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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Saint Paul/ RACKETEERING LAWSUITS UPDATE

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42 Comments:

Blogger Bob said...

Plaintiffs,
v.
City of St. Paul, et al.,
Defendants.
Civil No. 04-2632 (JNE / SRN)
ORDER
Sandra Harrilal, et al.,
Plaintiffs,
v.
Steve Magner, et al.,
Defendants.
Civil No. 05-461 (JNE / SRN)
ORDER
Thomas J. Gallagher, et al.,
Plaintiffs,
v.
Steve Magner, et al.,
Defendants.
Civil No. 05-1348 (JNE / SRN)
ORDER
Matthew A. Engel, 11282 86th Avenue North, Maple Grove, MN 55369, for Plaintiffs
Gallagher et al.; John R. Shoemaker, Shoemaker & Shoemaker, P.L.L.C., 7701 France Ave.
South, Suite 200, Edina, MN 55435, for Plaintiffs Steinhauser et al., and Harrilal et al.
Louise Toscai Seeba, Assistant City Attorney, 750 City Hall and Courthouse, 15 West
Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102, for Defendants.
2
SUSAN RICHARD NELSON, United States Magistrate Judge
This matter comes before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge on Plaintiffs’
Joint Motion For Sanctions (Doc. No. 102 (No. 04-CV-2632), Doc. No. 73 (No. 05-CV-1348), &
Doc. No. 79 (No. 05-CV-461)). The matter has been referred to the undersigned pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636 and District of Minnesota Local Rule 72.1(a). For the reasons stated below, the
Court denies the motion without prejudice.
I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
In these three related actions, several owners of rental properties within the City of St.
Paul (Plaintiffs) generally allege that the City of St. Paul and various municipal officials
(Defendants) illegally discriminated against them with respect to enforcing building codes
regarding Plaintiffs’ properties, which are allegedly occupied primarily by “protected-class”
renters.
Plaintiffs contend that they submitted discovery requests for e-mails, Truth-In-Sale-of-
Housing (“TISH”) reports, Problem Property 2000 documents and St. Paul Public Housing
Agency (“PHA”) documents. (Mem. at 2.) Plaintiffs assert that they learned that the TISH
reports continued to be subject to the City’s routine document destruction policy well after the
filing of the first Complaint in 2004. Plaintiffs further claim that they were told in early 2007
that all e-mails prior to December 2005 had been destroyed. Finally, they argue that Defendants
have failed to produce the PHA documents as well as other documents that an anonymous source
provided Plaintiffs.
Plaintiffs now move for sanctions, contending that Defendants have committed discovery
abuses–the spoliation of evidence and failures to produce relevant documents–that warrant
various sanctions including (1) an award of fees, costs and expenses, (2) prohibiting Defendants
3
from moving for summary judgment, (3) an adverse inference, and (4) the direction of factual
findings in favor of Plaintiffs. (Mem. at 20.) They also seek the ultimate sanction of a default
judgment. (Id. at 19, 20.)
II. DISCUSSION
Plaintiffs claim that Defendants destroyed certain types of relevant evidence and have
failed to produce other relevant evidence or produced it too late for Plaintiffs to use in
depositions. (Mem. at 2.) They contend that Defendants
destroyed irreplaceable vital evidence (TISH reports from 2001, 2002 and 2003,
and all emails and other electronically delivered communications proper to
December or 2005), suppressed discoverable material (shown by the five (5)
packets of undisclosed anonymous material), and failed to search for responsive
documents (PHA cooperative, police service, and other agreements with the City.)
(Id. at 9.) Plaintiffs assert that the destruction was improper because it occurred after Defendants
had notice of these actions, arguing that Defendants’ duty “to preserve evidence was triggered no
later tha[n] upon service of the Complaint in Steinhauser in May 2004.” (Id. at 9.) They also
note that Defendants should have been put on notice of the particular issues based on the “first
discovery requests [that] were served in the Steinhauser” case in November 2004. (Id. at 6.)
The Court agrees that Defendants should have initiated a litigation hold specifically
tailored to these particular actions when they were filed. The present question, however, is what
if any sanction is appropriate for the loss of any relevant evidence. As Plaintiffs themselves
acknowledge (Mem. at 11), sanctions for improper document destruction may not be imposed
until “the moving party can demonstrate that they have suffered prejudice as a result of the
spoliation.” E*Trade Sec. LLC v. Deutsche Bank AG, 230 F.R.D. 582, 592 (D. Minn. 2005).
Accord Stevenson v. Union Pacific R.R., 354 F.3d 739, 748 (8th Cir. 2004) (“There must be a
finding of prejudice to the opposing party before imposing a sanction for destruction of
1 Plaintiffs premise their motion in substantial part on Rule 37. (Mem. at 8.) But Rule
37 requires the existence of a court order, and a violation of that order, before sanctions may be
premised on its authority. E.g. Chrysler Co. v. Carey, 186 F.3d 1016, 1019 (8th Cir. 1999). No
such order exists here. Insofar as Plaintiffs’ motion is premised on the federal courts’ inherent
authority to impose sanctions in such matters, a sanction based on that authority would require a
showing of bad faith. E.g. Steinlage v. Mayo Clinic Rochester, 235 F.R.D. 668, 674 (D. Minn.
2006). On the present record, the Court cannot conclude at this juncture that Defendants’
discovery practices constitute bad faith.
4
evidence.”); Keefer v. Provident Life and Accident Ins. Co., 238 F.3d 937, 940 (8th Cir. 2000)
(stating that showing of prejudice is required for sanction of dismissal).1
Plaintiffs claim they were prejudiced by the failure of Defendants to produce–or to retain
so that they could be produced–several types of documents. To establish prejudice, however, a
movant must generally be able to show the contents of the documents at issue, that is, the
substance of the evidence to which they were improperly denied access. See LEXIS-NEXIS v.
Beer, 41 F. Supp. 2d 950, 955 (D. Minn. 1999) (noting that movant must show that destroyed
material “would have contained evidence pertinent to the present litigation”). As one court has
ruled, the movant “must establish a reasonable possibility, based on concrete evidence rather
than a fertile imagination, that access to the [destroyed material] would have produced evidence
favorable to his cause.” Gates Rubber Co. v. Bando Chemical Indus., 167 F.R.D. 90, 104 (D.
Colo. 1996), quoted in LEXIS-NEXIS, 41 F. Supp. 2d at 955. Moreover, the destroyed evidence
must be “substantially different in character from that of the preserved information.” LEXISNEXIS,
41 F. Supp. 2d at 955 (refusing to “presume that the overwritten computer data . . .
contained information any more sensitive, or evidence any more damning, that what [movant]
expected to find in the first place”).
Here, it remains at present undetermined what the missing documents at issue contained.
Although the Court recognizes that a movant might frequently be placed in a difficult position
2 The Court notes, however, that it is not suggesting that the mere similarity between the
condition of Plaintiffs’ properties and the condition of those against which Defendants did not
pursue the same level of code enforcement would, by itself, suffice to establish discriminatory
intent.
3 Defendants’ argument that the TISH reports need not be produced because they are
necessarily irrelevant is not well taken. Defendants contend the City does not use those reports
as a means of code enforcement and that such reports are created by housing inspectors and are
retained by the City only because it is “the licensing agency of the TISH evaluators.” (Mem. at
3.) Defendants also note that TISH inspectors are not City employees and that the City’s code
enforcement officers do not rely on the TISH reports. (Id. at 11.) But this does not preclude
their relevance–the standard for which in the discovery context is quite broad–if they would
show, as Plaintiffs contend, that properties against which Defendants vigorously enforced
housing codes and which were owned by protected class individuals did not differ from other
properties that Defendants did not target for such enforcement. Granted, Defendants appear not
to be the best source for obtaining such reports (compared to the TISH inspectors themselves),
but Defendants should produce whatever TISH reports they might have in their possession,
custody or control that would be responsive to Plaintiffs’ discovery requests. Fed. R. Civ. P.
34(a). Similarly, with respect to Plaintiffs’ arguments that Defendants destroyed or otherwise
5
having to establish the contents of documents that were never produced to it, particularly where
those documents were in fact destroyed, Plaintiffs have offered no proof in the form of testimony
or other documentary evidence (that is, documents other than those allegedly destroyed) as to
what the destroyed documents contained.
Rather, Plaintiffs seem to assume or speculate that the documents at issue contain
evidence supporting their claims. For example, Plaintiffs contend that “[d]estruction of TISH
reports is prejudicial” because “these reports will show the conditions of similar properties,” but
only assert that such “TISH reports would show” similarities among properties that were
nevertheless treated differently by Defendants and that “TISH reports of similarly situated
property” would be “likely to show that Plaintiffs’ properties were illegally targeted.” (Doc. No.
115 (Affidavit of Matthew Engel), ¶ 11 (emphasis added).) Such reports could be relevant.2 But
any finding of prejudice based on the destruction of such reports must await a showing of the
contents of any such reports that, following the completion of discovery, remain inaccessible.3
did not produce documents of the PHA, it appears that the PHA is not an agency of the
Defendant City and thus Defendants would not be the best source for obtaining PHA documents.
But, of course, Defendants would be obligated to produce any responsive relevant PHA
documents that nevertheless happen to be within their possession, custody or control.
4 The documents that Plaintiffs claim Defendants improperly destroyed–essentially broad
categories of e-mails and property inspection reports–are not of the type the destruction of which
itself would support an inference either that the documents necessarily (or even likely) contained
evidence supporting Plaintiffs’ claims or that their destruction was in bad faith. Thus any
finding of prejudice must await a showing of the contents of any documents that remain missing
(or otherwise not produced) once discovery is complete.
6
Likewise, Plaintiffs assert that the destruction of e-mails and other such electronic
documents and communications “is prejudicial to Plaintiffs” but then claim only that “[t]hose
emails may have shown Defendants knew and intended that their selectively aggressive code
enforcement operations . . . would have a discriminatory impact.” (Doc. No. 115, ¶ 23 (emphasis
added).) For the same reasons, Plaintiffs cannot establish prejudice with respect to the evidence
they claim was produced anonymously, but should have been produced by Defendants.
Plaintiffs simply assert, without any persuasive factual support, that “[i]t is reasonably likely that
this type of evidence would have been contained in the emails from 2002-2005.” (Id.)
In some situations, the nature of the documents themselves coupled with the extent and
circumstances of their destruction might support an inference of prejudice. See E*Trade, 230
F.R.D. at 592 (noting that “the substantial and complete nature of the destruction of the evidence
contained in the recorded telephone conversations and hard drives . . . . justifies a finding of
prejudice”); see also Stevenson v. Union Pacific R.R., 354 F.3d 739, 748 (8th Cir. 2004)
(concluding that finding of prejudice is warranted “by the nature of the evidence destroyed . . .
the very fact that it is the only recording of conversations . . . contemporaneous with the
accident”).
But here, no such inference is presently warranted.4 Granted, Defendants were remiss in
7
not imposing an appropriate formal litigation hold no later than when the first complaint was
filed. E*Trade Sec. LLC v. Deutsche Bank AG, 230 F.R.D. 582, 588 (D. Minn. 2005) (noting
that duty “to preserve evidence begins when a party knows or should have known that the
evidence is relevant to future or current litigation”). Defendants assert that they relied on their
existing document retention policy and that any requirement that they systematically retain every
document and other form of evidence would “cripple” them. (Mem. at 7 (citing Zubulake v.
UBS Warburg L.L.C., 220 F.R.D. 212, 217 (S.D.N.Y. 2003)).) But while one generally may
employ a document retention policy that permits the routine destruction of documents, once
litigation is likely–and certainly once it has begun–a party may not destroy relevant evidence,
even pursuant to a preexisting document retention policy that one has not superseded or
otherwise modified by an appropriate litigation hold. E*Trade Sec. LLC, 230 F.R.D. at 588-89.
Nevertheless, the record at this juncture does not support the conclusion that Defendants’
action (or inaction) was taken in bad faith. As Defendants note, they had a document retention
policy that systematically discarded particular documents after a fixed period of time. With
respect to the TISH reports, Defendants contend that they were under no obligation to retain all
of those reports because (1) Plaintiffs were informed in January 2005 of the three-year retention
policy but did not then request the reports, (2) Plaintiffs did not specifically request them until
January 2007, and (3) the reports are “completely irrelevant.” (Mem. at 8; see id. at 11.) In
short, Defendants argue that because Plaintiffs’ 2004 document requests did not specifically
mention TISH reports, Defendants should not be sanctioned for routinely destroying what they
viewed as irrelevant, particularly when they informed Plaintiffs that those reports were retained
for only three years and met with no specific request in response. (Id. at 9.) Defendants claim
that despite this notice, “Plaintiffs did nothing to obtain a review of the reports until 2007.” (Id.)
5 This is particularly true insofar as TISH reports are generated by property inspectors
who are independent of Defendant City. Defendants presumably would have little if any logical
motivation to attempt to destroy evidence that, as they have consistently maintained, is generated
and retained by such independent inspectors and thus is incapable of being reliably destroyed by
the City, which would possess at most only its own copies.
8
Although the Court does not agree with all of Defendants’ justifications for their discovery
conduct, the Court cannot presently conclude on this record that the failure to preserve the TISH
reports beyond the three years provided in the document-retention policy constitutes bad faith or
willful spoliation.5
With respect to deleted e-mails, Defendants agreed to restore all available e-mails and are
in the process of recovering many of the deleted e-mails at issue. Defendants note that they in
fact informed Plaintiffs that many of the e-mails have been restored from disaster recovery tapes
and “are being prepared for production to Plaintiffs.” (Mem. at 12.) Accordingly, a motion for
sanctions based on any alleged improper destruction of such e-mails must await (1) the
completion of that recovery process, and (2) a showing of prejudice resulting from the loss of
any relevant e-mails that could not be recovered.
Finally, Plaintiffs claim that documents they received from an anonymous source should
have been produced by Defendants. But Defendants contend that they cannot be sanctioned for
not producing what they did not possess. (Mem. at 15.) They assert that Plaintiffs received
documents from an anonymous source that has never been identified and that “it is undisputed
that these documents were not in Defendants’ possession.” (Id. at 4-5.) Defendants need only
produce responsive documents within their possession, custody or control. Fed. R. Civ. P. 34(a).
A motion for discovery sanctions can be entertained only if and when Plaintiffs could establish
that documents they received from any such anonymous source were drafted or received by
Defendants or otherwise within their possession, custody or control.
9
In sum, after having reviewed the entire record, The Rottlund Co., Inc., 222 F.R.D. 362,
374 (D. Minn. 2004) (“Sanctions are considered based on the record as a whole, rather than
merely considering the latest instance of misconduct that broke the camel’s back.”), the Court
concludes that there is no basis at this juncture to find that Defendants or their attorneys
improperly destroyed any evidence (or even intentionally permitted the routine destruction
pursuant to an otherwise valid policy to continue despite notice that the documents to be
destroyed were relevant to a pending action) for the purpose of obstructing discovery.
Most importantly for present purposes, Plaintiffs have not (yet) established prejudice
from the lack of access to any evidence they allege has been destroyed. This present lack of
prejudice is particularly decisive here, where Defendants are currently attempting to recover and
restore relevant e-mails and otherwise continue to produce at least some of the evidence that
Plaintiffs still seek and where some of the documents are best obtained from those non-parties
that originally generated them.
III. CONCLUSIONS
Because Plaintiffs have not, as yet, shown any prejudice resulting from the loss of any
relevant evidence, their motion for sanctions is premature and thus must be denied but without
prejudice to its renewal if and when Plaintiffs can demonstrate that they were prejudiced by the
destruction or non-production of responsive documents. Cf. LEXIS-NEXIS v. Beer, 41 F. Supp.
2d 950, 956 (D. Minn. 1999) (directing movant to renew its sanctions motion “at an appropriate
time later in the litigation”).
Several miscellaneous matters warrant brief discussion. With respect to the ongoing
production of documents, either pursuant to the City’s recovery of deleted e-mails or otherwise,
the parties shall meet and confer to establish a protocol governing the production of evidence
10
that (1) prevents any disclosure of private data that would violate the Minnesota Data Practices
Act, (2) protects claims of privilege by incorporating a provision on inadvertent production, and
(3) designates all e-mails as “Attorney Eyes Only.” Once all of the remaining documents are
produced, the parties shall meet and confer regarding any additional depositions that need to be
taken in light of any such new evidence. If they are unable to agree, the Court will entertain an
appropriate motion. The Defendants shall pay the costs of any court reporter fees but Plaintiffs
may not recover attorney fees for any such depositions.
With respect to the TISH reports, at Plaintiffs’ election, the City may continue to produce
any relevant reports it might have in its possession, custody or control, or Plaintiffs may
subpoena the inspectors to produce their reports, with the costs being borne by the City. With
respect to the PHA documents, Plaintiffs should contact the appropriate individual at the PHA to
request that the Agency provide copies of the relevant documents. But if Defendants have such
documents in their possession, custody or control, Plaintiffs’ ability to obtain them elsewhere
does not preclude Defendants’ obligation to produce any such relevant documents responsive to
Plaintiffs’ discovery requests. Finally, with respect to the documents provided to Plaintiffs by an
anonymous source, the parties should meet and confer regarding whether the documents can be
authenticated.
IV. ORDER
Based on the foregoing, and all the files, records and proceedings herein, IT IS
HEREBY ORDERED that:
1. Plaintiffs’ motions for sanctions (Doc. No. 102 (No. 04-CV-2632), Doc. No. 73
(No. 05-CV-1348), & Doc. No. 79 (No. 05-CV-461) are DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE;
2. Plaintiffs’ request for their fees and costs incurred in bringing these motions is
11
DENIED;
3. Defendants’ request for their fees and costs incurred in responding to this motion
is DENIED.
Dated: November 13, 2007
s/ Susan Richard Nelson
SUSAN RICHARD NELSON
United States Magistrate Judge

7:49 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Hi All,

I'm sorry I didn't get this information up sooner. As many of you know, I have been on some what of a vacation from my blog. "I'm BACK!

I will be posting more updates on this case this evening.

7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Bob, I love the way you do headlines. I thought your old headline on this thread was "City Destroys Evidence!" Souldn't this one be "Plaintiffs Best Chance of Making a Buck Thrown Out!"

I thought I had been beaten up pretty good here when I said that the Plaintiffs were trying to make a buck by demanding every email ever sent to the City of Saint Paul since the City first got on the internet and that all of the folks here were talking about how everyone at City Hall was going to go to jail for destroying evidence.

It appears the court is saying what I had said that just because the City doesn't have every piece of paper sent to it in the last twenty years that it doesn't mean that the missing paper includes Oswold admitting to working for the Mafia!

That ends these guys chances of ever seeing a dime. The case has no merrit and their best hope was to get some cash from the City by some penalty for not keeping every scrap of paper ever sent to them.

I love that the court basicly spelled out in there that the City only keeps Truth in Sale of housing reports to monitor the people they license to do the TIS. That pretty much kills Nancy's issue with the City and if the correct box was checked on a TIS or not. The TIS isn't a City document... sorry Nancy.

JMONTOMEPPOF

Chuck Repke

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But they are city documents Chuck and you'll be seeing proof of that in the weeks to come.

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck,

The only thing people want is simple justice. You're efforts to put various spins on things doesn't make it right.

It is unfortunate that the inspectors ans support are generally unaccountable.

Hats off to the plaintiffs for tackling this very difficult area, in trying to get simple justice.

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:05 - No, they aren't City documents. They are not prepared by or for the City. The City requires sellers to have them to protect buyers from "bad" sellers. The City does verify or "own" the document.

9:37 - They don't want justice, they want to cripple the City's ability to protect neighborhoods.

JMONTOMEPPOF

Chuck Repke

9:45 AM  
Blogger AMANDA said...

I should have taken bets from you slumlords on Chucks explanation of this issue.

Shoemaker and Engel are raking in the cash. The plaintiffs are enjoying their own form of misdirected revenge. Bob and Nancy seem to be part of this scheme and are profiting some how off all of this.

Maybe "all" of you will compensate the city for the wasted cost defending these frivolous law suits.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Amanda, your statement is something right out of the Twilight zone.

Good to hear from you again.

Just wondering, why have you been gone for so long and now you show up on the RICO topic. Any connection with the city yourself?

1:05 PM  
Blogger Nancy Lazaryan said...

Amanda,
How am I "somehow profiting off all this"?

My mother bought a house and my daughter and I put time and money into the house. We cannot sell the house and get our money out of it because we would have to tell the buyers that it is a "registered vacant building" and the buyers could not live in it.

Before filing our lawsuit I talked with all the "powers" in the City and tried to get them to see reason. I explained how the City had not properly noticed the previous owner of the "vacant" status, and that the building did not even meet the criteria as a vacant building. No one would listen.

Then I start looking at all the OTHER vacant building files. And now I understand why no one would listen. The established pattern in the St. Paul DSI is to completely ignore the St. Paul Code, the MN Statutes and the MN and U.S. Constitutions.

Then you bring in St. Paul's manipulation of the Ramsey County district court by meeting with Judge Mott and deciding, ahead of time, the outcome of cases.

Amanda, Chuck and everyone else that supports the actions of the City...it seems okay with you that other people's rights are violated.

If we do not stop the abuses, now, a time will come when Amanda, Chuck and the other City supporters will have their rights violated. And when that happens, I am certain these people will "accept" the beatings, and roll over.

Hopefully, the work I am doing, and others that oppose the abuses of the City, will prevent that time.

Nancy Lazaryan

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The city maintains those Truth in Sale reports Chuck and they use them as a basis to take action against people. How can you say they are not city documents?

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The city of St Paul thinks as long as they do something that it is the law. They have the attitude that if you don't like it then you can sue them, knowing full well most people don't have the money for Attorneys, so they act with inpunity and violate peoples rights with absoloutly no consequencses to the city at all. I'm very happy to see these people suing the city, and as far as Amandas remark about people having to compensate the city for the wasted cost, I think it is going to be the other way around......the city is going to be compensating everyone they have screwed over with their illegal behavior.

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck you are all wet. I have seen first hand some of the things Nancy and Bob are talking about.

So Chuck please explain why your friend, Dave Thune's building near downtown, that had so many code violations several years ago (Tim C’s pictures) was not held to the same standard as DSI or fire is currently doing now? The building in question was under fire inspection. Why did Steve Z. cover for Dave?

Chuck, I have seen a neighbor of mine go through hell because he questioned a fire inspector during the inspection of a single family home. This fire inspector misused their office as a power trip. The only problem here is this neighbor here is not a city council member. The minor things that the fire inspector found were NOT a fire hazard. The power that these fire inspectors now under DSI are throwing their weight around as if they are god! This house was inspected by a building inspector when the property was updated and all was in compliance. In fact the City of St. Paul building inspector stated that the work that was done was excellent and signed off on all inspections. It seems that this particular fire inspector seems to think the fire code trumps the building code or her interpretation of the fire code.

What this fire inspector does not know is that when the fire inspection was conducted this homeowner made a video of the inspection using hidden cameras. The news media now has these tapes and is preparing a news story on it. This homeowner did this based on information from this blog.

Chuck, some of the city officials that have been mentioned on this blog are real and doing just what Bob and Nancy have stated here on this blog. I have heard the tapes and seen the video.

Chuck you had better wake up to what is actually going on here in St. Paul.

You are smarter than this!

Norm of St. Paul

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:00 no, the city doesn't use TIS as anything. They are required as a part of the sale of a house in Saint Paul to protect buyers. That is all they are for. The City does not attest to their accuracy.

Norm - two things Thune was writen up like anyone else and required to bring it up to the same code as everyone else. The only difference is that he has to go through all of that with the press watching. Something you don't have to.

As to your tape, SO WHAT? All you have is that two inspectors see things differently than one and another. Wow that's a big news story. I bet if you sent a third person through they would see something entirely diferent... I can see prison sentences for that...

JMONTOMEPPOF

Chuck Repke

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck,

You just put your finger on the whole code inspection problem.

Individual interpretation of the city code by some DSI and Fire inspectors. No uniformity of enforcement of the codes in some cases has lead to personal gains being made by some inspectors and in other cases has been used for political gain. The problem here is there is no citizen review board or internal investigation unit for code inspectors and fire inspectors like the police department has. Without this oversight of the DSI and Fire inspectors you have the broken system we currently have.

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard from several places that the landlords suing the city also set up city officialsw with tape recorders in their shirt pockets when they were with these officials. Should be interesting to see what's on those tapes huh Chuck? How can you not know what is going on with all the different people saying the same things?

11:15 PM  
Blogger Nancy Lazaryan said...

Chuck,
You are wrong about the TISH inspections, and I have the proof.

You are also wrong about the inspectors seeing
"things differently". They are supposedly trained in their jobs, and what they see should not be
"different".

Nancy Lazaryan

11:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think when this ordeal is all over Chuck that your going to get your hat handed to you.

12:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck,

The single minded focus on code enforcement is a mistake by the city. It takes attention away from other important things, and loses support in these areas.

The fanatic, heavy handed approach with junkyard dog inspectors will bring disaster - The city will have major judgments against it, and no support.

7:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amanda (10:44) if these suits are frivolous and wasting city money you guys should have hired a more qualified attorney.Seeba is junk!If theres nothing to them they should have been thrown out along time ago.

Chuck I'd like to pop you right in the mouth and if the day ever comes where I cross your path your going to get one in the kisser.You talk about how a landlords are bottom feeders.Well my friend theres a lot if good ones that have had their businesses distroyed by the city.So you can go fuck yourself and your tin foil hat wearing bimbo Gloria.
From the looks of Tim Ciani photos you and Thune were the some of the biggest violators in the city.You have shit holes.

Tim Ciani if you are out there please post some of your research and photos for all to see.

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks, the last several posts have proved my point not yours. I agree 100% that when you have human beings enforsing the code they are all going to see things differently and they will be different in the willingness to cut slack or lower the boom. Its human nature.

If the cop who pulls me over for speeding isn't a part of a speed trap, and is in a good mood, and I have a pleasent responce to his asking me questions, I might get out of a tag. That does not prove that he was a part of the world wide conspiracy to kill Kennedy. OK? Get it?

Just because code enforsement isn't exactly equal does not mean that there has been a conspiracy of code enforsement employees and elected officials to "get" the people who the full force and measure of the law was imposed.

My kid is a sweet talker and has been able to get out a half a dozen speeding tickets. But, he has been pulled over at least a half a doazen times for suspition of being a teen ager and has had his car searched. So, some days he is being discriminated against and some days he has privaledge I guess.

So, what? Life isn't fair. But, there is no crime, no foul when some days the coin lands heads and some days the coin lands tails.

JMONTOMEPPOF

Chuck Repke

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and 8:26 Tim Ciani never posted any photos of my building anywhere that I am aware of. He posted Thune's to multiple lists and the Ppress. So, like I said when you get your colonoscopy they will find your head jerk.

And, like I have said 6002 times now, find me one house in Ward 2 that Thune didn't give an extension to on demo orders if the owner requested and the house didn't have a meth lab bust.

There is no one on the Council that has given land lords more slack than Thune and no one the you idiots give more shit to.

The reasons why you dick heads hate him have nothing to do with where he has been at on code enforsement issues, because you are to stupid to pay attention. He has been the bane of you right wing nuts since he passed the human rights ordinance and the bane of all of you drunks since he passed the smoking ban. So, you pay no attention to how he votes on these issues about code and cry in your fucking beer while you blow strangers in the men's room.

JMONTOMEPPOF

Chuck Repke

8:52 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Please do not threaten anyone here.

I would be very disappointed if Chuck was assaulted over his participation here. I would consider QUITTING this blog.

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck,

I agree with Bob, no one should hurt you and I myself would be the first one to step between you and anyone who would do you harm.

Thune got a big pass on his building and you know it and I know it. I know because I have a very good friend who works at 1600 White Bear Avenue so you can't BS me or anyone on this list any longer. I know the games the city is playing with Nancy and the information she wants. It has become a game down at the DSI office.

If Thune was held to the same standard as these landlords are being held to then Thune's building would have be shut down a long time ago. You know that and I know that. Tim C. was right on the money with those pictures of Thune's building. Thune's Certificate of Occupancy should have been pulled, but it was not. Work done by Thune was done WITHOUT permits and since the property was not homesteaded, Thune could not do the work, as the building was rental and commercial. Thune needed a licensed contractor to do the work that was done on his commercial building. Thune took over five years to finish the roof, electrical and addition/remodeling to this commercial building. Chuck what about the pictures of trash behind Thune’s building (washing machine and other trash piled high)? What about the pictures of Thune’s roof and other construction, this was all done WITHOUT permits. If we did this, we would be written up in a heartbeat. You contend Thune was written up, but if you ask one of the secretaries in the Fire Inspection office, Steve Zaccard (sp) ran interference for Thune big time and he thought it was funny. The fire Department closed out citizen complaints for no reason. Chuck if you don’t believe me then please check the city computer system as you still have access. These were valid complaints that the Fire Department just closed out on Thune’s building on 7th. It would be nice if we were as connected as you and Thune are, but we are not. We do not sit on the city council.

I would like to see your house pass inspection on your home. You got your connections at city hall that we don't have. You complain about a $10,000.00 paint job for your house because of some chalking paint. What about the other code violations to your property that were “overlooked!” Conveniently, you do mention these code violations. Chuck how about the pictures of the burnt out car in your backyard? Say Chuck, let’s get a cop and an DSI inspector out to your place and see if that car is in operating condition. Lets have the cop start it up and do a safety inspection check on your car or for that matter the junker in Thune’s yard. This is the crap we have had to put up with and you just get a pass.

You come off like some know-it-all, but in actuality all your are is highly connected and your poo poo don't stink.

All you care about is protecting the DFL at all costs instead of the truth. You protect Thune and other DFL city council members to the hilt blindly. You protect DFL members who hold these city positions in the DSI office who have been mentioned here. Chuck you are fooling no one here.

The actions by the city are shocking. Delay, delay and delay some more. Withhold documents or destroy documents against a court order. Once I could see this happening, but not time after time.

It would seem as if these city folks were hiding something. Ollie North shredded documents because they did not put him in a good light. These city folks are doing the same. Chuck this destruction of documents has been well documented in court documents and by the admission of the city folks themselves.

I say we put into effect Andy Dawkins motto, “Code to the max” on every city council member with you included Chuck until there is some real changes at the city level, at DSI and the Fire Department. Lets print the pictures here of the council members and Chuck's house, note the calls to DSI and the follow through by DSI and the Fire Department on these complaints of city council members, DSI members, Fire department and the mayor. As Tim C. and others have found out, there is a documented different standard for these elected and city officials.

The changes that need to be implemented immediately are:

1. ALL defendants in the RICO lawsuit need to be reassigned to another city department and their involvement in the RICO lawsuits needs be investigated and termination for individuals who have violated city policy. Criminal prosecutions of their activities need to be conducted by an outside agency like Anoka or Scott County.

2. All documentation that the RICO lawyers have requested needs to be turned over by the City of St. Paul as directed by the courts and for the city to stop destroying these documents.

3. The creation of an internal affairs investigation section of DSI to investigate citizen complaints. Oversight of this committee needs to be from the city attorneys office and the civilian review board, NOT the director of DSI.

4. The creation of a civilian review board to review the actions of DSI and the Fire Department.

5. Full compensation for the individuals who have been harmed by selective enforcement of the city code.

Chuck, the time is now to clean up St. Paul’s house. For far too long these issues have been going on with you and others downplaying their significance and that is going to stop now!

This double standard on the enforcement of city code is going to stop now Chuck, as we are going to take back city hall from the corrupt. You can either stand in the way or help. The choice is yours.

FOB (Friend of Bob's)

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck you said, "So, you pay no attention to how he votes on these issues about code and cry in your fucking beer while you blow strangers in the men's room."

Sen. Larry Craig is not in Minnesota so clean up your language.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When a cop pulls you over for speeding Chuck, he doesn't arrest you for murder, he writes you up for speeding. That's the difference.....these inspectors lied about the true conditions of the properties they inspected. Then they used their authority to require so many uneeded repairs that it put a lot of people out of business. They'll pay Chuck, and so will you.....your property tax is going to go up also.....along with Amandas I might add.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FOB - Again as I just said you attack the one person on the council who has had the inspectors looking over his one shoulder while the media looks over his other shoulder. I wish you could go through the same scrutiny. And, if they would have "shut him down" what difference would that have made in your life or anyone else's?

We have discussed the problem my tenent had who had her car torched before. You are correct, I am not a total prick. I did give the poor girl who had a crime committed against her some time to get rid of the car. But, then because I have you ass holes watching out for me I got writen up by the City and got the same time line that you do to get rid of the car. So, I had to tell the young woman to get rid of the car that she was still making payments on that had been torched by her exboyfriend because the City was coming down on me.

You sure taught me a leasson didn't you? Ass holes on these lists that actually don't give a damn about who they hurt just so that they can get even with someone. So, the girl got the car out of there before the City towed it. No special treatment. The girl went through the same shit as anyone elst does. Look at the record on it. No extension. Same time line as anyone else.

I don't defend the City. I just try to explain the kind of jerks who don't think the law should apply to them that pull this kind of shit. They are so filled with hate that they don't care who they hurt. They don't care about their tenents or their neighbors and they don't think that they have a responsibility to keep their properties up.

10:08 - wasn't sure that anyone would get it... :) (SOB that bitches about the gays and then is caught in the men's room)

10:15 - why? that is the problem in the law suit. To what advantage? Somebody tell me what makes these people so special that they were targets? Other than they are pricks?

JMONTOMEPPOF

Chuck Repke

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The city of St Paul lied about violations, they violated the separations of powers act when they fixed the Ramsey County Court ahead of time so they would get the outcomes they wanted, they came after the people suing them (and also witnesses) with criminal tools, and they destroyed the businesses that those people worked a lifetime to create, and then they tried to cover it up and are still trying to cover it up. For you to equate this with a speeding ticket Repke is just beyond belief!

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck you made your answer loud and clear on this blog. You are going to stand in the way of cleaning up St. Paul, so be it then.

I thought you better than this as you and I have fought on the same side on many of issues, but I can see you are no better than the lying sacks of poo poo that are running DSI and Fire Department inspections.

Chuck, I could care less what your house looks like, or Thune's for that matter, all we want the same treatment across the board from DSI and Fire Inspection and that is not being done.

We need oversight and that is not being done.

Chuck, I will restate that there is a double standard on the enforcement of city codes and this is going to stop now! We are going to take back city hall from the corrupt! You can either stand in the way or help. The choice is yours. From your last response you have made your choice.

FOB

11:07 AM  
Anonymous JAMOWAT said...

As a resident of Saint Paul I feel Bob should publish the names and addresses of these RICO plaintiffs for the residents of the city so we could all go have a little chat with them about wasting our tax money. Anything the city does to f' with these particular landlords is fine with me. Nancy too!

How come the city doesn't sue these shit heads for court costs and staff time? Maybe we should socialize all housing in the city that isn't homesteaded and turn it over to PHA. They certainly couldn't maintain it worse than the present "for profit" landlords. I bet PHA would treat the tenants better than the landlords do too.

JAMOWAT

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck said:
You sure taught me a leasson didn't you? Ass holes on these lists that actually don't give a damn about who they hurt just so that they can get even with someone.

I said:
Did the city care who they hurt when they put landlords out of business and tenants on the streets?Do they care they broke up married people?Did they care when they were coding to the max a property owner who had just lost his son? The answer is no Chuck.


I have friends in this suit and wish I could give you their addresses to their properties so you could see they're a class act. They'd make your shit hole look like Harlem.

And last this Chuck don't your tenants needs a door knob on the front door.I believe Ciani has pictures of you missing that.

So until you and your buddy Thune can be a model landlord citizen don't slander the rest.



John

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that how you see all this Chuck......that it's about getting even? I hope not.

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:17 - It does appear that the landlord group and the people on list appear obsessed about getting even. They are watching my house for pete's sake. You tell me what in the heck that means.

They went after Thune. The one council member that actually was cutting them some slack. They don't give a damn. They're a bunch of jerks.

How does getting inspectors to go after me or Thune or anyone else prove anything about this great conspiracy? It doesn't, but they get the fun of messing with someone who stands up to them.

They are bullies. They don't know any other way to act.

JMONTOMEPPOF

Chuck Repke

11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck,

You stated, "They are bullies. They don't know any other way to act."

Yes, you are correct, some of these DSI and Fire inspectors are bullies. Chuck, you have not experienced an inspector who is a bully yet because you are connected. Having seen what these inspectors can do to someone's life is really an eye-opening event.

You and Thune will be given a pass again and again because of your connections, but we the average Joes do not get a break. Nancy O. and others can tell you first hand the abuses of DSI and Fire. You put these people down and argue for the city all you want, but it still does not change the fact about abuses from DSI and Fire. Your friends from the city have been mentioned here (DSI and Fire) and they happen to be strong DFL supporters. You are just protecting your DFL buddies instead of getting at the real truth.

Chuck, I thought you were a person who would look out for the little guy, a person willing to stand up for injustices, but I can see I was very wrong about you. All your talk over the years was full of BS. The only thing you care about is protecting your DFL friends and to hell with the little guy.

FOB

6:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck Said:

They went after Thune. The one council member that actually was cutting them some slack. They don't give a damn. They're a bunch of jerks.

I Say:

Chuck how would you like to have 20+ properties on the cities target list? And are you saying you and Thune shouldn't have had to fix your shitholes? Consider Ciani just watching out for your neighbors.

I call for Ciani to ramp up the pressure again just to show you how the system is and will be abused for personal and racial attacks.

I think your missing the point Chuck.People are making a point out of you and Thune because you are one of the biggest backers of this code enforcement.

And by the way hows your big development project going.Oh,wait a second.When you fail its no skin off your ass because your non profit.Why don't you join the rest of us and make your own money.

7:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FOB and 7:46 Actually, you are wrong. I have never defended any abuse anywhere in the system and I can give you a list of little guys that I have stood up for.

What I have attacked is this moronic vengful approach that this group of landlords have taken that does nothing but cripple the City's ability to modify the system at all.

Its an F'ing RICO suit folks. They are claiming that it is a conspiracy to get them for unknown and yet unnamed reasons. There isn't any changes that will occur in the system until this insane law suit is successfully defended. This thing has dragged on for almost four years now.

I sent the tape to Bob the other day of Thune arguing at council that the City should modify its policies to be able to do exactly what Nancy L wanted to do with her house. Do you think he will be able to change those policies while this piss ants continue their suit? And, like I said before do you think that any of those morons that are out to get Thune will even pay attention that he has been the one council member trying to stop demos since the day he got on the council?

NOT a Chance!

JMONTOMEPPOF

Chuck Repke

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not a landlord, and know there is no love lost between the landlords and city inspections.

I favor the landlords, having seen the results of the city's gorrilla tactics. It is just out of control.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This whole thing is all about politics Repke and you know it. If your buddy Thune and the rest of those assholes would have been advancing the idea of enforcing the law to address the needed issues rather than political agendas and back door aqpproaches, these lawsuits would have never happened. Had the city been willing to talk to the people who brought the lawsuits, they would have never happened, but no they had the idea that they would just do what they want thinking that no one had the money to sue them to make them stop their illegal behavior. Well they were wrong, and now there's going to be all kinds of lawsuits as a result of these first ones. I feel no sympathy for the city whatsoever and I am NOT a landlord.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you stupid or what what Chuck?

You make the following remarks:

"How does getting inspectors to go after me or Thune or anyone else prove anything about this great conspiracy? It doesn't, but they get the fun of messing with someone who stands up to them.

They are bullies. They don't know any other way to act."

Just in case you are really this stupid Chuck, let me lay it out for you. Getting the inspectors after you and Thune created the documentations that there is a different standard of code enforcement based on who you are and who you know, and whoever did it used the citys own mechanism to do it with. Kinda like getting them to put the rope around their own necks.

It's corruption plain and simple Chuck.....and a lot of it.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please people, STOP insulting Chuck.I like Chuck.

All of us here know he has a brain the size of a bowling ball. He isn't stupid.

Alex

4:57 PM  
Blogger AMANDA said...

NO Bob, I do not speak for the city. I speak against bad landlords.

I've said this here before,I have had problems with a bad landlord.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amanda nobody has said there are not bad landlords out there. There are, just like there are bad people where ever you go, this includes some people that have high ranking jobs such as officials and the people here have or feel they have been targeted and/or treated differently by these individuals that happen to represent the city of ST.Paul. In most cases the misconduct or corrupt behavior of these indiviuals has cost people thousands of dollars in losses. Think of it if you were in the shoes of a person that has been abused by these city employees and lost everything. You would be right here at the top of the list complaining too.

6:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:05 - OK I guess I must be stupid. How exactly does having the code people go after me or Thune or the police chief do anything other than prove that the code people by-in-large treat everyone the same. I have never been given an extention. I haven't been treated any different other than being treated harsher than the average person would be.

The landlords in the suits were given extension for YEARS on some of their properties. None of these are cases where someone acted out of haste or without appeal after appeal.

I couldn't take mine to the council on an appeal the way everyone else can. If I was to ask for the same kind of extensions that all of the landlords in these suits got, it would be front page news above the fold.

JMONTOMEPPOF

Chuck Repke

9:45 AM  

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