Irate Onamia Mayor Harasses Local
Mille Lacs News
Due to the Freedom of Information Act, all citizens have the right to access
public documents. Not only does this encourage an open government, it also
serves to keep corruption at bay. But as one local resident stepped out of
his vehicle at City Hall, Onamia Mayor Larry E. Milton burst out the
door of his house, which is across the street, and aggressively confronted
the citizen before he could even enter the city clerk's office.
According to reports, Milton intimidated the citizen (who, for his own
protection, we will call "Brad") with not-so-veiled threats that the mayor
had the power to get the man fired from his job. Milton demanded to see the
Brad's business card. Milton continued to imply vague threats as he followed
Brad all the way into the clerk's office.
Brad had come to the Onamia City Hall that day in order to check out some
public information on the Kenny Apel deal, a suspicious land transaction
between the city of Onamia and the mayor's good buddy Kenny Apel. The mayor
of Onamia was apparently not pleased by Brad's interest.
The Kenny Apel
Approximately 14 months ago, the city of Onamia placed an
advertisement in the Mille Lacs Messenger offering 8 acres of land
for sale. Terms of the sale included the stipulation that the buyer would be
responsible for constructing a building (house) on the property within a two
year period after purchase. Sealed bids were accepted.
Only one person bid. Kenny Apel, the mayor's friend won with a bid of $2,013
for 8 acres of land within Onamia City limits. An unadvertised additional 3
lots were "thrown in" for good measure.
But Kenny Apel did not honor the agreement to build on the property. He did
not build on the original 8 acres, nor on any of the three lots he had been
given. It was brought up at the March 14, 2007 Onamia city council meeting
that Apel was interested in selling this land. Kathleen McCullum, the city
clerk was directed at that time to look into the terms of sale. Again, at
the May 9th council meeting, the Apel land deal was brought up, but the council
again tabled the issue for later discussion.
A Good Deal? Or Too Good of a Deal?
Although Apel's request for permission to sell the land never again surfaced
on the agenda of the Onamia city council, Apel recently sold the property
for a reported $75,000.00.
Many citizens, including "Brad" were stunned and outraged by the way this
land deal took place. In the past, when the city has offered such property
for sale to the general public, if the buyer hasn't fulfilled his obligation
to build a house within two years, the land automatically is forfeited back
to the city and put back on the market. Not only was the mayor's friend
given three additional lots at the outset, he was also allowed to sell it
before the designated two years were up, (and without any recorded city meeting
to approve the sale), and with
a sweet profit of roughly $73,000!
"That money should have belonged to the City!" one enraged Onamian
reportedly told Brad. Several citizens, it seemed, would have bid on the
property if they knew they could sell it again without building on it within
the mandatory 2 years. They felt that by being the mayor's good friend,
Kenny Apel was granted special favors.
When Brad tried to exercise his right under the Freedom of Information Act
to investigate this suspicious deal by examining public documents, Mayor
Larry Milton interfered. He aggressively bullied and harassed a citizen, using several of the
intimidation techniques this mayor is well-known for.
Milton alleges Apel was unable to sell his homestead during the
past fourteen months (or thereabouts) since he bought the 8 acres (plus 3
"He couldn't afford to keep them both!" shouted the mayor. "What are you
going to do, force a man to stay in town?"
Brad again expressed that the proper procedure has always been that the
property be returned to the City, where it could once again be offered for
sale to another buyer. Instead, the mayor helped his friend break the rules
and make a killing.
another display of fury, the mayor of Onamia interrogated Brad about the new
Internet online newspaper, the Mille Lacs News. He accused Brad of being
responsible for the creation of the MLN and continued to try to intimidate
him in what might be construed as a joint effort to: 1. scare Brad away from
the Apel Affair, and 2. shut the website down. Either way, the mayor's
behavior is questionable.
The Mille Lacs News is committed to uncovering and exposing any corruption
it may discover. We'll keep you updated.
Editor's Note: "Brad" is in no way employed or directly connected
to the Mille Lacs News, (although we would be honored to have him on our
staff.) We invite all concerned citizens to contribute to our effort to
clean up Onamia's government. Larry Milton, who has been mayor of Onamia for 18
years, has had a rude awakening that indeed, times are changing and
"Progress" comes in a variety of forms, including the Internet.