Something smells weasely about Norm Coleman's apartment deal
Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) thinks he's dodged the proverbial bullet on his sweetheart apartment deal. He and his landlord have created a lease after the fact describing how everything is legit, Norm is on the hook for utilities, was only supposed to pay them once per year, etcetera, etcetera. Doesn't it seem just a wee bit
fishy weasely that Norm is performing a little CYA once his apartment deal was publicized?
In addition, Coleman didn't make a payment for utilities for the living space until last month, under a verbal agreement he had with his landlord -- St. Paul businessman Jeff Larson -- to settle up after a year in residence, Coleman campaign manager Cullen Sheehan said.
We are supposed to take Norm's assurances at face value that they had a verbal deal that Norm would pay the utilities once a year?
Whom among you have EVER worked out that kind of deal with your landlord?
Okay ... I can imagine that after a divorce, long illness or bankruptcy someone might move in with Mom n Dad promising to help with the bills once someone got their feet on the ground financially. However, the person in question is different and so are the circumstances.
Norm is a US Senator. Norm is paying to keep his wife in her accustomed lifestyle in California. Norm is paying for a mortgage, upkeep and taxes on a house in the posh Cathedral Hill neighborhood of St. Paul. Norm has two kids in college. Jeff Larson's (Norm's landlord) has a company (FLS Connect) that has received $1.5 million in business from Norm's campaign and office. Norm employs Larson's wife. This is just a little backscratching between fellow Republicans. Nothing to see here. Move along.
Unlike regular folk, Senators cannot receive gifts of more than $250 from friends ... Norm saved at least $1,150/mth switching from his $1,750/mth apartment to his new $600/mth one. The going market rates for the area are around $1,600 - $1,800 per month for the Capitol Hill neighborhood. On top of that I don't believe it is a stretch to claim that he didn't have to pay utilities until he got busted. I lived in the Maryland suburbans of DC for 3 years ... it's freakin' hot from June through September ... my electric bills were way higher for that period alone than $500 or so dollars. It's hard to believe that Norm's utlities all put together averaged $40/mth.
My guess is the reason they will not produce the utility bills is that Larson's company was paying the bills. That means Norm was accepting gifts from a company. That's an even bigger ethics violation.
(DFL Press Release)