Minneapolis requiring owners of businesses destroyed in riots to prepay taxes before getting permits to rebuild


MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Some might call this extortion.

The world turned upside down in Minneapolis when police officers arrested George Floyd.  Floyd died that day during that encounter with the officer who has since been fired and arrested for the death. 

The people flooded the streets and began to riot.  Members of Antifa and Black Lives Matter torched and looted and destroyed businesses.  Now, those business owners are trying to rebuild, the city has told them they cannot until they pay their 2020 property tax bill.

In yet another slap in the face, democratic leadership in Minneapolis has just hit a new low.  People who had their business and livelihoods destroyed by members of Black Lives Matter and Antifa are now forced to pay their 2020 tax bill before they can even demolition the rubble that was left behind. 

It is more frustrating because the leadership of that city allowed the riots to continue for as long as they did. 

Had they allowed their police or the national guard to act sooner, much of the destruction would have been averted. 

However, the council decided to play identity politics and blame everything on systemic racism and pushed to disband the police department altogether. 

So now business owners, who have already lost a countless amount of revenue from the stores being open, are forced to come up with property taxes before they can even purchase a permit to demo where their store once stood.  Don Blyly told the Star Tribune:

“Minneapolis has not been particularly friendly toward business for some time.  They say they want to be helpful, but they certainly have not been.” 

In true Minneapolis fashion, the city leaders blame their heartless stance on a state law which requires all taxes be paid until the removal of any debris can be done. 

However, Hennepin County has already informed the city that they will not be enforcing the law for businesses destroyed during the riot. 

Derrick Hodge is a manager at Hennepin County Property Tax Office and he has a much different opinion on the matter than Minneapolis. 

“We don’t feel like we have an ability to block these permits, and I don’t see why we would.  One of our missions in the county is to reduce disparities, and if we took action to block these permits, that would arguably be creating more disparities instead of reducing disparities.” 

Enabling the business owners the ability to begin demolition will save time and money, not to mention remove the danger presented by the standing rubble.  Demolition of property is not cheap, especially if it is a larger business.  According to the tribune, costs can range anywhere from $35,000 to as much as $400,000.   

Among the cost concern, there is also rising concern about the debris strung along the areas destroyed by the criminals. 

Basim Sabri, the owner of Karmel Mall, said he has filed numerous complaints with the city leaders for the last few weeks due to the safety hazards the rubble presents. 

Sabri said:

“You can’t just allow a bunch of rubble and hazardous material to sit in the middle of Lake Street.  People could get hurt.  Where are our City Council members?  What are they doing?  Have they seen it?”

Wondering where the city council is on the matter is a valid one.  After all, they were very vocal about their belief that there is systemic racism in policing, why are they not out trying to solve the problem with the demolitions so the business owners can go back to work? 

This issue seems to only be occurring in Minneapolis.

The neighboring city, St. Paul, has had little to no issues in issuing out permits without the tax requirement.  Suzanne Donovan, a spokeswoman for St Paul said that they are working to expedite the permitting process to “help accelerate construction that needs to take place to ensure commerce moves forward in St Paul.” 

Perhaps if Minneapolis works as hard at getting their business owners back to work as they did at defunding the police department, work may get done a little quicker. 

In July, the federal government denied a request from Minnesota Governor Tim Walz for federal funds to help rebuild and repair fire damage from the unrest following the death of George Floyd. 

Due to the extensive damage done to public infrastructure, on June 2nd, in a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Governor Walz asked President Trump to declare a “major disaster.”

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Walz’s spokesman, Teddy Tschann, confirmed that the request for federal aid had been denied, saying the governor is disappointed in the decision:

“The Governor is disappointed that the federal government declined his request for financial support.”

A preliminary assessment of the damage found more than $16 million worth of damages directly related to the fires that had been set during the protests.

According to Walz’s office, looting, fires, and vandalism damaged nearly 1,500 businesses and among the various public structures destroyed was a Minneapolis police station, which was a focus of the protests.

The federal funds would have been used to reimburse local governments for repairs and debris removal. 

In his disaster aid request, Governor Walz wrote that the current estimate of the total damage exceeds $500 million.  Reportedly, this is the second most destructive civil unrest incident in the United States history, after the 1992 riots in Los Angeles.

In a statement from the governor’s spokesman, Tschann said:

“As we navigate one of the most difficult periods on our state’s history, we look for support form our federal government to help us get through.”

Many small businesses and grocery stores, pharmacies, and post offices were damaged during the unrest. These businesses were ransacked, losing thousands of dollars in stolen merchandise and many were looted repeatedly over consecutive nights. Other property, like gas stations, restaurants, and even parked cars were set on fire, with much of it completely destroyed.

Already on the ropes from months of lost revenue during a global pandemic, some of these businesses may never reopen as others are still temporarily closed or indefinitely closed. 

On Thursday, Republican Minnesota U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer sent a letter to Trump in response to Walz’s aid request asking for a:

“…thorough and concurrent review of the state’s response to the unrest so that every governor, mayor, and local official can learn from our experiences and prevent such a situation from happening again.”

Prior to being denied the federal aid, Walz wrote in a statement:

“We’re asking our federal partners to step up and help our communities recover. We need to come together to ensure Minnesotans who were victims of this destruction have access to critical infrastructure they need so they can go to the grocery store, pick up their medication, and live their lives. Together, we will rebuild.”

Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan reiterated:

“We are committed to helping our communities rebuild, but we can’t do this on our own. While state, tribal, and local budgets are stretched thin by COVID-19, we need everyone to step up, including the federal government, to restore safety and critical infrastructure to our communities.”

Click here to read the letter that was sent to FEMA by Governor Walz. 

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Here’s Law Enforcement Today’s previous article on Governor Walz asking for federal aid.

On May 25, 2020, 46-year-old George Floyd was arrested in Minneapolis on suspicion of passing a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill. He resisted arrest and died in police custody.

The riots that have ensued since that time have been devastating to our cities and our economy, as if it wasn’t already hit hard enough by the pandemic. 

Weak leaders refused to step in and allow the police to put an end to the violence, and now they’re seeing the financial damage the destruction has done.

What’s more, some are asking for federal funding to assist. Notably, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has asked President Trump for a disaster declaration, and for financial assistance with the near $500 million in damages done.

Floyd had a long criminal record, including multiple drug convictions and the armed robbery of a pregnant black woman in a home invasion. The officers involved were terminated the following day without benefit of due process. Later on the same day, riots ensued in Minneapolis and other cities.

On May 27, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey made an appearance on The Chad Hartman Show, a local radio news talk program.

He said:

“Would Floyd still be alive if we were white? I believe that the answer is yes.”

According to Frey, Floyd’s death spoke to 400 years of unfairness and inequity faced by African Americans.

In a televised press conference, Frey said:

“Being black in America should not be a death sentence.”

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz calmly stated that “to those who are afraid, I not only see you, I hear you, and I stand with you. We will get answers. We will seek justice. George Floyd didn’t deserve to die, but George Floyd does deserve justice.”

Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan was more passionate. She said that “we,” meaning the government, “will seek justice.”

She added, however, that they can never return to normal, because “normal” means that “black and brown bodies are not safe.”

Frey clearly implied that Floyd’s death was due to racism, not poor police practice, overzealousness, or any other cause. Flanagan also emphasized racism as the cause of Floyd’s death. Walz was equivocal in his statement, which was worded in a way that could be interpreted as support for protests or caution against rioting.

All three of these officials provided tacit approval to varying degrees of the premise that racism played a causative role in Floyd’s death.

Keep in mind that all of this occurred prior to the completion of an investigation or review of evidence.

Instead, public release of the video of Floyd’s death by seventeen-year-old Darnella Frazier allowed premature conclusions to be drawn, guilt to be assessed, and punishment determined by the public, not law enforcement.

It was an extra-judicial process that was said to be stage-managed by interested parties such as the Marxist group Black Lives Matter and the domestic terror group Antifa. State and local officials who lacked the resolve to resist public opinion encouraged the protests and riots that followed by doing nothing or by vocally supporting the protesters.

Now, those same public officials are asking for up to $500 million in federal funds in disaster relief.

There is no question that the riots in Minneapolis and other major cities around the United States have been disasters to the concerned communities. The question is whether the federal government should pay to clean up the mess.

President Trump, frustrated by inaction on the part of city officials, encouraged governors to call in the National Guard to quell unrest. To his credit, Governor Walz heeded the president’s advice, and called in the National Guard, though it was several days after the majority of the damage had been done.

Other governors did not call in the Guard, and some of those are still experiencing dangerous protests as this is written, over a month after the protests began.

Minneapolis mayor Frey and other officials encouraged protesters by validating the idea that racism killed Floyd. They also validated the idea that the police department in Minneapolis and nationwide was rife with systemic racism.

Both of these positions are reckless and antithetical to what is known of “systemic racism” a characteristic so difficult to find that it is either so well-disguised it is invisible or it doesn’t exist. They are also reckless regarding the circumstances of Floyd’s death, which hadn’t been investigated at the time the statements were made.

It is possible that local and state officials in Minnesota and other states contributed to the riots by first encouraging the people involved, then by not doing anything to stop them, and third, by ceding territory, such as Minneapolis’ third precinct house, which burned to the ground.

The result is widespread and expensive destruction across the country. If that is the case, why should the federal government bail out cities for their own mismanagement? The riots didn’t “just happen,” like a tornado or hurricane, well outside of human control.

The riots were controlled exclusively by humans, at least some of whom held positions of responsibility and had the authority to put measures in place to stop the riots and mitigate the harm.

More to the point, the riots were criminal acts, in some cases aided and abetted by city officials, such as Seattle’s mayor Jenny Durkan, who only ordered rioters removed from the illegally occupied “CHOP zone” after several murders in the area and demonstrators approached her own home, several weeks after the occupation began.

By waiting as long as she did to restore order, damage was compounded daily as private and public structures were vandalized and looted, residents and shopkeepers were prevented from utilizing their property, public services were reduced to an unsatisfactory minimum, and resources were diverted from residents who needed them.

Who normally pays for damages resulting from criminal acts? Insurance and/or the criminals themselves.

In this case, thanks to a windfall of donations to BLM and other so-called “social justice” groups, it is possible to make significant recoveries from many of the primary motivators behind the protests and riots.

Hundreds of millions of dollars from private and corporate donors across America have already been transferred to the accounts of groups involved in the protests as of June 14, 2020 (Goldmacher, 2020).

Would it be too much to ask that they too contribute to a good cause?


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