Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Daily Email Edition

Get MN Daily NEWS delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday!


Money trail doesn’t end at Green Party

Sorry, Federal Bureau of Investigation, but justice is about more than busting hippies.


Last year, former 6th Ward City Council member and Green Party activist Dean Zimmermann was caught (on tape) on the receiving end of a “financial transaction” (read: bribe), and now he’s been found guilty of taking several thousand dollars from a fast-talking real estate developer planted by the FBI.

Smile, Dean! You’re on “Candid Camera: Political Smear Edition.”

My question is the following: Why don’t we see pushy FBI agents and U.S. attorneys viciously cornering and blowing the covers of decades-long Republican and Democratic philandering? Why does the lone Green wolf get the government-sponsored hatchet job?

Let’s start from the beginning, and that means some full disclosure.

I’ve met Zimmermann before, at a house party in the Uptown area a couple of years ago.

It was Halloween, and a goofy, seemingly disoriented teddy bear of a man – think Jerry Garcia in a “Nader 2004” T-shirt, and not long after a hemp-accessorizing community class – was apparently doing the rounds at a neighborhood haunt with a palette of political buttons tucked under his left arm.

The Dean-o I saw and briefly chatted with that night was the same schmoo I saw in the FBI’s surveillance vid last week: a clueless, somewhat pathetic old radical-era leftover who was perhaps not a shining beacon of honesty (in his conduct or his campaign tactics), but in the final analysis was nothing more than a fleshy spoof of his own party, and third-party pols everywhere.

Fast forward a bit to June 14, 2005, when this same loon is about to have a side of chicken wings with previously mentioned developer Gary Carlson at the Baja Restaurant in the Cedar-Riverside area of Minneapolis.

Before much has happened, Carlson hands over an envelope with 50 $100 bills, and the grizzled 64-year-old upstart, looking surprised, takes the envelope, not knowing Carlson is wearing a video wire strapped by the FBI.

Enter Zimmergate – and the man’s conviction last week on federal bribery charges by an all-white, all non-Minneapolis jury.

Seriously, folks. Zimmermann is a south Minneapolis handyman with eight credit cards and $35,000 in debt. He’s the softest target possible for small-time ATM action at a taco stand.

It’s true Zimmermann was playing dirty pool, but it takes two to tango, and the feds spun this aggressively scripted counter-charade from politically greased yarn.

If you want to work to dismantle the filthy cash register that is city, state and federal politics, don’t start with a silly, cash-strapped old Greener who was duped into a few grand in zoning funds.

If the Federal Bureau of Investigation really wanted to live up to its name, it would do just that: investigate real fraud and not just be snoops for hire selling themselves out to party hacks who are major white-collar criminals themselves.

Congratulations, secret agents. You just busted a benign third-party hippie with swift and thorough justice. Now it’s time to turn those sizable guns on the Cheneys of the world, who sell not Chicago Avenue zoning rights, but the Constitution out to the petroleum and military-industrial lobbies, right?

Of course. And then I’d wake up.

Adri Mehra welcomes comments at [email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Accessibility Toolbar

Comments (0)

All The Minnesota Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *