Prosecutorssay a city councilman in West St. Paulhas been a bad neighbor ever since the city voted to develop aproperty near his home. Now, they're charging him with misconduct and disorderly conduct.
In January 2011, the West St. Paul City Council voted to develop a property across from City Councilman Edward Hansen's home -- all except for Hansen, that is.
After the 42-year-old cast the lone dissenting vote, the Economic Development Authority committee -- which is comprised of City Council members -- and the developer entered into a joint effort where any profit from the sale of the property would be shared between the developer and the city.
Prosecutors say although Hansen knew that the property sale would need to be approved by the committee, he offered to buy the property after the initial vote didn't go his way. The developer declined his officer, but that was far from the last attempt Hansen made to stop the project.
West St. Paul police were called by the listing agent for the Felix Street property on June 11, 2011, who said Hansen had interfered with multiple showings.
According to the agent, Hansen entered the home unannounced and uninvited on June 8 to tell the potential buyer that anyone buying the property would have to trespass on Hansen's property to get there; however, the agent knew that was not true. A legal easement allows access to the property.
Hansen continued to question the possible buyer, asking whether he intended to rent the property. When the prospective buyer said yes, Hansen became irate, raising his voice and saying he was a City Councilman who would "make sure that he would never get a rental permit."
Hansen left after he was told the showing was private and he should go, but the agent noticed a vehicle parked in the driveway of the listed property when she left. Hansen was standing nearby, and she said he tried to intimidate her when she asked who owned the vehicle, answering, "Maybe I do."
Investigators say Hansen blocked the driveway again when another agent was trying to show the property at the end of that same month, and a number of "no trespassing" signs had been posted in the area.
As the agent and his clients approached, an electronic voice emanated from Hansen's home that said, "You're trespassing." Officials say the voice came from a machine on Hansen's property that was directed toward the listed property.
According to charging documents, Hansen's persistent opposition to the project culminated in a loud outburst of curse words hurled at a general contractor on Nov. 23, 2011.
Officials say Hansen approached and asked, "What the f--- are you doing?" He then began yelling at the contractor, saying he did not want the house to be built and would not allow it.
The contractor, who told authorities said he had never met Hansen before, described him as ranting and raving, saying most of his statements began with some variation of the same curse word he began the dispute with.
Misconduct of a public officer or employee is a gross misdemeanor charge that carries a potential sentence of up to a year in prison and/or a fine ranging between $900 and $3,000. The disorderly conduct charge is a misdemeanor that carries a possible sentence of up to 90 days behind bars and fines ranging between $300 and $1,000.