Thursday, May 26, 2011

Article Mentions Vennes Family Contributions to Politicians

Karl Bremer at Ripple in Stillwater:

Minnesota is starting to look like the “Land of 10,000 Ponzi Schemes.” Hardly a month goes by before another Ponzi scheme unravels or another fraudster is exposed around here.

As bankruptcy trustees initiate “clawbacks” to try to recover ill-gotten gains from Ponzi profiteers and return them to their victims, one group seems to have escaped their attention: politicians. Many Minnesota politicians have benefited mightily from the largesse of the state’s Ponzimen, yet not one has been asked to give back their political contributions that were derived from illegal activity.

Karl Bremer lists the Ponzi guy's contributions to politicians including these Vennes family contributions to Michele Bachmann and others:


MN House Rep Campaign Comm $85,750
Michele Bachmann $27,600
Mark Kennedy $11,300
Republican Party of Minnesota $10,000
John Kline $8,000
Tim Pawlenty (Governor) $7,500
Norm Coleman $6,000
Minnesotans for a Republican Cong $5,000
Erik Paulsen $4,600
Patrice Bataglia $4,000
Amy Klobuchar $2,000
George W. Bush $2,000
Ted Mondale (Governor) $2,000
Tim Tinglestad (District Cty Judge) $2,000
Republican National Committee $200

I am guessing we'll learn more about the political contributions of the Pirates of Minnetonka when Frank Vennes goes to trial next year.

Click on map to make it bigger:

Friday, May 20, 2011

New Scheduling Order for Vennes Pre-Trial Motions, Hearing and Trial

A New Scheduling Order was granted 05/18/11. The highlights:

Motions shall be filed on or before September 1, 2011.

Government responses are due on or before September 15, 2011.

The motion hearing currently scheduled for May 31, 2011, is hereby continued and rescheduled for September 20, 2011, at 9:30 a.m., in Courtroom 6A, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey J. Keyes, at 316 North Robert Street, St. Paul, Minnesota.


Trial will commence before U.S. District Judge Richard H. Kyle on February 6, 2012, at 9:00 a.m., in Courtroom 7A.

The discovery will take some time - tons of docs and dozens of recordings.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

If Frank Vennes Pleads Not Guilty, Will Michele Bachmann Testify at His Trial?

Vennes appeared for the first time before a magistrate judge earlier this month. Vennes pled not guilty, but he will have another opportunity to plead at the end of the month.

There is a tentative trial date for August, but that may change. It is also possible that Vennes will change his plea and hope the judge will reduce his sentence by cooperating with the DOJ. That could be a concern for Bachmann if there was any quid pro quo regarding his donations and Bachmann's pardon letter (Vennes, not a constituent was Bachmann's top donor in 2006). Another scenario is that Vennes will plead guilty and receive a short vacation at Club Fed without ratting on anyone.

If there is a trial, Bachmann could be called as a character witness for Vennes. Bachmann's 2007 letter is a glowing tribute to the character of Frank Vennes, Bachmann personally vouches for Vennes:

As a U.S. Representative, I am confident of Mr. Vennes’ successful rehabilitation and that a pardon will be good for the neediest of society. Mr. Vennes is seeking a pardon so that he may be further used to help others. As I know from personal experience, Mr. Vennes has used his business position and success to fund hundreds of nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping the neediest in our society....

If she testifies, Bachmann will likely have to say whether she still agrees with that rosy assessment of the character of Mr. Vennes. Bachmann may also have to testify on cross-examination why she hastily withdrew the letter. What evidence did Bachmann have, that we don't have that Vennes was undeserving of a pardon. Even now, Vennes is still considered innocent until proven guilty under the law.

There is lots of evidence, some that was presented at the trial of Tom Petters that implicates Frank Vennes in the scam. Two cohorts of Frank Vennes have pleaded guilty and will likely testify against Vennes. There is a third possible witness who has pled guilty to fraud in relation to the Petters case and she may also appear as a witness against Vennes, It's not looking too good for an acquittal. The best strategy for the defense is "jury nullification" - calling witness after witness to testify that Vennes was such a good Christian that the jury should disregard the evidence and the judge's instructions and return a verdict of "not guilty".

If Bachmann is called to testify, will she testify for, or against Frank Vennes? Is it possible for Bachmann to still claim as she did in 2008 that she doesn't have enough facts to determine whether Frank Vennes played a vital role in the Petters Ponzi scheme?

Stay tuned....

Bachjmann Pardon signature

Click on the arrest warrant below to make it bigger:

Cross-posted at the Dump Bachmann blog.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Mysterious "Two Miracles"

Darrel Amiot, who gave a lecture with Frank Vennes at the "God & Money Dinner" in 2007 also gave a sermon November 7, 2008 titled "God's Sovereignty Over Economic Issues" about the financial catastrophe that happened to some religious institutions in Minnesota six weeks before.

Here's an edited version:

At the end, Amiot says the following:

"In the last two weeks, I've seen two miracles take place. I cannot tell you what those are. I have seen the move of God"

What were those two miracles? Anyone know?

I'm guessing the two lawsuits mentioned in this Strib article may be the two miracles (can a lawyer perform a miracle?)

Listen to Frank Vennes lecture on God & Money here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Frank Vennes Makes First Appearance in Federal Court

Frank Vennes appeared in Federal Court in St. Paul today and pled not guilty (no surprise) to charges related to his involvement in the Petters Ponzi scam. Vennes will have a chance to change his plea later this month. If there is a trial, it will likely not happen before August.

Frank Vennes was indicted April 20th along with Bruce Prevost and David Harrold.

It was a short hearing, so I only was able to do a few quick sketches (colored them in later) Click to make them bigger.

Frank Elroy Vennes:

Vennes attorney James Volling:

UPDATE: Vennes signed appearance $100K bond document -( PDF ) from the Petters-Fraud site.