Rally to Demand Joe Biernat's Resignation

Minneapolis Property Rights Action Committee and northeast community activists will rally in front of Hubert Humphrey’s statue at the Minneapolis City Hall at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 30, 2002, proposing that Biernat resign his position as 3rd Ward representative on the Minneapolis City Council. The U.S. Attorney’s office and F.B.I. have found evidence that this individual abused his position of public trust in accepting free plumbing work on his personal residence from a plumbing union official who was appointed to a city board and that funds stolen from the union were involved.

The rally is directed at a City Council member who continues to hold public office while a protracted legal battle rages between Biernat’s attorney and federal prosecutors. While each person accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty, city taxpayers may get stuck with the legal bill if Biernat gets off on a technicality. So far, much of Biernat’s defense has focused on blaming the FBI agent for tactics which elicited his confession.

Eve White, executive director of Minneapolis Property Rights Action Committee, stated: “We appeal to Mr. Biernat - if he truly loves the city of Minneapolis - to assess honestly whether or not he has committed the crimes of which he is accused and, if he has, to end the charade of meaningless legal maneuvers and obfuscation that has characterized his defense. Be a man, Joe, admit your guilt and resign if you did these disreputable things. Spare yourself and the city of further agony. If Brian Herron could do it, so can you.”

The Property Rights group held a similar demonstration on Monday, June 17th. Picketing members went up to City Council offices to see Biernat. While the Council member would not meet with the demonstators, he did tell media representatives that bad blood existed between the landlord group and himself because, as a Council member, he had cracked down on substandard conditions in the buildings they owned. Biernat suggested that some of the MPRAC members had “rats” in their buildings.

In this demonstration, the MPRAC protestors plan to visit the City Council offices again, again ask Mr. Biernat to meet with them, and, if they are successful, ask him for evidence relating to the “rats” remark. Such unsubstantiated allegations were a staple of the Cherryhomes-Biernat era in city government.

Minneapolis Property Rights Action Committee is comprised of several hundred property owners in Minneapolis who, for the past six years, have battled abuse by Minneapolis city officials directed against the city’s landlords, their buildings and tenants. Joe Biernat, the Council’s vice president, was instrumental in shutting down several rental properties in what the landlord group considered to be an improper manner.

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