Franken cancels fundraiser with shady St. Paul host

Categories: Al Franken

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Al Franken canceled a fundraiser tonight that was supposed to be hosted by a guy convicted of theft-by-swindle. Oops.

Minnesota Public Radio and the Star Tribune have the story. Basically, Mark Erjavec, a 33-year-old entrepreneur, spent time in prison for a 1997 theft-by-swindle conviction, and swindled a Catholic priest out of $10,000 in a Ponzi scheme. Erjavec was to host a fancy party tonight raising money for the senator.

Franken's staff wasn't aware of the conviction until Tuesday, and quickly pulled the plug when they found out. Here's more about the party plans from the Strib:

Erjavec was to have hosted the fundraiser at a $1.8 million mansion two doors down from the James J. Hill House with his wife, a former Russian national rhythmic gymnastics team coach. Suggested contributions included $2,400 for a co-host, $1,000 for a sponsor, $500 for a benefactor, $250 for a patron and $100 for a friend.

And about Erjavec's shady past...

Mark Erjavec's lawyer at the time, Virginia, Minn., attorney Bruce Williams, said Erjavec, who was 21, was immature and regretted his actions, which affected the reputation of his family in their close-knit Iron Range community. "He did his time and life goes on," Williams said. "As to whether Senator Franken should have him hosting fundraisers, you'd have to ask the senator that."

Guess we know the answer to that one.


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