Isle mayor

So Mayor Mike DeCoursey is on trial for allegedly assaulting a police officer at Isle Days last summer. According to our reporter, Vivian Clark, he testified on the stand that “the paper hates me. I hate them too. I don’t know why they hate me.” (Update: Mike says he actually said, “The newspaper hasn’t been very kind to me. They don’t like me. I don’t know why.”)

Apparently he thinks covering felony charges fairly and accurately is a sign that someone hates him (hasn’t been kind to him). He even got special treatment: We gave him the opportunity to make a statement when the charges came out.

He’s come in twice to complain to my boss about our coverage. He’s never talked to me about it. He even tried to get me removed from the city council beat. Yet I’ve always treated the dude with respect.

I even said in a column recently, “I like Mike DeCoursey.” How that becomes evidence that “they hate me” is beyond me. And the big glowing feature story we did last year, with his smiling face on the cover of our Progress edition — there’s more evidence that we hate him.

UPDATE: Mike said in a comment to this post that he never said he “hates” the Messenger. If that’s true, I apologize for misquoting him (second hand). The point remains, though, that Mike thinks we don’t like him, and I don’t think he has good reasons for feeling that way.

UPDATE 2: Mike has now gone to Kevin twice and Dick Norlander three times, but he’s also come to my office to confront me directly. We didn’t get very far, but we have a nice exchange in the comments to this post.

UPDATE 3: Mike points out in his comment that he has only gone to Kevin once and Dick twice. I said he has “gone to” Kevin twice and Dick three times — meaning spoken with, as in “gone over my head,” not “gone to see.” I was told he called Dick three times. Maybe it was only twice. I’m pretty sure he did talk to Kevin once on the phone, because he called me into his office immediately afterwards, and I know he went to see him once because I saw him. Mike asks why I lie. I don’t lie, but I occasionally make mistakes, and when I do, I apologize. I’m not sure I made a mistake here. It’s a “he said, he said” thing. I tried to send out an olive branch by updating this post and saying I liked our exchange on the blog. I didn’t want to remove this post because it would look like I was running from criticism. So my olive branch is met with an accusation. Whatever.

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22 thoughts on “Isle mayor

  1. I’ve been reading your blog tonight for the first time, Brett. I noticed that I said in testimony “the paper hates me. I hate them too. I don’t know why they hate me.” Do you realize these statements can be transcribed. I said nothing like it. I said, “The newspaper hasn’t been very kind to me. They don’t like me. I don’t know why.” I never said I hated “them” or that they hate me nor did I name the newspaper. I grew up with the Messenger. I don’t hate it; I hate what it’s become. Is Vivian’s word gospel to everyone? At least Dick knows the difference between one column and two, 48-point type and 24-point type.Actually, I appreciate you keeping your word and not telling the story my wife and I told you at my front door when the charges came out. Our story has not and will never change. It is the truth. We were advised by our attorney not to go on record with anything. Should we trust our attorney or the Mille Lacs Messenger? You have reported on our city council. However, there are little editorial comments instead of just news that undermine the integrity of our town. Not nearly as bad as Vivian. What is the policy of not allowing people to read what you are going to print before it is published? Good news reporters would want to make sure there are no errors. Why does the newspaper always highlight the negative? Do you realize I was the one who insisted upon the sidewalk from the Lakeview Apartments to the corner for the elderly and the sidewalk in front of the museum? Do you realize I designed the storm sewer in Hennepin Avenue and insisted the engineer do it during the sewer project even though he refused so we didn’t have to dig town up again the next summer, thus saving taxpayers almost a quarter of a million dollars ? Can you understand why I let the old engineer go? Remember the sewer project that had been tabled for four years? It’s now complete with a very high success rate. I pushed to have the house torn down on Fourth Street that had been vacant for 20 years. I am aggressively pursuing the street lights project; they are burning out as we speak. The Malone Bridge has been on the county priority list for over a year now. Perhaps Vivian would like the credit for these! Oh, she’ll deny them and say I lied about them.Does anyone at the newspaper know I have never fired a police officer. I and another council person did reprimand a prior chief for taking a school bus test two times while clocked in for the city for a total sum of eight hours of wages without authorization. The city has no school bus. There were also other issues of misuse of city vehicles. The chief resigned of his own accord. I never got a chance to personally give him the reprimands. I terminated a liquor store manager for not being able to tell if any money was missing from the safe, among other things including co-mingling funds with the MN State Lottery. Another was terminated for drinking on the job. I helped settle a lawsuit started from the previous mayor. This previous mayor and a council member also took out a loan from the local bank without the city clerk-treasurer’s signature illegally indebting the city to pay for an unauthorized expenditure approved on the telephone between at least three members of the council, that being a violation of the open meeting law. They left an outstanding debt with no legal way to pay for it unless I sunk to their level. I am currently dealing with a council member who voted on an assessment which is a direct conflict of interest as he owns property along the assessed area. This same council member put legislation on both the House and Senate floors to be voted upon for a city sales tax. He had designated on his own what the funds would be used for. He did all of this without a public hearing or a resolution from the council. While all of these things cannot be done by me alone without council approval, I testified that I’ve had good councils to work with. Some were my ideas, some from city employees, and some from council members. Seeing what’s best for our city, I took the ball and ran with them.And Vivian takes it upon herself to judge me as the criminal. Vivian incorrectly stated my testimony. What I really said was Connolly did not know who my wife was but he knew who I was. When I approached him and placed the palm of my hand on his chest (I did not push him) and felt his trauma plate and told him to leave my wife alone, he disappeared into the crowd. I’ve been Mayor for three years. The Messenger is on their fourth Editor since I took office. You told me you wanted to report on the council meetings so you could get to know the people of Isle, the council, and Mayor. When is your term up?The Honorable Mayor Mike

  2. I’ve been reading your blog tonight for the first time, Brett. I noticed that I said in testimony “the paper hates me. I hate them too. I don’t know why they hate me.” Do you realize these statements can be transcribed. I said nothing like it. I said, “The newspaper hasn’t been very kind to me. They don’t like me. I don’t know why.” I never said I hated “them” or that they hate me nor did I name the newspaper. I grew up with the Messenger. I don’t hate it; I hate what it’s become. Is Vivian’s word gospel to everyone? At least Dick knows the difference between one column and two, 48-point type and 24-point type.Actually, I appreciate you keeping your word and not telling the story my wife and I told you at my front door when the charges came out. Our story has not and will never change. It is the truth. We were advised by our attorney not to go on record with anything. Should we trust our attorney or the Mille Lacs Messenger? You have reported on our city council. However, there are little editorial comments instead of just news that undermine the integrity of our town. Not nearly as bad as Vivian. What is the policy of not allowing people to read what you are going to print before it is published? Good news reporters would want to make sure there are no errors. Why does the newspaper always highlight the negative? Do you realize I was the one who insisted upon the sidewalk from the Lakeview Apartments to the corner for the elderly and the sidewalk in front of the museum? Do you realize I designed the storm sewer in Hennepin Avenue and insisted the engineer do it during the sewer project even though he refused so we didn’t have to dig town up again the next summer, thus saving taxpayers almost a quarter of a million dollars ? Can you understand why I let the old engineer go? Remember the sewer project that had been tabled for four years? It’s now complete with a very high success rate. I pushed to have the house torn down on Fourth Street that had been vacant for 20 years. I am aggressively pursuing the street lights project; they are burning out as we speak. The Malone Bridge has been on the county priority list for over a year now. Perhaps Vivian would like the credit for these! Oh, she’ll deny them and say I lied about them.Does anyone at the newspaper know I have never fired a police officer. I and another council person did reprimand a prior chief for taking a school bus test two times while clocked in for the city for a total sum of eight hours of wages without authorization. The city has no school bus. There were also other issues of misuse of city vehicles. The chief resigned of his own accord. I never got a chance to personally give him the reprimands. I terminated a liquor store manager for not being able to tell if any money was missing from the safe, among other things including co-mingling funds with the MN State Lottery. Another was terminated for drinking on the job. I helped settle a lawsuit started from the previous mayor. This previous mayor and a council member also took out a loan from the local bank without the city clerk-treasurer’s signature illegally indebting the city to pay for an unauthorized expenditure approved on the telephone between at least three members of the council, that being a violation of the open meeting law. They left an outstanding debt with no legal way to pay for it unless I sunk to their level. I am currently dealing with a council member who voted on an assessment which is a direct conflict of interest as he owns property along the assessed area. This same council member put legislation on both the House and Senate floors to be voted upon for a city sales tax. He had designated on his own what the funds would be used for. He did all of this without a public hearing or a resolution from the council. While all of these things cannot be done by me alone without council approval, I testified that I’ve had good councils to work with. Some were my ideas, some from city employees, and some from council members. Seeing what’s best for our city, I took the ball and ran with them.And Vivian takes it upon herself to judge me as the criminal. Vivian incorrectly stated my testimony. What I really said was Connolly did not know who my wife was but he knew who I was. When I approached him and placed the palm of my hand on his chest (I did not push him) and felt his trauma plate and told him to leave my wife alone, he disappeared into the crowd. I’ve been Mayor for three years. The Messenger is on their fourth Editor since I took office. You told me you wanted to report on the council meetings so you could get to know the people of Isle, the council, and Mayor. When is your term up?The Honorable Mayor Mike

  3. Glad to hear from you, Mike. Maybe we should write each other more often, since we don’t seem so good at face-to-face communication.A couple issues with your comments:1. I know the difference between 48 and 24. I also know that headline point size is not the only factor in how prominent a story is. You tooted your horn a bit, so I’ll toot mine: Did you know I’ve taught college-level journalism in TWO different countries?2. If in fact Viv misquoted you about “hating” the paper, I apologize.3. As I said in my blog post from a couple weeks ago, the paper did a really nice feature story on you, so I don’t see how you think the paper isn’t nice to you.4. You say I add editorial comments to my stories on Isle City Council. I don’t believe you. Please give me some examples. If you can convince me, I will confess.5. “Why does the newspaper always highlight the negative?” I don’t know how to respond to that. Did you read our Progress edition? Positivity all around! Do you see all the positive publicity we give to the schools and the kids and the old folks and the fishing guides and resorters and all the feature stories on quilters and knitters and steam threshers and collectors? Sure, we cover crime and such, but that’s our job too. The Messenger has been a huge cheerleader for the community over the years, as we’ve tried to cover hard news accurately and courageously. 6. When is my term up? Don’t hold your breath.7. As the opportunity comes up to talk about some of your accomplishments, we will, but it’s not my job in writing about the city council to go out of my way to praise the mayor. However, I did praise you in my column a few weeks ago for pushing for streetlights. A lot of people think we’re too easy on you. One thing we have in common is that both of us probably have as many enemies as we have supporters.8. Why don’t we let people read our stories before they come out? It’s not practical, and it lends itself to spin rather than accuracy. If I let you review my city council stories, wouldn’t it be fair to let Russ and Cindy and LuAnn and John and Jim read them too? Can you imagine 12 of us sitting around trying to craft an accurate story that’s fair to everyone? And wouldn’t we have to invite Irene into the conversation? It would be like the McGrath City Council trying to agree on the minutes of their council meetings. If we let you read Viv’s story on the trial, wouldn’t we have to let the prosecutors read it too?8. You and Viv need to drink a couple beers together. I think you’d like each other.

  4. Glad to hear from you, Mike. Maybe we should write each other more often, since we don’t seem so good at face-to-face communication.A couple issues with your comments:1. I know the difference between 48 and 24. I also know that headline point size is not the only factor in how prominent a story is. You tooted your horn a bit, so I’ll toot mine: Did you know I’ve taught college-level journalism in TWO different countries?2. If in fact Viv misquoted you about “hating” the paper, I apologize.3. As I said in my blog post from a couple weeks ago, the paper did a really nice feature story on you, so I don’t see how you think the paper isn’t nice to you.4. You say I add editorial comments to my stories on Isle City Council. I don’t believe you. Please give me some examples. If you can convince me, I will confess.5. “Why does the newspaper always highlight the negative?” I don’t know how to respond to that. Did you read our Progress edition? Positivity all around! Do you see all the positive publicity we give to the schools and the kids and the old folks and the fishing guides and resorters and all the feature stories on quilters and knitters and steam threshers and collectors? Sure, we cover crime and such, but that’s our job too. The Messenger has been a huge cheerleader for the community over the years, as we’ve tried to cover hard news accurately and courageously. 6. When is my term up? Don’t hold your breath.7. As the opportunity comes up to talk about some of your accomplishments, we will, but it’s not my job in writing about the city council to go out of my way to praise the mayor. However, I did praise you in my column a few weeks ago for pushing for streetlights. A lot of people think we’re too easy on you. One thing we have in common is that both of us probably have as many enemies as we have supporters.8. Why don’t we let people read our stories before they come out? It’s not practical, and it lends itself to spin rather than accuracy. If I let you review my city council stories, wouldn’t it be fair to let Russ and Cindy and LuAnn and John and Jim read them too? Can you imagine 12 of us sitting around trying to craft an accurate story that’s fair to everyone? And wouldn’t we have to invite Irene into the conversation? It would be like the McGrath City Council trying to agree on the minutes of their council meetings. If we let you read Viv’s story on the trial, wouldn’t we have to let the prosecutors read it too?8. You and Viv need to drink a couple beers together. I think you’d like each other.

  5. I just read your second update. Why do you lie? I’ve gone to see Kevin once and called Dick twice. Maybe they just exagerate to you, I’m sure thats exceptable in the journalism circle. My dad called it a “poetic license”, but that was just to make the story more interesting, not change the facts.

  6. I just read your second update. Why do you lie? I’ve gone to see Kevin once and called Dick twice. Maybe they just exagerate to you, I’m sure thats exceptable in the journalism circle. My dad called it a “poetic license”, but that was just to make the story more interesting, not change the facts.

  7. I just read your second update. Why do you lie? I’ve gone to see Kevin once and called Dick twice. Maybe they just exagerate to you, I’m sure thats exceptable in the journalism circle. My dad called it a “poetic license”, but that was just to make the story more interesting, not change the facts.

  8. I just read your second update. Why do you lie? I’ve gone to see Kevin once and called Dick twice. Maybe they just exagerate to you, I’m sure thats exceptable in the journalism circle. My dad called it a “poetic license”, but that was just to make the story more interesting, not change the facts.

  9. I just read your second update. Why do you lie? I’ve gone to see Kevin once and called Dick twice. Maybe they just exagerate to you, I’m sure thats exceptable in the journalism circle. My dad called it a “poetic license”, but that was just to make the story more interesting, not change the facts.

  10. I just read your second update. Why do you lie? I’ve gone to see Kevin once and called Dick twice. Maybe they just exagerate to you, I’m sure thats exceptable in the journalism circle. My dad called it a “poetic license”, but that was just to make the story more interesting, not change the facts.

  11. Mike points out in his comment that he has only gone to Kevin once and Dick twice. I said he has “gone to” Kevin twice and Dick three times — meaning spoken with, as in “gone over my head,” not “gone to see.” I was told he called Dick three times. Maybe it was only twice. I’m pretty sure he did talk to Kevin once on the phone, because he called me into his office immediately afterwards, and I know he went to see him once because I saw him. Mike asks why I lie. I don’t lie, but I occasionally make mistakes, and when I do, I apologize. I’m not sure I made a mistake here. It’s a “he said, he said” thing. I tried to send out an olive branch by updating this post and saying I liked our exchange on the blog. I didn’t want to remove this post because it would look like I was running from criticism. So my olive branch is met with an accusation. Whatever.

  12. Mike points out in his comment that he has only gone to Kevin once and Dick twice. I said he has “gone to” Kevin twice and Dick three times — meaning spoken with, as in “gone over my head,” not “gone to see.” I was told he called Dick three times. Maybe it was only twice. I’m pretty sure he did talk to Kevin once on the phone, because he called me into his office immediately afterwards, and I know he went to see him once because I saw him. Mike asks why I lie. I don’t lie, but I occasionally make mistakes, and when I do, I apologize. I’m not sure I made a mistake here. It’s a “he said, he said” thing. I tried to send out an olive branch by updating this post and saying I liked our exchange on the blog. I didn’t want to remove this post because it would look like I was running from criticism. So my olive branch is met with an accusation. Whatever.

  13. Wow, if thats a olive branch I’d hate to see when you send out a hunk of dead elm!?!I hope this doesn’t post twice so you get ahead of Rob! LOL

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