Mayor Ness Accused of Illegal Robo Calls

By KBJR News 1

November 10, 2011 Updated Nov 10, 2011 at 8:12 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northlands NewsCenter) -- Newly elected fourth District Duluth City Council Member Garry Krause is accusing Duluth Mayor Don Ness of illegal robo– calling.

This is a part of the voice mail from Tuesday morning.

"Morning, this is Mayor Don Ness with a reminder to vote today. Please vote yes on the Parks referendum. Our parks are in desperate need of attention and this vote will make a difference. I also hope that you'll support me in voting for Jackie Halberg for city council. Jackie's been an outstanding city councilor. Smart, hardworking, and a strong advocate for the neighborhoods in our district."

This is the message some Duluth residents received last Tuesday. It went on to say more about Halberg and delayed five seconds later with a tag out stating the funding of the message. It was a message from Duluth Mayor Don Ness urging constituents to support the measure and candidate of his choice, at the polls.

Now, fourth District Councilor elect Garry Krause says those calls were illegal. Mayor Ness says he doesn't know the law.

"I don't know the law. All I know is that it was a Minnesota company, They do it every election cycle. They understand how to adhere to the law and they've done it hundreds of times before and this time isn't any different."

Garry Krause didn't answer that phone call last Tuesday but said he heard it later as a voice mail. Krause and Ness will be working side by side for the city now, but Krause says everyone should follow the rules.

"It's just simply the fact that the law is the law. No one is above the law. I'm not disgruntled, I'm not mad. I'm just a real firm believer that we should hold up to the same rules and regulations. I could have done that, but I knew it was against the law so I chose not to."

Mayor Ness isn't concerned about the allegations and trusts that the St. Cloud call center acted within the law.

There's nothing unusual about these reminder calls to encourage people to get out the vote. So why Garry is making an issue of it right now, especially in light of the fact that he won? You know, what's the point?

Krause believes his business relationship with the mayor will not be a problem in city leadership.

The Minnesota Attorney generals office will be looking into Krause's allegation. If they find illegal activity in robo calling they can fine up to 25,000 dollars.

Jordan Weinand