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Mille Lacs County, Minnesota

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July 28, 2007

Irate Onamia Mayor Harasses Local Citizen!

Mille Lacs News staff reporter

 

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 Affair

 

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 lots).

 

"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.

 

In 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.

The Big Fish

Mayor Larry Milton

Why is Larry Milton the Mayor of Onamia?

Larry Milton has been the mayor of Onamia  for 18 years. Of course, he has for the most part run unopposed.

He ran again in 2006, winning by a landslide of 93.46% against his opponent "Write In"... Out of 402 registered voters, only 243 bothered to actually vote for Larry. There were 17 write-ins.

Sorry Bill

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Larry Milton has a reputation as being the town bully. Shortly after the OACRG presented the mayor with a petition against the relocation of Nexus, two of the petitioners requested to have their names removed from the petition after allegedly being pressured to do so.

One petitioner complained that he had suffered "three days of hell", with a lot of threats and harassment.

What is this? The Onamia Mafia? Does Larry Milton fancy himself to be Tony Soprano?

Maybe it's time that Larry Milton cleans up his act.

 

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