your constituency favors Nexus leaving
Onamia. I can safely say that there is strong opposition for tax abatement.
The majority of your voters are adamant that if Nexus stays in the
community, they pay their taxes. With absolute certainty, I can report that
your citizens surrounding the Nexus sex offender facility proposed building
site are completely, unanimously opposed to Nexus. We want them out of here.
To force us to accept such an inappropriate Taking is anti-American. Such a
thing should not happen in this country.
Commissioner Frank Courteau told me that he would gladly welcome the Nexus
facility into his backyard. I challenge him to follow through with that. If
you support keeping these sex offenders in our community, then either build
the Nexus complex in your own backyard or find a suitable place to put this
institution where people won’t be hurt; where people will welcome the sex
offenders. A residential community is not the appropriate location,
especially in this neighborhood where residents have repeatedly expressed
nothing but objection, and have been repeatedly ignored.
On your website, I noticed your pledge to citizens. I’d like to consider
your own pledge in the context of the Nexus plans.
Pledge to Citizens
Mille Lacs County officials are dedicated to:
Delivering essential services in the most efficient ways possible.
By supporting Nexus, you are not delivering any essential services. Nexus is
a private corporation which offers no services whatsoever to
our community. Most, if not all Nexus inmates are adjudicated and placed at
MLA through the judicial system and Nexus receives compensation from tax
payer monies through the inmates’ respective counties. Very few of the sex
offenders are from Mille Lacs County, but we also pay Nexus with our tax
dollars. Nexus does not serve our community.
Protecting children and vulnerable adults.
By supporting the placement of this sex offender facility in our residential
neighborhood, you place children and vulnerable adults at risk. There are
families with children, two elderly single women, an elderly couple, a
disabled woman, and three day care centers in the immediate area surrounding
the sex offender institution building site. Escapes may be rare, but they do
occur. Many of these young men may not be considered dangerous, but there
are inmates with histories of extreme violence. The public has not been
informed of escapes, assaults and injuries to staff, etc. Dangers to the
community have been greatly downplayed by Nexus, and have not received
newspaper coverage. Information has been intentionally withheld from the
public. Check out case histories of MLA inmates such as Larry Black, Dustin
Hoium, and Paul Knutson. Some of the MLA “boys” have been diagnosed as
sexual psychopaths. Placing such dangerous sex offenders in our
neighborhood is putting all of us - vulnerable or not, young, old or in
between, at risk. Putting a business ahead of the personal safety of your
citizens would not be living up to your pledge.
Most, if not all of the Nexus inmates have already been prosecuted and
placed in the sex offender facility through the judicial system. Mille Lacs
Academy is licensed by the Minnesota Department of Corrections. This type of
facility does not belong in a residential area.
Preserving the public's health and welfare.
Supporting Nexus is contraindicative to the public’s health and welfare.
Placing them in our community jeopardizes our health and welfare.
Spending revenues prudently and wisely.
By applying for tax abatement, Nexus is attempting to evade its obligation
to pay revenue. By supporting their proposed tax abatement, the county would
not receive the Nexus revenue – a considerable amount - to spend prudently
and wisely. To allow Nexus to operate in our community without paying taxes
is unfair to other businesses who lacking the 38 million dollar annual
budget, still manage to pay their property taxes. It is unfair to the
community. It is neither prudent nor wise. If they stay, at least make them
Maintaining and enhancing Mille Lacs County citizens' quality of life.
The Mille Lacs “Academy” sex offender facility benefits very few local
people. It provides relatively limited employment in the area (only about
30 employees in and around Onamia). Many MLA employees live outside of the
county. They commute from Brainerd, Little Falls, Aitkin, St. Cloud,
Minneapolis, etc. They don’t live here. They spend their money in their own
counties. The Nexus corporation reported that it spends only around $200,000
in Onamia each year for drugs, gas, groceries, and hardware. Ed Hupler –
approximately 600 prescriptions, Onamia Councilman Bill Hill - gas AND
groceries, and Marge Agnew – reporting less than $1,000 in hardware.
Supporting Nexus does not maintain and enhance very many Mille Lacs County
citizens’ quality of life. Just a few. In fact, it has been proven that sex
offenders are a liability to a community, hindering the quality of
life. “Nobody wants to live by us,” said CEO Jim D’Angelo. For once, he did
not lie. It’s true. Nobody does.
Due to the proximity of proposed sex offender facility to my home, I have
spent the past five months of my life doing little else but researching all
aspects of Nexus, including sexual deviancy, and juvenile sex offenders. It
hasn’t been pretty. It hasn’t been fun. What began as NIMBY has evolved into
a strong, solid, sane judgment that Nexus is not an asset to Onamia,
Mille Lacs County, or anywhere else for that matter. The sex offenders are
less of a concern than the company that keeps them. After delving into this,
I would not support Nexus remaining in my community, even if they built
their facility across 169 where it is a much more suitable location. I would
not support Nexus remaining in my community, even if they stayed at Crosier.
It is my judgment that Onamia would be much better off without sex
When I’m not researching (or looking for a new farm outside of Mille Lacs
County), I have been working to stop Nexus from invading and destroying my
neighborhood. This neighborhood is well worth saving. We are decent,
law-biding, long term residents. Most of us have been Good Neighbors since
long before Nexus bullied its way into Onamia back in 1991. The City of
Onamia should be ashamed at what they have put our families through. We are
turning to the County to make amends.
Jim D’Angelo has promised that Nexus will leave if they don’t receive Tax
Abatement. That would be a good thing. Considering the large number of local
citizens whose lives will be negatively affected and who are adamantly
opposed to Nexus relocating to this neighborhood; considering that Nexus
offers comparatively little benefit to the Onamia community; considering
that a sex offender facility actually works as a deterrent to attracting
good families and new businesses to a town; and considering the precedence
this Taking would set should Nexus succeed, I humbly and respectfully
request that you deny this corporation any tax abatement whatsoever. We
don’t want them here. We don’t need them here. If they insist on staying,
they should pay their fair share.
J.J. Swift Lukens
Bradbury Township Resident
For more information, please visit our website:
The Mille Lacs News
Lacs County Commissioners
Mille Lacs County Assessor
State Representative Sondra Erickson
State Senator Betsy Wergin
Tom Casey, Attorney