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Open forum: Conflict of interest

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opinion Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd Dispatch
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Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

May 4, 2010, commissioners agreed quotes should be solicited for construction manager position. Data shows unsealed quotes had been received April 8, April 28 from Shingobee Builders, Kraus-Anderson for $135,000. Kuepers quote received May 28 was also $135,000.

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June 30 Independent Fee Review report, Kuepers selected construction manager.

City attorney writes July 6, 2010, Kuepers informed commission his firm hoped to be selected for the construction management work. This statement not truthful. July 6, 2010, airport minutes state the independent fee review and agreements with SEH for terminal remodel were approved.

City attorney writes, although statutory process wasn’t followed to meet conflict of interest in statute 471.88 subd, 1, 5-17, required elements were present. For exceptions permitting public officials to have personal interest in a contract for professional services, several requirements must be satisfied.

Requirements weren’t satisfied July 6, 2010, and should have been satisfied to avoid a conflict.

City attorney writes, it’s obvious neither Kuepers nor other commissioners recognized a potential conflict of interest would be created if Kuepers became a subcontractor. They didn’t perceive a conflict would be developed, so didn’t seek legal advice. Why did Kuepers abstain if there wasn’t a conflict of interest?

City attorney is making excuses and providing recommendations in statute 471.89 subd.’s 1, 2 and 3 for commissioners to approve, that should have been approved based on the procedures in this statute on July 6, 2010, when the contract was approved.

What emergency will the attorney use to make his recommendation legal? Kuepers contract is void.

Airport commissioners didn’t follow statutory process regarding conflict exceptions procedures.

MN Statue 471.87-Public officers who violate this statute are guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

Airport Commissioner Kuepers is a public officer.

Citizens can go online and read statutes.

Bob Olson

Brainerd City Council 

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