Insult to Injury for Lansing
Former mayor Lee Lansing received a no-trespassing order for his own garden-supply store on Division Street last week. The recently foreclosed property was previously owned by Lansing’s son, but is now held by Voyager Bank, which set last Sunday as a deadline for Lansing to stop occupying the building.
The latest incident is one of countless conflicts that Lansing has had with the law and with Northfield’s City Council for at least two years.
Much of the attention on the mayor came two years ago when the Council accused Lansing of inappropriately using his office to lobby for a new city liquor store built on his son’s property. In this case the mayor was charged last October with five counts of misconduct and two counts of conflict-of-interest. His case has not yet gone to trial.
Lansing’s struggles with the Council also include the mayor’s 2007 lawsuit against the City (for publicly releasing information about his corruption investigation), and a City Council’s censure of the mayor. The Council went as far as removing the mayor from his City Hall office, and even re-keyed the locks when the mayor refused to surrender his keys. However the mayor resisted repeated requests for resignation. He ran for re-election in 2008, but came in sixth on a seven-candidate primary ballot.
The history of Lansing’s Hardware Store is nearly as complex and litigious as his political career. A thirty year fixture at 618 Division Street, Lansing Hardware closed last April after a lawsuit over unpaid rent with landowner New Division Development. But the business was re-incarnated as a garden supply store at the 600 Division Street address that Lansing must now leave.
Burning cars, broken windows, and burglarized garages were among the effects of a string of property crimes on Tuesday night near Sibley Elementary School in Northfield’s southeast corner.
According to Police Chief Mark Taylor, the crimes are a likely related, and probably committed by more than person. His investigators find no evidence of gang involvement.
In total the damage included three car arsons, another attempted car fire, seven slashed tires, thefts from cars and garages, and an object thrown through the window of a home. The vandalism reached as far as the Jefferson Parkway side street, Michigan Drive, where a NAPA Auto Parts company car was burned.
Sources: Northfield News, LocallyGrownNorthfield.org