We can't help wondering how much Sen. Ted Stevens and Sen. Norm Coleman have in common these days. While reporters this week tried to connect Coleman's story to that of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, we're seeing more weird similarities to Stevens's unreported gifts of contracting work on his home.
News has an interesting story about Coleman's $414,000 renovation to his home. The fix-up ended up $86,000 over budget around the same time that donor and buddy Nasser Kazeminy was allegedly trying to funnel the Colemans $100,000.
It sounds like major speculation, but could prove relevant if the lawsuits against Kazeminy go forward. Coleman is not listed as a defendant in the cases.
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Two lawsuits allege that in spring of 2007, Edina businessman Nasser Kazeminy began a series of $25,000 payments to Coleman from Deep Marine Technology, a company he controlled in Texas, to Hays Companies, the Minnesota Insurance company where Laurie Coleman works.
While Coleman didn't agree to sit down for a interview, his campaign did agree to share billing records of the remodeling project. Original projections in 2006 estimated a cost of $328,000, but four months later, the construction cost was estimated at $414,000, over-budget by $86,000.
During that time is when, the lawsuit alleges, Kazeminy was trying to get money to Coleman.
According to the lawsuits, in March of 2007, Kazeminy said that "U.S. Senators don't make s---" and he was going to try to find a way to get money to Coleman.
Records provided by the campaign show that Coleman paid Wilsey in full for the renovation -- $414,000. In part, by refinancing his home in March 2007, for $775,000.The Senator acknowledges, that like a lot of people in America, he now owes more on his home than it's actually worth.
The story seems to be missing a formal statement from the Coleman campaign or Senate office about these allegations. Wouldn't this be a good time to deny such connections if they aren't true? We think this story is a little too much speculation and coincidence, but the facts are good to keep in mind. If any of this happens to be true, expect Coleman to deny it Stevens-style even if he wins reelection.