WEST ST. PAUL, MN -- It's been an interesting few days for those tracking political controversy. First, there was Vice President Joe Biden's warning to Virginia rally-goers that presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan will "put y'all back in chains." Then, there was Republican Senate nominee Todd Akin's reference to "legitimate rape."
Now, Northern Dakota County has a controversial politician of its own: a 42-year-old West St. Paul city councilman known for his conservative views has been charged with misconduct of a public officer and disorderly conduct after police say he repeatedly interferred with the sale of a property adjacent to his own.
According to a Dakota County criminal complaint dated Aug. 17, Edward Everett Hansen was the lone dissenting vote on the city council back in January 2011 when its economic development authority decided to build a home on the property and share the profits between the City and the private developer.
The complaint states that West St. Paul police were contacted by a listing agent on June 11 after Hansen allegedly entered the home on the property, unannounced and uninvited, during a showing.
After questioning the the potential buyer's plans for the property, and finding that the buyer intended to use the home as a rental, Hansen allegedly became "irate," telling the potential buyer that he was a city councilman for West Saint Paul and that he would "make sure" the buyer would "never get a rental permit."
Hansen then reportedly tried to cut off the entrance to the property with his vehicle.
During the course of the investigation, West St. Paul police learned that another agent was planning to show the property to a second potential buyer July 1, but that when they arrived, a vehicle was again blocking the entrance and a machine with an electronic voice kept repeating "You're Trespassing" when they approached the home.
In November 2011, Hansen allegedly approached the general contractor who was building the home on the site and began yelling at him to stop construction.
The contractor told police that Hansen was "ranting and raving," and that most of his statements began with some variation of the f-word.
If convicted of the most serious charge against him—misconduct of a public officer—Hansen could face up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine.
This is not the first time that Hansen—owner of a Rocco's Pizza in Little Canada—has been embroiled in controversy.
Hansen flew a Confederate flag from the back deck of his home from February to June—removing it only after the president of Rocco's, Jim Bauer, essentially ordered him to do so. He allegedlly said at the time the "Stars and Bars" flag was a statement about his opposition to government taxes and regulation.
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