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Man dresses as clown to warn county of impending lawsuit

Amid the satire laced with references to alt-right and white nationalist internet memes, the Merrifield man accused Sheriff Scott Goddard, sheriff’s Capt. Joe Meyer and Nisswa Police Chief Craig Taylor of inappropriately accessing his driver’s license information.

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Merrifield man Troy Scheffler, dressed as a clown, speaks during open forum Tuesday, Oct. 27, at the Crow Wing County Board meeting. Chelsey Perkins / Brainerd Dispatch
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A man dressed as a clown threatened to sue Crow Wing County during a county board meeting Tuesday, Oct. 27, citing violations of his data privacy by the sheriff and other law enforcement officials.

Donning a curly rainbow wig, a giant bow tie and clown shoes in primary colors, Troy Scheffler of Merrifield began a two-minute satirical statement during the open forum portion of the meeting by honking a horn and telling commissioners he arrived wearing the board’s “traditional garb so as to show respect for your culture in Clown World.” The statement — which included several references to alt-right and white nationalist internet memes born from online forums and concluded with Scheffler flashing the OK hand gesture, sometimes associated with white supremacy — warned county officials of an impending “scroll to be served upon the most high of your tyranny in two weeks’ time.”

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Troy Scheffler warns Crow Wing County he intends to sue over claims his private data was accessed by Sheriff Scott Goddard and other law enforcement officials. Scheffler, dressed as a clown, spoke during open forum at the Crow Wing County Board meeting Tuesday, Oct. 27. Screenshot / Chelsey Perkins

Amid the satire, Scheffler accused Sheriff Scott Goddard, sheriff’s Capt. Joe Meyer and Nisswa Police Chief Craig Taylor of inappropriately accessing his driver’s license information.

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“These brutes invaded my private data, harassed me on my cellphone, Capt. Meyer has threatened me and one of your ‘cheese pizza’ deputies was peeping in my window at my home,” Scheffler said. “Cheese pizza” is yet another term originating in the online forum 4chan, this one associated with pedophilia.

Reached Tuesday, Goddard declined to comment on the specifics of Scheffler’s claims.

“Anybody that makes a data request, we certainly work to make sure it’s fulfilled,” Goddard said.

This was the second time in as many county board meetings Scheffler has threatened suit, and both times he defied the mask requirement inside the boardroom. On Oct. 13, he lodged complaints about the Toward Zero Deaths program and the presence of uniformed officers he said were on the clock at an emergency Nisswa City Council meeting in September. Cut off by County Board Chairman Steve Barrows at the two-minute mark, Scheffler requested another minute to explain the basis of the lawsuit he said he would file but was denied.

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Troy Scheffler flashes the "OK" hand gesture to conclude a satirical speech Tuesday, Oct. 27, during the open forum portion of the Crow Wing County Board meeting. Screenshot / Chelsey Perkins

The Nisswa council meeting was convened in the wake of the arrest of Nisswa Mayor Fred Heidmann, who faces charges for disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice after he interfered with a traffic stop near his business on Highway 371. Heidmann said the Toward Zero Deaths stop reflected poorly on the lakes area to passing tourists. Scheffler also appeared there, calling the meeting a “dog and pony show” and stating the courts would take care of Heidmann’s actions.

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RELATED: Nisswa Council censures mayor, seeks resignation

Scheffler also spoke at the Oct. 21 meeting of the Nisswa City Council, giving copies of a draft lawsuit to council members. City Attorney Tom Pearson told the Echo Journal the city hasn’t been officially served with a suit.

Scheffler has a history of being litigious. A search of his name in Minnesota civil court records shows he’s been the petitioner in at least 52 lawsuits since 2009, including conciliation cases and personal injury suits. In 2020 alone, he filed seven civil complaints — two against individuals along with the First National Bank of Omaha, The Progressive Corp., the city of Blaine, Lake Edward Township and Crow Wing County.

The complaint filed in conciliation court in July against Crow Wing remains open. In it, Scheffler is seeking repayment of the $19.60 late penalty he was charged for his property taxes, plus the $75 filing fee.

“Land services was closed due to Covid-19 hysteria. Therefore, I was unable to go into the building to pay with cash,” Scheffler’s complaint stated. “All other options required me to pay service fees which were unfair and unreasonable. I paid the entire year immediately upon opening of the building. I was assessed a late penalty of $19.60 and was ultimately extorted that money through the negligence of the defendant.”

CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 218-855-5874 or chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at twitter.com/DispatchChelsey .

Related Topics: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICSCROW WING COUNTYCROW WING COUNTY BOARD
Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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