Would you borrow your car to this guy?

Well, it took long enough to get this story out, but I am at least grateful it finally did;

Mayor Mike Huether’s investment in a private real estate development in southeastern Sioux Falls has raised concerns of a citizen group fighting against a similar proposal because of ties between organizers of both deals.

Huether confirmed this week he is one of 38 limited-partner investors in an existing apartment complex called The Villas at Canyon Creek on East 54th Street.

But it’s a separate apartment complex planned at 85th Street and Western Avenue — in which Huether does not have a financial interest — that brought the mayor’s investments into the public eye.

As South DaCola reported back in May of 2012, the mayor has been participating in questionable development projects for quite awhile (2011);

As you may or may not know, Mike is an investor in many projects around the city (or should we say, his wife is – LOL). The speculation is that she is an investor in many of these kinds projects around town. No biggee, except, maybe the mayor should have excused himself from this vote (or supervising the vote), which he did not.

The running joke around city hall was after the meeting he was asking people if what he did was proper. It is kinda like asking if peeing your pants is okay.

UPDATE: HE DID HOWEVER COME TO HIS SENSES BEFORE THE CITY SIGNED OFF ON THE TIF (This document shows Cotter signing off on the project FOR the mayor): TIF 11

Do you think it is proper for the mayor to be investing in development projects around town? Better yet, do you think it is proper for these developments to be asking for TIF’s?

It is also no secret, as I have been told by former city employees, that Huether has asked developers in developer/planning meetings at city hall about ‘getting in on investing’ in their proposed projects. Not outside in the back alley of city hall, IN CITY HALL, in front of city planning employees.

No surprise that Huether feels no guilt or shame;

Huether likened his role in Canyon Creek to buying shares in any other investment. And he said that elected officials, including city councilors, governors, county commissioners and mayors, should be able to invest their money.

“Come on, you’re telling me that Mayor (Dave) Munson, Mayor (Gary) Hanson, Mayor (Rick) Knobe — mayors before me — never invested in things?” he said.

If they did make investments, it wasn’t in real estate, say the three former mayors cited by Huether.

Sorry Mike, there is a difference between investing in stocks and other money market investments and development in the city you manage. Who does the city planning department report to? YOU! This is why it is a bad idea, any way you look at it. But none of this comes as a surprise for a man who sold subprime credit cards as a living.

I warned you Sioux Falls about Huether, never trust a salesman. I liken electing Huether as mayor to hiring a gambling addict to manage your investments or borrowing your car to a demolition derby driver. Hopefully Sioux Falls will wise up before the mayoral election this Spring.

17 Thoughts on “So who does the City of SF Planning Department work for? ALL property owners and developers of SF? Or the mayor?

  1. I would be curious to know how many other developments Mike and Cindy have invested in around town. I would also be curious to know if other city employees are investors, like Darrin Smith?

  2. Now we see why Smith was so resistant to having investor names listed on TIF applications. Once again ‘follow the management flow chart’

  3. What you get with the whole “run government like a business” approach. Government is NOT a business – has a whole other set of rules and purposes.

  4. I just think MMM feels entitled to special treatment because he is making the public service ‘sacrifice’. He just doesn’t understand you have to actually make a ‘sacrifice’. Even though the over 100K a year isn’t exactly a sacrifice.

    I suggest he reads the book about ‘Hamilton’ who went into thousands of dollars in debt working for the government. Of course, it didn’t help that Hamilton was porking a prostitute and paying her husband pimp.

  5. But he wasn’t taking inside development deals either.

  6. Anonymous on December 15, 2013 at 2:11 pm said:

    The minute you hear MMM say, “Come on……”

    As in, “Come on, you’re telling me that Mayor (Dave) Munson, Mayor (Gary) Hanson, Mayor (Rick) Knobe — mayors before me — never invested in things?”

    You know you’ve touched a button and he is on the defensive!

    Just how many “deals” have Mike and Cindy Huether become financially involved in since he was elected Mayor in 2010?

    I would like know this before I cast my vote for mayor in April 2014. The Mayor has spoken publicly on many occasions about his belief in transparency.

    Now is his opportunity to be transparent by revealing all investments in a private real estate development both he AND

  7. Anonymous on December 15, 2013 at 2:12 pm said:

    his wife have been involved in since April 2010.

  8. Nature Lover on December 15, 2013 at 3:48 pm said:

    And to believe his claim that he sees no ethical problem with either his or his wife’s involvement in these questionable side investments! Just imagine the deals and side investments if this man were governor! I pray the people of SD are wiser than the Sioux Falls community was in 2010! I further pray the SF community is now alerted and informed so as to make a better choice in 2014!

  9. pathloss on December 15, 2013 at 5:08 pm said:

    Anyone running against Huether should provide 3 years tax returns & challenge him to do the same. There’s no competitive bids on city projects or from vendors. The side favor has made Huether a multimillionaire. He wasn’t apartments invested before he took office. When you control zoning & inspections there’s lots of shortcuts and inferior construction. Home Rule strong mayor has given Huether a dictator role that’s transformed city government into Kleptocracy.

  10. pathloss on December 15, 2013 at 5:15 pm said:

    His wife may not realize it but she’ll also do time in federal prison. Her time will be less. Her punishment will be having to work for a change in the prison laundry. Worse, there’s no tennis.

  11. Poor baby, no tennis.

  12. How about a law that makes city councilors and spouses publicly disclose investments into Sioux Falls properties or businesses which are not their primary residence?

  13. I’m not sure what is crazier… Huether running around investing in real estate projects that his own direct reports are responsible for approving, or some of Pathloss’s comments.

    It seems like a toss-up.

    LJL’s proposal for a disclosure law is a good start, although it would need to specify any interest whether minority or via a secondary corporation as well. Otherwise you just have people starting up LLCs that own small peices of these projects with no way to track it.

    The reality is we shouldn’t need to draft new laws – it should be common sense that a sitting mayor doesn’t invest in real estate that can be (or can be perceived) as a conflict of interest.

    As far as this being useful for someone running against him, I suppose that depends upon two factors. Number one – will the common voter care? This is the type of thing that gets a small number of people very upset, but I’ll be honest when I say I doubt it will resonate with the public and since the election is so far away, most will have forgot about this issue by the time they enter the voting booth.

    Second, at this time Huether’s leading challenger is Councilor Jamison, who has plenty of connections of his own to real estate investments so he might not be able to make an issue of this unless his own hands are clean.

    Word of advice for anyone wishing to run for local public office… if you need to invest, invest in the stock market or in property outside of the area you are running to represent. This really shouldn’t be that difficult to understand.

  14. Who is John Galt? on December 16, 2013 at 10:53 am said:

    I wonder if Huether owns land at 85th & Minnesota, by the Event Center, or by the Sanford Sports Complex, who would ever know, he won’t tell the Argus where he has other investments, plus, from Huether’s point of view what’s the big deal anyway I have the golden mayor ticket.

  15. Re: Craig’s investment advice – some opponent would likely make just as much an issue – and just as many people would “upset” about a candidate that doesn’t even invest in the community themselves. Seriously – most of these kinds of issues are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

  16. skybluesky on December 16, 2013 at 3:35 pm said:

    Yet another reason for the City to hire a professional local government manager. Not only de-politicizes the day to day decisions at City Hall, it also installs a code of professional ethics into the individual making the decisions.
    Tenet 12 of the ICMA Code of Ethics does not allow personal investment within the community you are employed.

  17. pathloss on December 16, 2013 at 4:55 pm said:

    Craig thinks I’m a nut for recognizing embezzlement. It’s finally coming out. Most don’t realize how bad it will be. I agree that a mayor doesn’t invest in real estate that could be a conflict of interest. It’s an ethics violation if not fraud.

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