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Tony Sutton and the Myth of the Fiscally Prudent and Managerially Competent Republican

1:12 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Image by Tild of

So what happens to a Republican operative who failed at being a party treasurer, failed at running a turkey farm for fellow Republican operatives, failed at running the Republican Party of Minnesota, and failed at running a shakedown with his then-wife (and ex-wife as of five months ago) Bridget?

Why, you file for bankruptcy, of course. Sally Jo Sorensen at Bluestem Prairie has the details:

A friendly tipster brought a bankruptcy filing listed in the Sept 1 Star Tribune Recent bankruptcy filings in Minneapolis and St. Paul to our attention:

Anthony Gerard Sutton and Bridget Mary Cronin Sutton, as surety for JC
Food Systems and Sutton Enterprises, doing business as Baja Sol, as
surety for IGH Cantina, doing business as Baja Sol Tortilla Grill, 8540
Bechtel Av., Inver Grove Heights; filed Aug. 23, 13-34121; Chap. 7;
assets, $296,404; liabilities, $2,134,346.

Sounds like the TCF Coopers, who were Sutton’s partners in Baja Sol, have totally cut both him and Bridget off from what was once a very generous wingnut-welfare gravy train. Sutton, whose failures as RPM treasurer and Baja Sol owner did not impede his greased-skid progress to becoming RPM chair, seems to have finally found a sticky wicket out from which he cannot “fail upward” as he has done so often in the past.

As Tony Sutton sees his nadir, so also does the myth of the fiscally prudent and managerially competent Republican. Sutton used the myth of his skill with numbers and business expertise to get to the top of the Republican Party of Minnesota; now he is gone, and his chief ally Michael Brodkorb is gone, and the Republicans are left to pick up the pieces.

Front-Runner for Minnesota GOP Chair Job: Marjorie Holsten, The Anti-Porn Prom Mom Featured on The Daily Show!

5:51 am in Republican Party by Phoenix Woman

Marjorie Holsten interviewed by The Daily Show

There are ten persons in the running to replace Tony Sutton, the failed taco baron who failed even harder at politics, as the Chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota. (Pat Shortridge did step in to serve out the remainder of Sutton’s chair term, but he’s not in the running for a full term.) One of these people is Marjorie Holsten, who you may remember from her appearance on The Daily Show as the outraged woman who objected to local 18-year-old Mike Stone — not her own son, but someone else’s — bringing an actress from adult movies to his high-school prom as his date.

Sally Jo Sorensen, who has another video of Ms. Holsten in action at her website, is rooting for Ms. Holsten to win. So am I.

NAACP Member Dave Senjem is a Dirty Hippie Radical, per Dan McGrath

9:15 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

The Republican Party has been forever tainted and morally enfeebled by its longtime embrace of the corporate-bigot alliance called the Southern Strategy, to the point where it’s not only all but impossible for most Republicans to talk sensibly about racial issues, it’s fast becoming impossible for Republicans to associate with groups most Americans know to be good, honorable forces for truth and justice.

Today’s case in point: Dan McGrath, Executive Director of the deep-pocketed conservative turkey-farm-posing-as-think-tank called “Minnesota Majority”, goes into full-on froth-at-the-mouth attack mode against several of the most respected institutions in America today, the League of Women Voters, the ACLU, Common Cause, and the NAACP, tagging them with language such as “radical”, “breathless”, and even “anti-integrity” — which is particularly hilarious given that, as his history shows, Dan McGrath is not known for possessing much integrity.

This in itself isn’t all that noteworthy; Republicans attacking honorable groups like the NAACP are all too easy to find nowadays. What is, however, noteworthy, is that Dan McGrath, by launching such an ill-considered attack, is also indirectly attacking a target in his own Republican party: David Senjem, the new Senate Majority Leader now that Amy “Hester Prynne” Koch was forced to step down.

It turns out, ladies and gentlemen, that David Senjem has been a member of the NAACP for nearly twenty years.

Really and truly. Check out his bio, courtesy of the Rochester, Minnesota Post-Bulletin; the reference to his NAACP membership (reproduced above) is on page four.

I wonder how Dave Senjem, who unlike Dan McGrath seems to have some integrity, can stomach associating with such people as McGrath, who up until he lucked into his cushy conservative-welfare gig with Minnesota Majority was best known as being the manager for profoundly nutty Sue Jeffers’ 2006 gubernatorial campaign. Does Senjem hope against hope that the crazies like McGrath will burn themselves out and allow the adults like Senjem to take the wheel once more?

Why Is The MN GOP So Messed Up? Sutton Running Buddy Ben Golnik is Part of the Answer

2:51 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Lost in all the hubbub of the slow-motion trainwreck that is the Republican Party of Minnesota has been any evidence that anyone in charge is at all interested in getting to the root of its longstanding problems, and not just with money. Instead, the scandals are buried, the whistleblowers attacked, and the people who were in charge when the problems were created are allowed to go on doing what they’d been doing without any major hitches in their giddy-up.

Case in point: Way back in 2006, Dwight Tostenson, a staunch Republican and the RPM’s finance director at the time as well as its chief fundraiser, had tried to get then-party-chair Ron Carey to clean up the Minnesota GOP’s stinking messes — messes which included using for Party expenses the money intended for timely depositing into retirement accounts, understating debts (“$100,000 plus”) on reports to the FEC and to Minnesota’s state campaign finance agency, delayed payment of staff expense reports and commissions, and failure to make timely payments to vendors. (Gee, sounds familiar, doesn’t it?)

Tostenson’s reward from the Party’s leadership? Per the memo he wrote them shortly after his “termination” as finance director in February 2007, a hard kick in the teeth:

I have been told that over the last few months that RPM legal counsel is working on a response to the issues brought to the Chairman’s attention. However, I was told not to contact Party Counsel regarding these issues. In a meeting with the Chairman and the Executive Director, Ben Golnik on Tuesday, November 28, just two weeks after I sent RPM Counsel the documentation, the Chairman informed me that my compensation package would no longer include commissions for major donors or a net dollar performance bonus structure for 2007. He informed me my total compensation pacakge would be reduced to a $75,000 per year salary with no bonuses or commissions. This is an amount less than I have earned in any year in the last decade. Using 2006 numbers it would be a decrease in compensation of about 40%.

The underlining is in the memo itself, as reproduced on the website of CREW, which used the memo as evidence in its 2007 FEC complaint against the Republican Party of Minnesota. (See also the graphic above.) Read the rest of this entry →

Down Goes Sutton! Down Goes Sutton! MNGOP Finally Rid of Its Worst Scandal Magnet

10:41 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Well, it’s finally happened — and leave it to Tony Sutton to wait until 4:21 on a Friday afternoon to announce it:

That’s right, gang: Tony Sutton, whose twisted saga has appeared at both FDL and MyFDL many times over the years, is no longer the Chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota. He Tweeted his official letter of resignation at 5:00 pm, the time at which he stepped down from his post.

Why? The opening two sentences/paragraphs of this StarTribune story might give a slight hint (emphases mine):

Amid mounting evidence of party disarray and financial difficulties, Republican State Party Chairman Tony Sutton announced his resignation Friday.

“I have decided to resign as State Chair effective 5PM today. I have enjoyed being State Chair, but feel it is best for my family to move on,” he said on Twitter.

Now, about those words I bolded? I did that because they are a rare indication — and one that didn’t make it into the dead-tree version of the story — of the Strib’s coming close to admitting the depth and severity of the scandals that have for years surrounded Tony Sutton. The Strib might have published the odd story about the odd incident involving Sutton, but very little connecting of dots was done. It was left to others to connect the dots: the well-informed rural bloggers and the dirty hippie bloggers and the well-scrubbed non-hippie bloggers and the alt-media papers, they covered in depth what neither the StarTribune nor any other local establishment media (certainly not the Saint Paul Pioneer Press, a paper so Republican it makes the DJ-Tice-edited Strib look like the Guardian in comparison) would touch in more than a very superficial way.

Here’s a sample of what I’m talking about:

In this Strib story about the aftermath of Sutton’s sudden resignation, we are treated to seeing Sutton ally Michael Brodkorb (who was first limned here at FDL back in 2008 when he was still trying to claim he was an “independent blogger”) attacking 2010 Republican Party gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer and Emmer’s former campaign manager David FitzSimmons and blaming them for the party’s woes. What the story doesn’t mention is that Brodkorb, who himself suddenly resigned from his post as Sutton’s deputy back in October, has been one of Sutton’s closest allies, and with Sutton was held to be influencing if not outright controlling the actions of the leaders of the Republican legislative caucus to a degree unseemly in persons not elected to the legislature. Another thing we see in the story is FitzSimmons’ stating that the next party chair should be someone with business experience; what is not stated is that Tony Sutton himself has business experience — granted, the experience is in running a business into the ground, even with the millions upon millions of the Cooper banking family to back him up. (That reminds me: Even though Brodkorb was known since October of 2005 to be the man behind the local Republican blog “Minnesota Democrats Exposed”, all of the local establishment media, including the StarTribune, refused to admit that he had been outed, much less that he’d outed himself when he made a post by e-mail and published his e-mail address on his post. Only when he outed himself a second time did they admit that he was indeed behind MDE.)

The simple fact is that it was the persistence of the non-establishment media — the blogs both local and national, and the alt-weekly City Pages — that shed the most light on Tony Sutton’s actions. It is because of them that he has resigned in disgrace, leaving behind over $500,000 in debt and a deeply divided party. If not for them, he’d likely still be party chair today.

The Great and Powerful Brodkorb Has Spoken!

8:09 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Pay no attention to the boor behind the curtain!

Earlier this week, Doug Tice, the conservative editor of the StarTribune, published what was the mother of all chastisements to his fellow Republicans, Minnesota Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton and his deputy Michael Brodkorb, warning them to stop with the boorish behavior or risk seeing Governor Dayton eat their lunch in the budget battle: “Sutton’s methods could help tilt the balance of public opinion in the governor’s favor at a time the GOP majority can ill-afford to lose support.”


Unfortunately for Messrs. Sutton and Brodkorb, they didn’t take the hint from Tice et al — Hey, bozoes, shut up or Dayton wins! — because Brodkorb has just asked for, and been granted, space in the Strib to dig his and Sutton’s holes even deeper, accusing Governor Dayton of icky behavior but somehow failing to quote anything by Governor Dayton, much less anything anywhere near as icky as the tripe Sutton and Brodkorb spew, one of whom was quoted at length and in context by the StarTribune’s editorial writer.

Tild of reveals the boor behind the curtain

Furthermore, much as humbug artist and former “independent blogger” Brodkorb would like to wish it otherwise, the StarTribune isn’t the only Minnesota paper whose editors are horrified at the Sutton-and-Brodkorb act. Bluestem Prairie’s Sally Jo Sorensen’s reeled off a list of three major papers in Greater Minnesota who have scorched the Republican strategy, and the Republicans’ Fantasy Budget, in words that make the Strib’s seem downright gentle in comparison.

Face it, Broddie: Not even the Twin Cities media will be eating out of your hand much longer.

(Crossposted to Renaissance Post and Mercury Rising.)