MPHA Board Member Resigns After Controversial Emails

Updated: 04/01/2013 4:27 PM KSTP.com By: Jay Kolls

A 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS report revealed bizarre emails form a member of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and that commissioner, we are told, has resigned.

City Council member, Gary Schiff, says MPHA board member, Steve Minn, violated the public trust and demanded his resignation. Schiff got his wish as Minn tendered his resignation to the the City Council and Mayor Rybak's office.

Minn's company, Lupe Development, city records show, received $800,000 in tax dollars to help build housing projects.

Minn's company is set to receive an additional $2 million for future city public housing projects. But, it was a series of e-mails, under fake names, that had Council member Schiff calling for Minn's resignation or termination from the MPHA Board.

Minn admits to writing fake emails under assumed names for several years disparaging Doran Companies and its owner, Kelly Doran. Doran, in some instances, would be competing for the same tax dollars as Minn on public housing projects.

Under the assumed names, Minn wrote to City Council members calling Kelly Doran a "crook" and someone who should not receive $800,000" in tax grants to build a housing project in Minneapolis. Under those same assumed names, Minn wrote critical emails about several City Council members.

Minn sent a letter of apology to the City Council members and city staff saying he was "humbled by this lapse of judgment" and he would never use fake names and emails again.

Minn has done nothing illegal and the City Attorney's office says he did not violate the city's Code of Ethics because he wrote the fake emails while representing his private company.

Still, Council member, Gary Schiff, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he would push for Minn's resignation, or termination, because he thinks Minn "violated the public trust." Now that Minn has resigned, Schiff says he might turn his attention to denying his company, Lupe Development, the two million dollars in tax money it is set to receive on new projects.

We also want to emphasize Minn did not receive money from the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, of which he was a commissioner until his resignation. We used the term "public" housing to describe his projects. We want to clarify that statement. Minn's taxpayer-financed grants did not come from the MPHA and is not part of the agency's public housing programs. It is tax money, but Minn's projects are sold as private developments. We did not intend to suggest the money came from MPHA. Our original use of the word "public" housing was intended to make it clear Minn was not building these projects for his personal use, but they would be made available to the public for purchase or rent.