Watch TiZA executive director Asad Zaman "attack" KSTP cameraman [VIDEO]

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Asad Zaman "attacked" the KSTP news crew
This week's feature chronicles the troubled history of TiZA, the controversial charter school blasted by conservative critics as the "Minnesota madrassa."

TiZA began humbly, serving poor Somali immigrants in Inver Grove Heights. It grew into a media darling, and Congressman Keith Ellison enrolled his youngest child at the school, as we detail in our story. But after Katherine Kersten wrote a column in March 2008 accusing TiZA of being an "Islamic school," a wave of legal problems descended upon the academy.

Its officials reacted aggressively to criticism, hiring a PR firm and lobbying the media. Its monitor, Wayne Jennings, wrote a letter to the Star Tribune defending TiZA. Executive Director Asad Zaman traveled to the Strib's offices to demand Kersten be fired, according to a former parent at the school. But that paled in comparison to the school's reaction when KSTP reporter Chris O'Connell made an unwelcome visit in May 2008.

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The Real Rybak: A reporter's notebook in Iowa [VIDEO]

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In this week's cover story, we followed Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak around for several weeks to document the day-to-day life of a city politician marking his tenth year in office.

Along the way, we traveled to Des Moines, Iowa, ahead of the January 3 caucus to witness Rybak in his role as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee and official Obama-booster.

After the jump, a closer look as Rybak raced from one interview to another, trying to cut Republican presidential hopeful and current frontrunner Mitt Romney down to size.

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The Real Rybak: The WCCO broadcast just after Mayor R.T. Rybak's tragic news [VIDEO]

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​For this week's cover story, we spent several weeks following Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak around, documenting his day-to-day life to mark his 10th year in office.

In the course of the reporting, we learned that his 13-year-old niece Shannon O'Hara was battling brain cancer. Rybak kept a hectic schedule of city meetings, press conferences, and even a jaunt to the Iowa caucus, but Shannon's condition seemed to be always in the background.

On the final day of reporting, Rybak received tragic news.

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Wayne and Greg Freeman, former landlords of the "Lothario Notario" Chris LaRiche, speak out

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Read our cover story, "The Lothario Notario," for more on immigration scams
Chris LaRiche walked into City Hall to prosecute a lawsuit against Wayne and Greg Freeman, the father and son heads of Executive Suites of Minnesota, when he was arrested by police last November.

This week's cover story, "The Lothario Notario," chronicles LaRiche's alleged crimes leading up to his arrest. LaRiche's lawsuit against Executive Suites of Minnesota alleged that his "business" was damaged by the Freemans, who tell City Pages they had problems with LaRiche as soon as they began renting office space to him last March.

"We determined that he was living there," says Wayne Freeman, which was a violation of their lease agreement.

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Chris LaRiche, the "Lothario Notario," scammed almost 900 immigrants, prosecutors allege

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Read this week's cover, "The Lothario Notario," for more on Chris LaRiche's immigration scam
This week's cover story, "The Lothario Notario," reveals how a local man allegedly scammed undocumented immigrants with false promises of citizenship.

Mario Alberto Martinez-Alanis used the fake name "Chris LaRiche" and promised to get jobs and legal status for undocumented immigrants who came to his downtown Minneapolis office. He was arrested in November on charged of perjury and forgery stemming from testimony Martinez-Alanis made under oath in a bizarre lawsuit against a former employee.

Our feature broke the news that Hennepin County prosecutors planned to charge Martinez-Alanis with theft by swindle. Assistant county attorney Paul Scoggin filed that charge yesterday morning in Judge Tanya Bransford's courtroom. The amended complaint details LaRiche's alleged scams and claims he "admitted that he only obtained about five jobs for the 900 people that he collected fees from."More »

Easter Egg Hunt: Find the journalists hidden on this week's City Pages cover

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Ken Avidor snuck a few surprises in his illustrations for this week's Bachmann cover story.
This week's cover story, "The Fall of Michele Bachmann," features illustrations by local artist and author Ken Avidor, who also chronicled the Tom Petters trial for City Pages through comic strips a couple years ago.

As usual with Avidor, there's more than first meets the eye to his Bachmann art.

Hidden behind Michele and Marcus, amid the masses of drooling Bachmannites and a hatchet-wielding Ed Rollins, Avidor slipped in a few other familiar faces from the campaign trail.

Here's the story's main artwork:

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Michele Bachmann bombs in Iowa caucus, finishes in sixth place [UPDATED]

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Has Michele Bachmann hit bottom?
Michele Bachmann did not get the miracle she was praying for in Iowa Tuesday night.

With 99 percent of votes tallied in the Iowa caucus, Bachmann has officially finished in a distant sixth place, losing to every candidate but John Huntsman, who didn't even campaign for the event.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney virtually tied for first place, each taking around 24.5 percent of the vote. Texas congressman Ron Paul followed in a close third, followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Bachmann racked up a mere five percent, a miserable showing that has dire implications to the future of her presidential campaign. An Iowa native, the Minnesota congresswoman devoted a substantial portion of her campaign to trying to appeal to the state's social conservative voters. Clearly, that strategy failed.

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Suicide Files: Sheriff Fletcher supporters who weren't investigated by Internal Affairs

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In this week's feature, we told the story of Ramsey County Sheriff's Deputy Dan Ruettimann, who committed suicide in early October. Shortly before his death, he asked a friend to pass a package of paperwork to this City Pages reporter.

Included in the package was a detailed account of an Internal Affairs investigation on Ruettimann. The deputy was certain his case was opened because he was supporting then-sheriff Bob Fletcher's opponent in the 2010 campaign.

To prove his point, Ruettimann pulled police reports from all over the state on several other members of the department who were accused of similar or worse offenses, but were never subjected to an Internal Affairs investigation. Ruettimann believed it was because they were Fletcher supporters.

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Suicide Files: Bob Fletcher's domestic dispute

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This week's cover told the story of the life and death of Ramsey County Sheriff's Deputy Dan Ruettimann, and the file of documents he specifically left behind for this City Pages reporter.

The documents mostly detail Ruettimann's domestic troubles and an Internal Affairs investigation that resulted because of them. However, there is also a packet in the file that contains several incident reports on crimes committed by other Ramsey County deputies.

Included is a domestic dispute call to the home of then-Sheriff Bob Fletcher. The file is a fascinating look into what it's like to respond to a domestic incident involving the sheriff.

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Watch Tom Lyden's Fox9 report on Deputy Dan Ruettimann [VIDEO]

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In this week's cover story on the suicide of Ramsey County Deputy Dan Ruettimann, we mentioned a story on Fox9 that impacted the deputy in the months leading up to his death this past October.

The story said that Deputy Ruettimann was under an Internal Affairs investigation for conduct unbecoming an officer. Reporter Tom Lyden questioned whether Ruettimann was "given a second chance" for political reasons.

While the police reports used in the piece are public record, the fact that they were tied to Internal Affairs business should have remained confidential.More »

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