A few years after leaving the Minnesota Legislature I had the opportunity to introduce Steve Carlton (owner of the Emily manganese mine) to Bruce Kraemer, CEO of Crow Wing Power. Being an acquaintance of both, I looked forward to the introduction. I walked away thinking this could lead to great things for the co-op membership. I never suspected how little the membership would be told about the mining project.
Recently, I have been following the series of articles covering the purchase of the mine by Crow Wing Power, and the appearance of corruption from co-op management. It is appalling, to me, to read the articles and watch the video of Bruce Kraemer's interview, along with CWP attorney Paul Johnson's interaction with the co-op board. It makes me wish I could take back that initial introduction.
The appearance of corruption from Bruce Kraemer's handling of this project, and Paul Johnson not answering questions asked by board member Paul Koering is shameful. Koering asked Johnson a very direct question about what happened to the profits from the sale of Hunt Technologies. Amazingly, Johnson answered a totally different question, never addressing where all the money from that sale went. I commend Paul Koering and his fellow board member, Bryan McCulloch, for speaking up on behalf of the coop members.
It would not surprise me to see new oversight regulations, maybe even from the Legislature, that cripple the local control of power co-ops. It's tragic to think that the suspected mismanagement and signs of corruption from CWP managers could lead to stricter oversight for all power co-ops.
Former Minnesota State Representative