The following is a letter to the editor from abc newspapers and reprinted here, permission was not requested nor obtained, as it is of public record.
Published May 30, 2008 Self Dealing
Patrick Walker appeared before the Anoka City Council April 21 to object to an obvious ethical conflict of interest concerning Mayor Bjorn Skogquist and the Windego Society.
Later, by coincidence, I presented much the same view about the mayor's conduct regarding not only Windego, but the River Town Community Partnership (RTCP) and the Anoka car show.
We each asked, in essence, that the mayor excuse himself and step down when any item concerning his "babies" is before the council.
Pat Walker and I each cited the informational source of the mayor's self-dealing, as taken from the pages of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits web site.
Mayor Skogquist has a non-profit consulting company, Skogquist Management. His bio on the web site states that Windego and the RTCP are examples of his nonprofit work while he presents himself for a consulting or management job.
Clearly, the success of Windego and RTCP bear on his credentials as a consultant. A salesman would call them his "reference accounts". The mayor stands to profit if he can keep Windego and River Town afloat.
Do I want Mayor Skogquist to be fined or barred from office? That is a matter for the Anoka City Attorney to decide, but I do not.
No, what I am asking is that when issues concerning Windego (which spent most of its net revenue on an administrator last year. . .they are just $1.2 million short of their goal of $1.2 million, give or take) or the RTCP, which spent 80 percent of the Anoka car show revenues it received on an executive director, are before the council, especially concerning the use of city-owned or city-leased property, Mayor Skogquist step aside.
The history has been, if it is one of the mayor's "babies" before the council, all must endure agenda and meeting manipulation.
Consider finding the controversial RTCP farmer's market request hidden on the consent agenda at the April 7 Anoka Council meeting.
Did you see the two-hour "Udder Market" utter fiasco featuring the spouse of the RTCP executive director dressed as a cow at the same meeting?
When Windego is on an agenda, where there might be questions about finances, no matter how many citizens may wish to comment, it will be put at the end of the agenda so it finally comes up at midnight. Even worse, it just as likely will be off-camera at a workshop.
The mayor has shown no restraint when one of his "reference accounts" is before the council. In many observers opinions it is most inappropriate to be a presenter and cheerleader and interrogator from the council table.
All I ask is that Mayor Skogquist let Windego Park Society and Anoka car show and River Town requests rise or fall on their own merit, without the taint of interference and unethical participation.
Step down, Mr. Mayor, and spare us the theatrics. Honor all citizens by removing the appearance of self-dealing and yourself during these considerations.
Follow-up information: Anoka Car Show/ River Town Commmunity Partnership's paid director is a Mimi Doran, married to a Tom Durkin. She was paid $1,789 per Saturday night. It's a true shame she didn't have the opportunity to double that with the expanded farmer's market idea. Of course, the 5-7 actual booths of the farmer's would have been buried in among 45 other booths. Booths which would compete with our downtown shops. And the real product she is selling is the public streets of Anoka.
Also, in a normal (read healthy city) it is the function of a city manager's office to set agenda's. In a normal, healthy city meeting agenda's are not made available for political manipulation.