Monday, August 14, 2006


Dirty Green? or On the Importance of Values

I don't claim to know if Dean Zimmermann, a former Green Party Minneapolis City Council member, really accepted the bribes he was convicted last week of taking--maybe there was no quid pro quo. However, as an outsider, the case against him looks pretty damning and his defense attorney did not deny that Zimmerman took $7200 in cash from a real estate developer. The defense argument is that there was no bribe and if there was a bribe, well, then Zimmerman was entrapped.

However, during the trial Zimmerman admitted to lying to the FBI about the money. He also admitted to having $35,000 in credit card debt last year when he took the money. Although, in an interview with Minnesota Public Radio last year he said, "I live a pretty frugal life and, you know, I ride a bike and we have an old junker car and money for me personally is never a significant thing." He also portrayed the FBI investigation as "an attempt to silence him and the Green Party." In any event, it looks pretty clear that Zimmerman had strayed far from at least a couple of the Ten Key Values in deciding to accept the money and this whole matter is a stain on Greens.

After the guilty verdicts, the Green Party of Minnesota said in a press release:
The Green Party of Minnesota reaffirms its belief that Dean Zimmermann had no intention to solicit or take bribes. We base this on his record of more than half a century of service to his community and active work for justice. We recognize that he has made serious mistakes in the handling of funds, and we do not condone or excuse those mistakes. Nevertheless, we believe that he was never motivated by personal gain.
Thanks to deesings and others over at the Green Commons where I first learned about this. See also Minneapolis Confidential for trial notes and local media coverage.

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