New York Observer report paints unflattering picture of Mark Dayton

Categories: Mark Dayton
mark dayton new rect.jpg
The New York Observer's lengthy exposé on the Wilf family doesn't paint a flattering picture of Zygi and company. But equally if not more unflattering is the report's portrayal of Mark Dayton, who comes across as a naive, overmatched politician who was played like a fiddle during the Vikings' stadium push.

SEE ALSO: Sounds like Mark Dayton's relationship with his lieutenant governor is pretty awkward

The Observer quotes "a source close to the governor" as saying, "Look, who do you think wins when a N.J. real estate mogul negotiates with a Midwestern governor?" And the passages about Dayton don't get any more positive from there.

From the Observer:
Governor Dayton is an heir from the family that started Target. A recovering alcoholic whose erratic behavior earned him an article in Time titled "The Blunderer" and a spot on the magazine's Five Worst Senators list, Dayton is an enigmatic figure in the Wilf story.

One person who knows the governor well and was a bit behind him at the elite Blake School says that the governor's whole life has been a mission to prove he's not the upper-crust wuss people assume him to be from his breeding and manner. Indeed, even Governor Dayton's official bio page is peppered with exclamation points and Uncle Rico style nostalgia for the days of hockey glory and teaching in the New York City public schools.

"You've got this guy who was a star athlete--best senior goalie in a hockey-mad state. But his behavior in the Senate was so bizarre ..."--Dayton once shut his office citing a vague "terrorist threat" and gave himself an F for his undistinguished single term in Washington--"that he wanted to come home and fix this image of himself as an ineffective weirdo."

According to one Minneapolis businessman who knows Governor Dayton personally and is close to the governor's ex-wife (Alida Rockefeller, the youngest daughter of John D. Rockefeller) and their sons, Eric and Andrew, who operate a popular restaurant in the city and a men's boutique: "Dayton is a swell guy, but he's just awkward in his own skin and never really thought he'd be governor. Now everyone's mad at him, because he's raised taxes, and he wants to be loved so he's full-bore on this stadium. He doesn't want to be known as the governor who lost the Vikings to L.A."
In related developments, it's probably no coincidence that right around the time the Wilfs lost their $80 million-plus civil lawsuit in New Jersey and the funding scheme for the public portion of the Vikings stadium fell apart, Dayton's approval rating slipped.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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