Thursday, December 1, 2011

Breaking: Clawbacks in Palm Beach Finance Bankruptcy Snare Bachmann Campaign Also Vennes Family & Associates

Cross-posted from Dump Bachmann:

Breaking News: An "adversary" case was filed November 29th against Michele Bachmann, Bachmann for Congress, and Bachmann Minnesota Victory Committee. The court action [not confirmed] is most likely in relation to contributions from Frank Vennes, family and associates. Other recent, related clawback cases have been filed against Vennes family members and associates of Frank Vennes. Some of the parties mentioned in the complaints contributed heavily to political candidates including Michele Bachmann [see Karl Bremer's three-part series on the effort to win a pardon for Frank Vennes including a timeline of donations and events relating to the Vennes request for a pardon Parts One, Two & Three].

This action is a part of the effort to clawback assets by the bankruptcy trustee for Palm Beach Finance Partners one of the feeder funds for the Petters Ponzi scheme. The two Palm Beach funds managers David W. Harrold, Bruce F. Prevost, associates of Frank Vennes were indicted April 20, 2011 along with Vennes for fraud. Harrold and Prevost pled guilty April 21st.

Other clawback actions include business associates of Vennes including Darrel Amiot who is mentioned in a lecture by Frank Vennes [listen to an Amiot sermon here] Another case was filed against Larry Greely, an associate of Amiot.

Another action goes after the Fidlelis Foundation. Vennes sat on the board of Fidelis Foundation has its office next to the law office of Howse and Thompson.

Another complaint was filed against CitySites Urban Media, Inc., North Dakota Teen Challenge, Inc., Minnesota Teen Challenge, Inc., KidsFirst Scholarship Fund of Minnesota, Desiring God Ministries, Prison Fellowship, Trinity Christian School, Crown Financial Ministries, Inc., Great Commission Foundation, Inc., New Life Family Services, Northwestern College, Masterworks of Minneapolis, Inc., Metro Hope Ministries, Inc., Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle, Inc., T-Net International, Wheaton College, Billy Graham Center, Seg-Way Ministries, International Ministerial Fellowship, Williston Assembly of God.

Some of these institutions have close connections to Frank Vennes. Vennes served on the boards of Minnesota Teen Challenge and Northwestern College. Some of these institutions, like the Desiring God ministry (whose Pastor John Piper wrote about an anti-homosexual-tornado) and Minnesota Teen Challenge were involved in the strange saga of Hope Commons.

Another complaint was filed the 23rd against Grace Consulting of Southeast, Inc. run by Frank Vennes brother and Bachmann donor Gregory Vennes who was sued by investors in 2008 for alleged seven counts of fraud and misrepresentation (the suit was settled).

Complaints were also filed against family members Norma Vennes, Colby Vennes and Denley Vennes seeking funds that are alleged to have been fraudulently transferred from Metro Gem, one of several feeder funds for the Petters Ponzi scheme managed by Frank Vennes.

This is a developing story - stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE 1: Karl Bremer has more at Ripple in Stillwater:

The long arm of the Tom Petters Ponzi scheme clawback has reached out for Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in an effort to recover $27,600 in contributions to her congressional campaign from Petters associate and Bachmann friend, convicted money launderer Frank Vennes Jr.

The move came in an "adversary case" complaint filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court proceedings in the Southern District of Florida for the Palm Beach Funds. These were Palm Beach, FL- and offshore-based hedge funds allegedly used by Vennes to steer billions of dollars into the Petters Ponzi.

Barry E. Mukamal, liquidating trustee for the bankrupt Palm Beach Funds, filed the action November 29 against Michele Bachmann, Bachmann for Congress, and Bachmann Minnesota Victory Committee. It identifies seven contributions to Bachmann’s congressional campaigns made between December 2005 and June 2008 that it seeks to recover for the Palm Beach Fund creditors. Based on Federal Election Commission records, those contributions were made by Frank Vennes Jr. and his wife, Kimberly.

Read the whole thing.

This report is a joint investigation by Ken Avidor and Karl Bremer. For more information on Bachmann and Vennes go to the Ripple in Stillwater blog and the Vennes Info blog. Read about Bachmann's relationship to Frank Vennes in the new book "The Madness of Michele Bachmann".