Republican House candidate slams Allen for ‘enriching’ billionaire Vikings owners, even though she voted against stadium deal

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September 28, 2012 by Sarah M

By Nick Halter

Tom Johnson III is taking Susan Allen (DFL-62B) to task for working to “ further enrich the billionaire owners of the Minnesota Vikings.”

The only problem with the GOP-endorsed candidate’s attack? Susan Allen voted against the $975 million Vikings stadium deal in May.

Johnson III, 33, of the Tangletown neighborhood, posted the claim to his campaign’s Facebook page on Sept. 18. He admitted Thursday it was “kind of a stretch.”

Johnson maintains that the meat of his message — that Allen campaigned against expanded gambling while later supporting expanded gambling at Canterbury Park – is still true and provides an example of Allen’s “hypocrisy.”

Johnson is running against Allen for the House District 62B seat on Nov. 6. That district includes the neighborhoods of Lyndale, Kingfield, Tangletown, Bryant and Central, among others.

Below is part of the transcript from my interview with Johnson on Sept. 27 in which we discuss the Facebook post. I had originally called Johnson to get some basic information about his campaign for our Oct. 15 voter guide, but we ended up delving into his Facebook post.

Note: The expanded gambling vote that Johnson was referring to is House File 2795, which increases the number of card tables at Canterbury Park and Running Aces Harness Park. It also increased the maximum poker bets from $60 to $100. Allen voted in favor of that bill, which was signed by the governor. Allen did not respond to a voice message left Friday morning.

You do understand that Susan Allen voted against the stadium deal, right?

I do.

How did she enrich the billionaires of the Minnesota Vikings?

Did you watch the video?

I have not watched the video yet, no.

If you watch the video, when you click on the link, she says in there that expanded gambling is a terrible idea because it hurts poor people. Expanded gambling is a regressive tax and it you know, it would uh, well you can kind of quote her on there. Then she votes to expand gambling. She expands gambling. I haven’t asked her why she voted to expand gambling when she campaigned on the idea that she wouldn’t do that because it would hurt poor people, but I would assume it would be to collect more tax revenue to pay for things such as a stadium.

If you’re talking about her vote to allow (expanded gambling) at Canterbury, that has nothing to do with the Vikings stadium. The Vikings stadium revenue will come from an e-pulltabs game that was voted on as part of the Vikings stadium package. She voted against that.

Yup. She voted against that, but where do you think those tax monies are going? They’re going to the state.

The tax money that you’re speaking of, are you talking about electronic pull-tabs?

That won’t pay for the whole stadium. That will pay for a small portion of it. The state’s on the hook for a large portion of it. So any money that I pay in property taxes, any money that goes to the general fund, is going to be paying for the stadium.”

So you think there’s going to be a shortfall for the e-pull-tabs?

Yes.

Here’s my question. How did she, if she voted against the stadium, how is she the one who is expanding gambling for a billionaire owner? I understand what you’re saying with expanded gambling, and the critique of her for that is fine. But I don’t see how she did something to benefit Zygi Wilf when she voted against the Vikings stadium deal.

I understand your confusion. I understand it’s kind of a stretch. Any money that goes to the general fund is going to pay for the stadium. This is part of the general attack on civil liberties and on people that all these monies going to the general fund are going to these things that benefit certain people and not individuals.

But I don’t see how she supported a billionaire owner of a Vikings stadium.

If anybody raises taxes, they’re supporting a Vikings stadium.

Anybody who raised taxes? What taxes did she raise?

Any taxes.

But what taxes did she raise?

I haven’t looked into that. I know she voted to expand gambling, right?

She voted in favor of a deal between Canterbury and Mystic Lake Casino so that they could put slots (at the horse track) that benefit the casino. (Note: This was a mistake on my part. Her vote was for more poker tables and higher bets at Canterbury. The Legislature did not approve more slot machines at Canterbury)

And the state will get their hands in there too, right? Collect revenue from the deal.

I’m not sure of that, but I don’t see how that money goes to Zygi Wilf.

When I pay my property taxes they go to Zygi Wilf. The state’s on the hook and the city’s on the hook. Anyone who is paying taxes is paying Zygi Wilf.

So any kind of revenue that the state generates benefits Zygi Wilf?

Yes.

So any person in the history of the Legislature who has voted for any kind of revenue increase has voted for Zygi Wilf then, essentially?

I agree 100 percent.

So any fee that was created over the last several years, that’s all for Zygi Wilf?

You could make that case. Why couldn’t you make that case?

It seems like a bit of a stretch, because then any dollar that goes to revenue goes to Zygi Wilf. So you’re already assuming there is going to be a shortfall from pull-tabs

I think anyone who has run the numbers knows that.

Not the gambling commission.

The gambling commission?

The state gambling board said they thought it would cover.

What do you think?

I’m not an accountant, so I have no idea what’s going cover what. But I guess, though, it seems that what your Facebook message is implying is that Susan Allen voted in favor of the Vikings stadium deal. That’s kind of the way most people would read it.

Yeah. You know how Mitt Romney says Obama voted to take the work for welfare thing out, and it happens to be Republicans looking for a waiver … I recognize that it’s a, sort of a …. the thing I am pointing out is the hypocrisy. If you click on the link, you can see she, to me, is going to play favorites, whoever it’s the Vikings or the Indians or whatever. If she says one thing and does another, that needs to be exposed. Does that make sense to you?

I do understand the first part of your critique of her. That is more logical. It just seems as though it’s a lie to say she’s the one supporting billionaire owners of the Vikings. I don’t have an issue with the first half. I guess it just seems like misinformation.

But I totally believe my property taxes are going to Zygi Wilf’s stadium.

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2 thoughts on “Republican House candidate slams Allen for ‘enriching’ billionaire Vikings owners, even though she voted against stadium deal

  1. Summary:
    1) I was called under the premise that I would be asked a few quick questions for a bio
    2) I was attacked with a long series of questions about facebook
    3) This was secretly recorded
    4) The above is an edited transcript

    Clarification:
    1) Susan Allen bears responsibility for Vikings funding when she earlier promoted it for race-track funding.
    2) Mr. Halter agrees that it is logical to represent Ms. Allen as a hypocrite.

    Conclusion:
    I’m not a lawyer or career politician. I’m a nurse and I usually trust people. It wasn’t too hard to get me to look stupid with a secretly recorded attack on my beliefs. I am on the ballot because no other republican was willing to be subjected to this kinda prejudice from the community. I would expect more from Mr. Halter and the Southwest Journal. A secret attack on the republican challenger is not an objective look at the incumbent democrat’s hypocrisy. I think it would be a great disservice to our community if this issue were left to only one “hit” piece.

  2. […] week, Tom Johnson III criticized state Rep. Susan Allen for voting to expand gambling during the 2012 legislative session, even after she said she opposed […]

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