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NOTEWORTHY SCANDALS

William B. Woodward, 7th Ward Alderman

Woodward enjoyed relaxed ethical standards. Among his misdeeds, let two suffice. On Oct. 31, 1896, Woodward bribed a church officer. He proposed to the treasurer of Oliver Presbyterian Church, at 27th & Bloomington, that a city assessment against church property could be annulled if Woody were re-elected. In conversation he produced a check to help the church meet its other obligations. When a church member heard of this transaction, he told the church leaders, and the Trustees ordered the Treasurer to return the check to Woodward.

His last crooked deed while alderman? His shady pals on the Council appointed Woodward treasurer of their group. They arranged that candidates for alderman should agree to join the "combine" after election, or be told they'd never get the nomination. The "combine" brought in $3500, and after the election, Woodward ran off with the kitty. He was reported to be out East, shopping for carriages with which to open a carriage dealership. On Jan. 30, 1897, the papers reported that Woodward was in Veracruz, in Mexico, relaxing at the coffee plantation of ex-Alderman George Flanders.

Arne Carlson, 12th Ward Alderman

On July 16, 1965, Hennepin County District Judge Luther Sletten removed Arne Carlson from his seat on the City Council. During his campaign for alderman, Carlson showed voters a seemingly authentic tax statement. This document had the effect of implying that Dick Franson, Carlson's opponent, sought to raise taxes on lots in the Ward (taxing 40-foot lots $200). Judge Sletten ruled that Carlson's fake tax sheet violated the state's Corrupt Practices Act.

While awaiting the Minnesota Supreme Court's ruling on his case, Carlson tried in vain to take his seat on the Council. Council President Glenn Olson seated him twice, at least, but the Liberal members walked out of the meeting. Without the Liberals a quorum was wanting and no business could be done.

At last, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the papers served on Carlson for the violation were not served within the time prescribed by the Act. His election stood.

Carlson didn't run for re-election in 1967, but won a seat in the Legislature instead. He served as Governor from 1991 to 1999.

Judy Corrao, Wandering Alderman

In 1978, 10 of the aldermen of the City of Minneapolis spent $22,000 on trips. All 10 billed the City for expenses, as aldermen have the right to do when on City business. Judy Corrao was one of the peripatetics, and she became the focus of community displeasure when the Mpls Tribune reported that she overcharged the City $374 for her trips. Among the items she billed the City for:

  • $30 for mileage when she rode with another alderman;
  • $25 per diem for a day she didn't travel;

Corrao maintained that these lapses occurred because she didn't pay attention as closely as she should have to the papers her aide gave her to sign. When these irregularities came to the public's attention, Corrao paid most of the $374 back.

In June of 1981, Alderman Corrao failed to win the endorsement of her fellow DFLers at the convention in her Ward. In the September primary, she was defeated by a former supporter, Kathy O'Brien. O'Brien succeeded Corrao as Alderman of the 2nd Ward of Minneapolis.

— Neal Baxter

Highwood Press — Minneapolis, MN — (612) 872-9156

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