Don Samuels clarifies Vikings stadium vote motivation: "It was all about jobs"

don samuels new rect.jpg
Samuels says financial contributions he received from unions following his pro-stadium vote were simply a happy surprise.
Yesterday, we drew attention to an eyebrow-raising comment Minneapolis City Council member and mayoral candidate Don Samuels recently made when discussing how unions reacted to his vote in favor of a new Vikings stadium.

THE BACKSTORY: Don Samuels: Unions gave me "an envelope with a couple grand" for Vikings stadium vote

"I didn't know that that could happen -- that all the unions could get together like that, and I got an envelope with ... a couple grand," Samuels said, referring to what happened during a fundraiser hosted by unions workers that took place a couple months ago.

Today, we talked to Samuels to get more context about that remark.

Samuels's vote in favor of the Vikings stadium "was all about jobs for my constituents," he said. "That was the motivation for voting yes."

"The union show of support was totally unknown to me [in advance]," Samuels added. "I had no idea, I didn't sit down with unions to plan this."

Though the "envelope with a couple grand" remark conjures up images of corrupt backroom deal-making, Samuels said the union contributions he received were totally aboveboard. At the meeting, he said he received an envelope full of checks, many of them made out for the maximum contribution of $100, from union political groups. Those checks totaled about $2,000, Samuels said.

In fact, a Hennepin County campaign financial report filing (see it for yourself here) indicates that Samuels received a number of contributions from union groups late last November. He said he couldn't remember if those checks were the ones he was referring to in his "envelope with a couple grand" remark.

"It's unfortunate I worded that one quote where one might get the impression" something fishy was going on, Samuels said.

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4 comments
Derrick49
Derrick49

Samuels is just as corrupt as any politician. The jobs he speaks of will go to trained and experienced construction workers, not the drug dealers, sex offenders, and  prostitutes that he wants to have the jobs. Samuels lives in fantasy land, and it's a good this he will be out of Minneapolis after the November elections.

hellokitty
hellokitty

f#ck the stadium and f#ck don samuels. the same number of jobs could have been had building roads and bridges.

f#cking football.

green23
green23

I'm not a fan of Samuels, but it doesn't seem as if he did anything legally wrong. 

People donate money to candidates who vote in favour of their interests. That isn't bribery. Evangelical churches frequently raise money for anti-abortion candidates, and that's more legally dubious than this, because they are tax-exempt. 

Having said that, I oppose the Vikings stadium and think Samuels handled this issue like a complete idiot.

Dan Mason
Dan Mason

Don Samuels has always been an idiot.

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