Bluestem has to hand it to state representative Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg. Nothing slips past the man.
Take Governor Mark Dayton's widely reported remarks about the prison during a March 23, 2016 press conference. Minnesota Public Radio covered them. In March. The West Central Tribune/ Forum Communications covered them. In March. There's more, but Bluestem's readers will get the drift.
On Saturday, August 27, 2016--more than five months later--Tom Cherveny reports in the West Central Tribune article, Governor to receive invite to tour Appleton prison:
An invitation will be on its way to Gov. Mark Dayton to tour the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton.
Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, is asking the governor to tour the shuttered prison after hearing recent news reports that the governor is opposed to purchasing the facility.
Miller said he is particularly concerned about a statement attributed to the governor in news reports in March. Dayton expressed concerns at the time that the privately owned prison needed rehabilitation.
Bluestem thinks it's encouraging that Representative Miller has noticed that Dayton isn't interested in purchasing the prison and hasn't been since his chief of staff met with CCA lobbyist(s) at their request sometime before the March 23 press conference.
Miller had nearly the whole session to bring up his objections to the governor's office, but waits until now to run to the West Central Tribune with his concerns. You'd think he'd get this work done during the session, but we suppose that's too old school for Miller and the rest of his caucus.
But Miller still told the public that some deal was in the works throughout the summer. After all, back at the beginning of July, the first-term Prinsburg Republican lawmaker was telling Appleton residents that a $99 million offer to sell was on the table.
And that there was a bargaining table.
Cherveny reported in 'Appleton option' to reopen western Minn. private prison stays the course:
Miller said the opposition continued to ignore the fact that the corporation had offered the state an option to purchase or lease to own, and that the state would have operated the prison with union employees.
Corrections Corporation of America had offered to lease the facility for $6 million to $8 million a year, and to sell it for $99 million. The lease payments could be used toward the purchase price, according to Miller.
Appleton attorney Brian Wojtalewicz questioned the $99 million purchase price when Corrections Corporation of America is paying property taxes based on a $15 million value. Miller said that's the offer the corporation put on the table. Negotiations between the state and the company are not in the Legislature's hands.
Now Miller notices that his talking point was vapor, so he's trying to schedule the Governor's time for him, according the latest spin dropping from Miller's mouth:
Miller said he is hoping Gov. Dayton will take advantage of either of two upcoming visits to the area to tour the facility. The governor be in the Watson and Montevideo area for the Governor's Pheasant Opener on Oct. 15. The governor is also visiting all 87 counties in coming months.
What other needs that the legislature didn't get around to resolving during the session does the King of Minnesota want to introduce into the governor's calendar?
Cherveny reports on the reaction to Miller's demand:
Dayton's press secretary, Sam Fettig, said Friday that the governor's focus, along with Department of Corrections Commissioner Tom Roy, has been "to resolve our prison overcrowding with existing facilities, but it is a strategy which can be reviewed by the next Legislature."
Dawdling over approving untested blaze pink for deer hunters, fretting about where transgender people pee and other such time-suckers during session has its consequences.
For a detailed look at how much the prison--much of which is a modular addition snapped together by CCA after its purchase of the facility after Appleton defaulted on its payments--check out our earlier post, Minnesota isn't negotiating to buy CCA's Prairie Correctional Facility. What's it worth, anyway?
Image: Quick Draw McGraw.
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