Friday, January 28, 2011

Hennepin County Pamiko Court Documents, Round 1

Post and photo by the Hawthorne Hawkman. 

After trekking to downtown St. Paul and finding virtually nothing in Minnwest's Ramsey County civil case against Pamiko, I expected much of the same here in Minneapolis.  Boy, was I wrong.  The Hennepin County case has three file folders marked as full.  (Hennepin rules prohibit the photographing of actual court documents, but the folders and stop markers are fair game.  The other rule in play here is they only allow five documents to be copied at a time.  More than five and you have to fill out a work request and then it takes a week to get done.  Got to love bureaucracy.)

Now, because of the sheer volume of documents and the aforementioned rule, I picked five docs from the first file that seemed pertinent.  We'll be playing catch-up as I'm able to obtain and review the documents.  For instance, I can already tell you that Minnwest's temporary restraining order was denied, although I didn't read the denial to find out specifics yet.  And in another filing, the plaintiffs eviscerate the Koenigs' maneuverings of properties between LLC's during the foreclosure process.  I cannot WAIT to sink my teeth into that one.

The Complaint lists Minnwest Bank Metro as the Plaintiff, and the following defendants:  Komo Group LLC, Kaizen Property Solutions LLC, Paul Koenig, Aaron Durkop, and Mary Durkop.  Komo Group LLC had its office or at least a mailbox at 8632 Tamarack Village in Woodbury, the same address as Pamiko.  The Complaint states, "Upon information and belief, Koenig is the sole member and chief manager of Komo."  Kaizen Property Solutions sounded awfully familiar to me.  Why does that name ring a bell?  Oh, NOW I remember...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Two Green Housing Opportunites - One Close to Home, Another Across the Country

Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman.  Top image from an email attachment from Henry High, bottom video from The Greenest Building Movie Blog.

First up:  A community member who knows how I feel about replacement windows asked me to promote an upcoming class about how to properly refurbish and repair windows (and how to determine if replacement is ultimately necessary).  Here is his email.

"It’s that time again. HCE is again offering their Window Repair class on Monday, February 7th from 6:30 to 8:30 PM for the low, low cost of only $15. This class, meeting at Patrick Henry, is just one of the ways MPS serves Northsiders, even those without children. In it, Northsiders will learn do it yourself techniques to repair drafty old windows and get up to date information on the cost effectiveness of repairing, retrofitting and replacing old windows. Registrants can expect to learn about stopping air infiltration, repairing sash cords, reglazing and double glazing and painting, as well as answers to any questions they bring with them.

"Registration can be done at, or by calling the HCE office at 612-668-1922.  More information can be found on our website or the HCE blog."  So, readers, if you or anyone you know needs to address window repairs, check out this seminar first.

Many of my friends and neighbors have often wondered what the true environmental impact of demolishing a house is.  It's often been said that "the greenest building is the one that's already built" specifically because it avoids the cost of putting tons of waste into a landfill, and creating and shipping new materials.  We've gotten perhaps a little overly excited when LEED considered incorporating such factors in their green designations.  But we hadn't found anyone who had taken a good, hard look at this issue.  Until now.

The Greenest Building Movie is a Portland, Oregon project with a blog and - you guessed it - a movie that will premiere on January 31, 2011.  PBS is expected to air the movie in April of this year as well.  I am absolutely thrilled to see preservation being touted as a fundamental element of green construction, and I am just giddy with anticipation for this movie.

Fremont Gas Station (Hopefully) to Get an Upgrade

The design proposal will fix the sign...
...and add more windows.
Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman

When I heard that the gas station with no name had a new proposal for its redesign, I admit to being skeptical.  After all, the previous design change converted the unused car wash into a fast food joint with a drive-through that would use a public alley as an exit point along a one-way street with limited visibility.  On top of not needing more fast food along Broadway, the drive-through proposal was both dangerous and out of line with city planning on multiple levels.

However, the architect working with the Fremont gas station is the same one who helped with the Dream Home makeover, and I'm glad to see someone take on challenges like this.  It should be noted that the changes are merely proposed, and are contingent on funding and getting the necessary community and city approval.  Also, don't be disheartened by the drabness of the pictures above.  That's WHY changes are being proposed.  Finally, I forgot some of my own experience with how emotional people get about colors, and my first reaction was that the gray made me think of a prison.  The color scheme is not finalized, so don't react to that at all; just focus on the layout.

The has some of these schematics loaded up in a more visually accessible way than I'm able to do on Blogger, so readers can either click on that link or see the pdf files on Google docs:

3-D angle one
3-D angle two
3-D angle three
site plan
south elevation
west elevation

Since an email mentioned that there was a binder on site, I went inside the gas station for the first time, and...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Airing Pamiko's St. Paul Dirty Laundry

Pictured above:  The only Ramsey County property confirmed so far as owned by Koenig and financed in part by MinnWest.

Image originally from the Koenigs' blog, republished under First Amendment comment and criticism
Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman, photos originally published on Johnny Northside.

One of the two lawsuits against Paul and Michelle Koenig and Pamiko has been tracked down.  I went to St. Paul first since that would be the harder set of documents to obtain.  I'd love to publish every scrap of paper associated with this suit, but Ramsey County doesn't make it cheap to obtain court documents.  So the following links get you the most telling aspects of the case thus far:

Pamiko Register of Actions, Ramsey County
Pamiko Summons, Ramsey County
Pamiko Scheduling Order, Ramsey County

What these documents tell us, so far, isn't much.  Although there was another item wherein the attorneys for Minnwest attempted to go the direction of mediation as ordered by the judge, and were stonewalled by the Koenigs and their attorney.  As far as the summons and scheduling order go, the most important parts of those documents say...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

NXNS Exclusive! Paul Koenig Sued by Minnwest Bank!

This guy, going up against...
Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman, first photo from Johnny Northside, second photo from

Last year, when the City Pages and Star Tribune simultaneously published stories on Paul Koenig (pronounced Kay-neg) Comeuppance Day, we wondered when (not if) the Koenigs would be sued.  A source close to one of their many, many creditors said rather ominously, "Just watch the courts."  Well, NoMi bloggers have been doing just that.  For whatever reason, these cases filed in mid-2010 didn't show up on any of our searches until just now.  But the Koenigs and a host of others are now subject to multiple lawsuits from Minnwest Bank.

Johnny Northside passed on to me the Register of Actions for both cases.  I won't have access to a vehicle to get to a scanner until tomorrow, so in lieu of pdf files, the text of each document is retyped after the jump...

Coffee with Paul Bertelson

Post and stock photo by the Hawthorne Hawkman.

Shortly after my first post about a property in poor condition formerly owned by Paul Bertelson, he called me up and asked if we could meet for coffee to talk things over.  I immediately agreed.  My goal in writing about problem properties and/or their owners is to change whether problems of crime or blight occur at these properties.  If that can happen through a constructive dialogue with landlords, so much the better.  And if not, then NoMi neighbors and bloggers shouldn't pull any punches about the extent of any problems we're seeing.

With that in mind, Paul and I first talked about...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Tanzania Portrait Framed by the Goddess of Glass!

Post and photo by the Hawthorne Hawkman

So the highlight of my trip to Tanzania this summer was visiting the historic housing district of Stone Town on the island of Zanzibar. The painting above was the one souvenir item that spoke to me and said, "Jeff Skrenes, you and I belong together."

Even bringing something this large back home was a challenge (although not as difficult as getting hula hoops past customs in Arusha). Once I had it here though, I began to look for a local place where I could get this framed. Connie Beckers, the Goddess of Glass, came through, with quality work at a great price. And I'm told that the person who did the framing is also a NoMi resident. Thanks Connie! You have a very satisfied customer here at NXNS.

(Editorial note: this post was done on the fly using only my new phone. Hyperlinks may be added later.)
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Photos from a Shooting at a Bertelson Property

Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman, contributed photos.

After the post about the interior of a former Bertelson property, another NoMi resident sent me photos from a shooting that happened at 2815 Humboldt Ave N over the summer.  The address in question was and still is operated by Paul Bertelson.  Given the nature of these photographs, I had debated whether to publish them here or not.  They aren't graphic in any way, just sensitive.  But then another Hawthorne resident told me about problems on the 300 block of 23rd Ave N due to the behavior of tenants at two properties managed by this landlord, and I started to reconsider.  After all, parents should be able to let their kids walk home from the school bus without undue worry.  And the last straw was reading over on JNS about yet another shooting at a party (this one at a house NOT managed by Bertelson or Mission Inn).  And I thought that I'd rather keep such things on the front burner for a while so that we as a community don't forget what can happen at a poorly managed rental property.

Also, I really wanted to be wrong about Bertelson and Mission Inn Inc.  Like many a slumlord, he presents himself well and is well-spoken.  He had the guts to show up at block club meetings to discuss property and tenant concerns with the neighbors, and even appears to have responded directly to comments over on JNS (and I hope he still does those things).  He's involved in religious activities, and appeared to genuinely want to do right by the neighborhood.  But I've said it before and I'll say it again; being a nice guy and wanting to do the right thing aren't enough, and if landlords are contributing to problems in our neighborhood, we'll call them out on it.

Now, about the rest of those photos...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Inside a (Former) Bertleson Property

Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman

In the midst of chronicling the downfall of Paul Koenig and the vast empires of slumminess run by the likes of Khan and Moghul, some NoMi residents suggested that John Hoff and I take a look at a landlord by the name of Paul Bertelson (who also owns properties under a quasi-religious entity called Mission Inn Incorporated, and sits on the board of an organization called YouthWorks, whose website boasts of previous involvement with Urban Homeworks).  Bertelson at the time owned maybe two dozen properties that we knew of, and I drove around to examine the exteriors.  They didn't seem to rise to the same level of blight as other problem landlords, so blogging efforts were focused elsewhere.  (Although Bertelson did get "Jerk du Jour" honors over on Irving Inquisition)

Not long after that, we'd heard of tenants at a Bertelson property on the block who had serious problems with the electrical systems and other basic aspects of a house that you'd think would be up to snuff if there were a rental license.  Neighbors called the city and county and were assured that the issues would be addressed.  To his credit, Bertlelson even came to a few block club meetings in south Hawthorne this summer.  (Simply showing up to a meeting doesn't grant slumlords neighborhood or blogging immunity; just ask Mahmood Khan and McKinley.  But it's a step above Stephen Meldahl, that's for sure.)

Bertelson put on a good show for the Hawthornites, and people seemed somewhat satisfied with--although wary of--his responses to our concerns.  After seeing the interior of this house, a property once owned by Bertelson or his LLC and now lost to foreclosure, it may be time to rethink that stance.  Upon entering the house, one immediately sees...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Changes to LEED Certification Promote Preservation!

LEED-certified new construction

Rehab in process, exact certification not yet determined.
Post and second photo by the Hawthorne Hawkman.  First photo from

Regarding that title, I'll admit I'm one of the few people who would deem something that wonkish to be worthy of an exclamation point.  Still, this is a potential game-changer for how "green" housing development is viewed.  Among other preservationist friends, we've often lamented that many green standards for construction fail to take into account the environmental costs of a demolition putting tons of waste into a landfill, or the energy costs of creating new (or recycled/reused) raw material, transporting it, and building anew.  This isn't to devalue groundbreaking new kinds of construction such as what was used in the first LEED-certified home built in the Hawthorne EcoVillage (top photo).  Instead, we wondered how green construction might be evaluated when taking such things into consideration.

Thanks to some proposed changes by the US Green Building Council, it looks like things are heading in that direction.  These changes are only proposed at this time, and there is an initial public comment period through January 14, 2011.  Click here to submit comments you might have.  The most important change has to do with giving credit for the preservation of historic buildings.  Tell the USGBC that you absolutely LOVE this credit.  And it gets better!  According to the Preservation Nation website, there is a credit "directly encouraging users to save historic windows and they are specifically looking for feedback that confirms this is a good thing."  (emphasis mine, but I feel rather strongly about this issue)

The new LEED standards do need some tweaking though.  For instance...