Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tom Emmer, Class Act

The StarTribune's Pat Doyle published an article yesterday entitled "Emmer's feisty spirit fuels legal fights." That's putting it as graciously as possible given the content of the article. I would have gone with "Emmer's douchy nature fuels frivolous legal fights," or more simply "Tom Emmer, giant asshole." But whatever, let's get to the good stuff.
Tony Poppler, 35, of Corcoran, runs a small landscaping business that was hired by Emmer's wife, Jacquie, in 2006 to grade land, build a rock wall, dig a trench and replace rocky soil at Emmer's Delano home. Jacquie Emmer later added excavation for a hockey rink and garden.

There was no formal, written contract. When he finished the work, Poppler sent Emmer a bill for $3,237, which included removal of 18 truckloads of soil.

Emmer gave him $2,000 and said in his statement that the landscaper "overcharged for work."

When Poppler took Emmer to small claims court to recover the remaining $1,237, Emmer sought $3,600 in attorney's fees for his time in small claims court.
You should see the contracts that our clients have to sign and it's because of assholes like Tom Emmer that we need them. There are caveats in our contract that if you saw, you would think to yourself "well, no one could be that bad." Yes they can, and this is a perfect example. Tom Emmer had a contractor come to his house to do work and then he decided that the contractor was charging too much so he only paid what he thought he owed, no explanation of what he believed he was overcharged for, just that he was overcharged.

Not only that, he then turns around and tries to collect attorney's fees for more than the entire landscaping project. In Tom Emmer's world small claims court attorney's fees > the cost to grade land, build a rock wall, dig a trench, replace rocky soil and excavation for a hockey rink and garden.

One has to wonder if this is how Tom Emmer is planning on balancing the state's budget, by stiffing contractors and paying expensive lawyers to deal with it. But it gets worse.
Emmer took his appeal to District Court, where his lawyer argued that he wasn't responsible for the landscaping bill because his wife had initiated and modified the job.

Earlier, Mottl had disagreed with that notion. "She essentially did so as her husband's agent," she wrote.

But District Judge Dale Mossey ruled that Emmer was not responsible for his wife's actions. Poppler said Jacquie Emmer has not paid the $1,237.

He said he's considering suing her, but he is concerned about attorney's fees.
So one judge rules against Emmer and he appeals, arguing that he's not responsible his wife is. He blamed it on his wife. I don't doubt that she's the one who made the actual requests for more work, but essentially what Tom Emmer is saying is that they are not really partners in life, he has his own life and she has hers and he's not responsible for the bills when his wife tells the contractor to "excavate for a hockey rink and garden." What's funny is that earlier in the article, when discussing another of Tom's many legal disputes over the years there is this nugget.
McElroy wouldn't comment on the deal, but her husband said she maintains her innocence and wants to avoid more legal fees.

"It cost me an arm and a leg," said Todd McElroy.
Patricia Anne Thomson McElroy was charged by Tom Emmer with stealing $7,901. The case was settled with an order of repayment and a letter of apology. Todd McElroy didn't throw his wife under the bus, he didn't pass it off as her problem, he paid Emmer $14,146 and moved on. Tom Emmer threw his wife under the bus for $1,237. I mean, really Tom? Really? Really?
Emmer concluded in his written statement that "the billing dispute was presented to the court and properly resolved."
Has it been resolved Tom? Has the $1,237 been paid? Are you going to keep blaming your wife or will you man up and pay your bills?

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