Jousting with Chuck Repke
lot of interesting connections to be made from the newspaper today ...
The one discusses the ongoing movement of the middle class of this country
into the outer burbs ... The other one discusses the down side of our
friends who are "property rights" advocates. It appears that
this mayor, like the last mayor, like the mayor before that and the
mayor before that... has come to the realization that problem landlords
are blood suckers who pray on the poor and disadvantaged of our community.
Like I have said in earlier posts, problem landlords love the drug dealers
and the extreme poor; they both pay cash and don't make any complaints.
Twenty-five people in a duplex, no problem as long as you pay in cash.
If they burn to death, so what? Landlords have their rights!
WILLIAM MCGAUGHEY (6/24/06)
Chuck Repke, who used to be a staff member for St. Paul City Council member Dave Thune, wrote: "The other one discusses the down side of our friends who are "property rights" advocates. It appears that this mayor, like the last mayor, like the mayor before that and the mayor before that... has come to the realization that problem landlords are blood suckers who pray on the poor and disadvantaged of our community. Like I have said in earlier posts, problem landlords love the drug dealers and the extreme poor; they both pay cash and don't make any complaints. Twenty-five people in a duplex, no problem as long as you pay in cash. If they burn to death, so what? Landlords have their rights! "
This is pure hallucination. No landlord that I know loves drug dealers. Extreme poverty is also no advantage to landlords if the tenant cannot pay the rent. The idea that landlords prefer to be paid in cash is simply untrue. Speaking for myself, I prefer payment by check or money order because we then have a clear record whether the rent was paid some time after the fact. Repke also says that some landlords don't care if 25 people are living in a duplex designed for a fraction of that number. Landlords, he says, don't care if tenants burn to death in their units. Is this responsible discussion? I don't think so. As far as landlords being "blood suckers who pray on the poor", I think he means "prey". Chuck Repke is dumb as a door nail.
CHUCK REPKE (6/24/06)
On the first point Chuck Repke who washed dishes
at the Pool and Yacht Club, sold shoes at Dayton's and Diamond's department
stores, stocked shelves at Sears, sold Insurance for John Hancock, ran
groups for the Wilder Foundation, supervised the counseling staff at
180 Degrees Incorporated, started On Site Monitoring Services, was the
legislative aide for Dave Thune, was staff to the Ted Mondale campaign,
is the Executive Director of two non-profits on the East Side, is a
registered lobbyist, and a licensed real estate agent and has
WILLIAM MCGAUGHEY (6/24/06 - in the process of losing it)
Chuck Repke, your resume doesn't impress me. I still think you're dumb. The fact that you don't know the difference between "pray" and "prey" is the least of it.
In your response, you conveniently omitted these words that you wrote: "Twenty-five people in a duplex, no problem as long as you pay in cash. If they burn to death, so what? Landlords have their rights! "
This business about paying in cash shows that you don't know the first thing about being a landlord. You just seem to make these things up. No landlord would want severe overcrowding in their units. You're so far into your hateful stereotypes you wouldn't know a fact if you saw one. You're mentally lazy. But you may be incapable of being otherwise.
Do you really hold the opinion that landlords don't care if people burn to death in their units? Do you think that landlords claim the right to set tenants on fire?
All I can say to this is that you're a total jerk.
CHUCK REPKE (6/24/06)
"Chuck Repke, your resume doesn't impress
me. I still think you're dumb. The fact that you don't know the difference
between 'pray'and 'prey'is the least of it."
Thanks - I've been called worse by better.
FORUM MODERATOR (6/26/06)
The name-calling in this post was unnecessary and detracts from your argument. It's specifically addressed in our rules and is unacceptable forum behavior.
Please consider this an informal warning that I will formalize if it continues. Let me know if you have any questions....
(later in the day)
Dear William McGaughey: Please consider this note
an OFFICIAL WARNING for breaking the rules that
On Saturday, June 24, you broke the following St. Paul Issues Forum rules: 4. Be Civil - No insults, name calling or inflamed speech. You violated these rules in posts titled "Developers and the City".
WILLIAM MCGAUGHEY (6/26/06)
I have been at least temporarily barred from posting to this list. It may be that it is because I called Chuck Repke a name. Today the forum moderator issued a warning. This, then, may be my last posted message here. My remarks will have to do more with what is acceptable and unacceptable discussion.
Several months ago, I decided to refrain from participation for a time. Every few days there seemed to be a new defamatory comment from Repke or someone else about private-sector landlords. Yes, that is my occupation. I do have some sense of group pride. But I did not want to spend my life monitoring Repke and refuting his statements.
I jumped back into the discussion after reading Repke's posting on June 23. It included this paragraph: "The other one discusses the down side of our friends who are "property rights" advocates. It appears that this mayor, like the last mayor, like the mayor before that and the mayor before that... has come to the realization that problem landlords are blood suckers who pray on the poor and disadvantaged of our community. Like I have said in earlier posts, problem landlords love the drug dealers and the extreme poor; they both pay cash and don't make any complaints. Twenty-five people in a duplex, no problem as long as you pay in cash. If they burn to death, so what? Landlords have their rights! "
As a landlord, you get tired of dealing with the canard from the Twin Cities political crowd that landlords love to rent to drug dealers because they pay in cash. No landlord I know wants drug dealers in their buildings. We work hard to avoid that situation. The idea that we jump to get tenants who pay in cash is stupid. Do our critics think we are like fish who automatically lunge at green pieces of paper? No, I tried to explain that I prefer to be paid by check because we then have a clear record of payment. The only time I would prefer cash is if the check bounces.
But it was Repke"s comment that landlords and property rights advocates have a "so what?" attitude about people burning to death in their buildings or that it is one of our "rights" to ignore fire-safety standards that really got me riled. Let me tell you that I had a fire in my apartment building four years ago. Someone broke into a basement unit vacated by someone I had recently evicted and tried to burn the place down. Fortunately, we caught the fire in time to prevent serious damage or injury. But I get emotional about fires. I do care about the people who might be injured in them. I'm sure the overwhelming majority of landlords feel the same way. But here comes Repke claiming, without a shred of evidence, that landlords are people who don't care if fires kill people in their buildings.
So how should I react to that kind of statement? The rules of this forum state that my response should not be personal. I should calmly and politely make statements to the effect that landlords do care about their tenants and want to avoid fires. I tried that approach and Repke kept posting malicious statements. Few in this forum seemed to feel he was out of bounds.
Let's suppose, for sake of argument, that someone posting to this list repeatedly suggests, without any evidence whatsoever, that Somali immigrants are child molesters or persons who habitually commit incest with children? Would that type of remark be permitted on this forum? Would a Somali who responded to the posting in a personal way be booted off the forum? I don't think so. Yet, Repke and others do this all the time with private-sector landlords. It's part of our political culture.
One poster called me a liar. He wrote that I made more "false statements and innuendo than anything that others on this forum post." I challenged the poster to cite a single lie that I had told.
His response was amusing. He wrote: "I don't have facts that is why I said opinion ... There just seems to be too many making people making comments that counter McGaughey that I developed an opinion. They are my opinion, they do not have to be based on facts." In other words, this person thought it was perfectly OK to call me a liar as long as he labeled it an "opinion". He did not need facts to back up his statements about me.
In like manner, Chuck Repke does not need facts to make his generalized negative statements about landlords. He always starts the argument; we are the ones forced to respond. What are the ground rules for fair discussion? Repke's remarks are clearly defamatory. Are we then forced to go to court to redress the injury? My preference would be to have free and open discussion. But if Repke persists in his defamation, then the response will sometimes get personal. Either that or I should resign from the forum altogether.
In Repke's case, there is another dimension to this question. He has criticized me for pointing out that he used to be Dave Thune's aide. Yes, it is true that Repke's comments should not be associated with Thune and Repke does often issue a disclaimer that his opinions do not reflect the views of past or future employers. On the other hand, Repke has boasted that he remains a close personal friend of Thune who sometimes goes out to dinner with him along with their wives or significant others.
My own view is that Repke's comments, though often uncouth, are generally in line with the prevailing sentiments at City Hall. St. Paul city officials, inspectors and the police, do show arrogance and animosity toward the city's property owners (both landlords and homeowners) especially in the poorer neighborhoods. In another words, Repke is part of St. Paul's dominant political culture; and it is this aspect of his participation here which I find most troubling.
The recent fire in St. Paul that injured several people was a tragedy. However, it was also an accident caused by children playing with matches, so to speak. Landlord negligence, if any, had to do with conditions of overcrowding. I would have no problem if St. Paul city officials objectively reviewed regulations relating to building occupancy to try to prevent situations like this in the future. Instead, Mayor Coleman announced a massive "crackdown" on the city's property owners, targeting the worst fifty. In other words, he was politicizing the tragedy. History has given us enough examples, from Hitler on down, of government officials who use fires and other tragedies to go after their political enemies.
So when Repke characterizes landlords as persons who do not care if their tenants burn to death, I naturally become apprehensive about it, the more so because I do not think he is an isolated "nut" making wild statements but someone who might actually reflect the prevalent attitudes and policies at St. Paul City Hall. The e-democracy forum could be a way of addressing this type of situation. I'm not sure people want to do that.
CHUCK REPKE (6/26/06)
First let me be clear that I do not know William
McGaughey personally and from time to time I have generalized about
"problem landlords" that he may have thought reflected badly
on all landlords. I have never attempted to discredit all landlords,
in fact some of my best friends are landlords. My comments have never
meant to be directed at McGaughey personally, and again as he typed
in his post I said "problem landlords."
WILLIAM MCGAUGHEY (6/27/06)
Chuck Repke evades responsibility for his earlier statements by pointing out that he was referring only to "problem" landlords. Who are these people? Are they the fifty landlords on Mayor Coleman's list? Are they the members of the Property Rights group? Maybe I should restate my objection with this challenge to Repke: Name one landlord who wants drug dealers in his building if they pay in cash. Name one landlord who doesn't care if tenants burn to death in his building. Name one landlord who, in the name of property rights, wants to be allowed to ignore fire-safety standards.
Repke accuses me or the Watchdog newspaper of regularly "libeling" public officials. Again, Mr. Repke, be specific. Which written statements are libelous? Is it that the Watchdog newspaper printed an affidavit from Nancy Osterman that St. Paul housing inspector demanded that she sell her house to a named individual for $40,000 or he would have the house torn to the ground (which it was)? Is it that the Watchdog published a photograph of this same inspector and others removing someone else's building materials from the garage behind 14 E. Jessamine? Yes, I mentioned these incidents in my postings in the hope that city officials would investigate and take corrective action. To my knowledge, they have not done so.
Let me give my take on Repke's repeated attacks on landlords as a group. It seems to me that elected officials, together with their retinue (people like Repke), characteristically vilify people before they abuse them. If you can persuade the public that these people - private-sector landlords - are evil people or, better still, are not human at all, then the public does not care what you do to them. It's like exterminating mice.
Therefore, when Repke suggests that landlords, problem or otherwise, do not care if tenants burn to death in their buildings, he is saying that landlords are devoid of human sympathy. He is saying that landlords are like reptiles. They do not care whether someone else dies in a fire and we should not care about them either. The city has plans for them.
I hope readers will accept that anti-landlord vilification has taken place in St. Paul political circles and Chuck Repke is a part of that effort. Now, how will the city "abuse" landlords? I cannot predict what the city will do. All I can do is say that city officials and other political entities have abused private-sector landlords and other property owners in the past. I can tell you how that abuse has taken place...
Many readers also know about Nancy Osterman's experience with St. Paul city officials which have been extensively reported in the Watchdog newspaper. Basically St. Paul city police wanted Osterman to become a drug informant. Instead, she chose treatment. At this point, the police brought in housing inspectors for the purpose of imposing work orders on Osterman (there had previously been none) which she could not afford. When Osterman instead sold the building to another party, the inspector told her that she had to sell to a particular individual for $40,000 or he would have the house torn down. Some Property Rights people intervened, holding a protest demonstration on the day (Feb 14) when the house was scheduled to be demolished.
You should also know that St. Paul city inspectors condemned a building belonging to the publisher of the Watchdog newspaper after this paper had published an article critical of the Kelly administration. The city action was so clearly retaliatory that a hearing officer overturned it. The city even went after Rep. Phil Krinke, owner of St. Paul Plumbing and Heating, after Krinke had introduced a bill in the Minnesota legislature allowing property owners to hire their own inspectors to approve work. City inspectors piled work orders on Krinke's business. He spent $10,000 in legal fees and eventually prevailed. (How reckless to go after the #2 or #3 man in the Minnesota House in this way. You can imagine how St. Paul inspectors treat ordinary citizens.)
These cases show the extent of disregard of the rights of a free press and of democratic processes which these arrogant St. Paul inspectors and city officials have. Yes, there is corruption within St. Paul city government. Mayor Coleman, city council members, please do something about it!
The good news is that it is possible to fight City Hall. Three St. Paul landlords have lawsuits against the City of St. Paul for racketeering. I prefer to let the cases be decided on their own merits and not to try to prejudge what the courts will do. Another approach is to encourage people to come forward to say in public what city government has done to them. Personal testimony in public is a powerful political weapon and we use it frequently. We use the Watchdog newspaper to allow this testimony to reach a broader group of people.
Finally, let me say that it was wrong of me to have called Chuck Repke a name or names. Words written in the heat of anger are often ill-advised. I gladly accept whatever penalty the forum manager wishes to impose. I do sometimes enjoy the theatrical aspect of spirited political fights but recognize that others in this forum may not share my tastes.
CHUCK REPKE (6/27/06)
I know people are getting bored with the back and forth between Repke and McGaughey, but let's just hope that it is an object lesson in how these guys operate.
In the first paragraph he is calling me out, hoping
to get me to accuse a specific person of a criminal act with criminal
intention. The point of this action is that I can be the next person
named in one of the law suits. He knows very well that in my district,
three or four times a year, I am testifying against an illegal conversion
of a duplex into a triplex on the East Side. He knows that I have to
be very careful then to not say that the person knew that the conversion
was done under anything but the best intention. Let's say then that
I know that there are properties that are regularly asked to remove
tenants who are involved in drug activities and refuse to do so, but
it may very well be that they have a wonderful heart and are trying
to assist them in their rehabilitation. I know that there are property
owners caught for fire safety violations and they may just have "forgotten"
that they have code requirements. How's that, better???
NANCY OSTERMAN (6/27/06)
Good evening I tried to sit back without speaking up but I can't. So here it is:
Mr Repke, Say all you feel you need to ebout me if that makes you feel better. Yes I am in recovery and doing very well thank you. Guess what though I still have my memory too! If I recall you are also in recovery maybe you don't remember things in your using days but thats your own issues. Don't say I don't know what was said to me or threatened upon me because I remember very clearly, I keep very good notes and pictures of everything including a purchase offer.
Also why don't you post everything you have to say instead of the nasty personal e-mail,which I have forwarded to several and they also thought your e-mails were of very poor taste. As for my house, I bought it on a contract for deed from my mother 25 years ago with 10% interest if you need all the details and I am still making payments to her on that house because its not her fault what happened and I don't take from people. When I was forced to sell and threatened.
As I have said before I am willing to take a polygraph test to the fact that Steve Magner sent someone to my home and they left a purchase offer for $40,000. Magner then said if I did not sell to that person I would be looking at a hole in the ground and guess what I am.
Enough arguing with you, God didn't put me here for that. You have a right to believe whatever you would like to believe, some of us know the truth and thats all that matters. My home is just a material item anyway. My life doesn't revolve around money like yours. I have my children and healthy clean lifestyle. Thats far more important to me than anything nasty you have to say about me.
Have a wonderful day I will!
WILLIAM MCGAUGHEY (6/28/06)
I don't know if what Nancy Osterman says happened to her after the cops kicked her out of home is true or not. I wasn't there.
Chuck Repke, who also wasn't there, is absolutely sure that Osterman is telling a lie on the basis of the x-ray vision he acquired during his umpteen years as a correction officer.
I have met Osterman several times, and she strikes me as a down-to earth person who tells it like it is. She doesn't try to hide mistakes she has made in the past. She admits them and moves on. I don't consider her a victim. Yes, she had some bad experiences both with drug addiction and with out-of-control inspectors and police; but she has moved on to become the manager of an apartment complex in Ham Lake, who is building a new house for herself and family in Isanti County. Thankfully, she also has enough civic duty to go public about what happened to her in St. Paul so that people there will know what kind of government they have.
Osterman was upset that St. Paul police barged into her house and pointed loaded guns at her children. Who wouldn't be? Do you know what Repke's take on this is? He tried to shame her for having been addicted to drugs. He wrote Osterman privately: "You put those kids in that situation! You might as well loaded the guns for the cops!"
Bill Dahn made a good point about who is telling the truth when he reminded us that city officials had fed a bogus story to the Pioneer Press to the effect that the house at 14 E. Jessamine was being held up by a single tilting hydraulic jack. A whole bunch of us took a look at the foundation before the house was demolished and saw for ourselves that this wasn't true.
You can get a sense of Chuck Repke's truthfulness from his characterizations of my statements in earlier postings. He wrote, for example: " McGaughey attempts to link the treatment of landlords to the treatment of the Jews in Nazis Germany." If you scroll up to my messages, you will not find any such statement in what I have written.
Again, Repke suggests that I was arguing that there was a "grand conspiracy to wipe out all of the landlords in Saint Paul." Did I write this or was it another example of Repke's loose-with-the-facts sarcasm? Feeling both sorry for himself and a sense of grandiosity, he accuses me of "paranoia" for challenging the anti-landlord propaganda he spreads. Repke writes: "Who in the heck do they think I am? I'm a staff person for a district council on the East Side folks. I only wish Chuck Repke had the power McGaughey dreams I have."
No, I have no illusions that Repke by himself has much power to ruin landlords or homeowners. But the mayor and city council, aided by inspectors and police, sure do. If you have any doubts about the lengths to which some people in power will go to acquire private property without paying for it, again read the case histories posted at http://www.goldparty.org/landlordpolitics.html.
No, Chuck Repke isn't the mayor. No, he doesn't sit on the St. Paul city council. To use the Nazi analogy, I would compare him with one of Dr. Goebbel's more enthusiastic volunteers.
FORUM MODERATOR (6/29/06)
Bill and Chuck -- This back-and-forth discussion is an absolute violation of the rules:
4. Be Civil - No insults, name calling or inflamed speech. Personal one-on-one arguments, disagreements or personality conflicts are not appropriate on the public discussion forum. The Forum Manager shall provide guidance to participants on what is appropriate and what is not allowed. Attempts at humor or sarcasm should be labeled ... ;-), :-), etc.
Please end this now and let it go. Another post where you're directly addressing one another (or continuing to address this particular exchange on the forum) will result in a formal warning.
Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks.