Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Was Frank Vennes' Son a White House Intern at the Same Time His Father Sought a Presidential Pardon?

(Cross-posted from Dump Bachmann)

New evidence has surfaced that sheds some light on the roles of Denley and Colby Vennes in their father Frank's quest for a presidential pardon. A schedule of payouts to the two from the bankrupt Palm Beach Funds suggests that money from the Petters Ponzi may have been the source of political contributions made by the Vennes brothers when they were both students. And it appears Denley even spent some time inside the White House itself as an intern in 2004 while Frank was in hot pursuit of a pardon from President George W. Bush.

Denley Vennes, "LiquidElk" on the Deviant Art website has a portfolio of photos which includes a photo with this caption:

Election Day 2004. Marine One just landed on the south lawn of the White House. A Marine exits the chopper before the President.

Another Deviant Art member asked how he was able to take the picture, Denley Vennes replied:

Thanks! I was interning at the White House at the time so I had the privilege of being there with the press.

We checked around and found this photo from the George W. Bush White House archives:


Just behind President Bush and VP Dick Cheney is an intern that looks remarkably like the photo of Denley Vennes on his Deviant Art page.

We've created this side-by-side comparison using a higher resolution version of the intern photo - what do you think?

denley vennes

If Denley Vennes was an intern in 2004, that would put him close to the very man who could wipe his father's record clean of the felony convictions that kept him from raising more money for the Petters Ponzi scheme (for more about this, read 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).

In a search warrant issued in 2009, a U.S. Postal Inspector sought access to two email accounts used by both Frank Vennes and his son Denley. According to the affidavit, Frank Vennes allegedly used the Yahoo accounts to send information to investors (see Strib article). Frank Vennes is currently under indictment for his role as financier of the Petters Ponzi scam, The Vennes trial is scheduled for May of next year.

It should also be noted that Denley Vennes contributed $2,000 to the Bush/Cheney campaign in 2003 (brother Colby also donated $2K). In 2004, Denely Vennes donated $2,000 to the campaign of Patrice Bataglia, a Republican candidate who ran against Betty McCollum in the 3rd Congressional District. In both years, Denley Vennes lists his occupation as student. In 2004, Denley said he was a student at Northwestern Bible College. Denley's father Frank was on the board of Northwestern and donated thousands of dollars to the college. The trustee for the Palm Beach Finance bankruptcy is currently clawing back the Vennes contributions to Northwestern. For more about Northwestern and Frank Vennes, read "Northwestern College Trustee Fracas" at the Petters Info blog.

According to a complaint filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Florida November 23rd. Denley Vennes apparently received more than four hundred thousand dollars of his father's allegedly purloined largesse and the Palm Beach Finance trustee is clawing that back too (additional clawback complaints go after other Vennes family members and associates who have sprinkled campaign contributions along the Frank Vennes pardon trail - see interactive timeline at Dipity).

Since the trustee filed a clawback for Ponzi money donated to Bachmann, it is possible some of the following contributions might be clawed back as well:

George Bush/Dick Cheney Presidential Campaign (2003, 2004):



Minnesota Republican Party (2003):


Patrice Bataglia Campaign (MN3CD) (2004):


(Karl Bremer helped research and write this article)

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".