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City Council Candidate Allegedly Left Former Tenant With ‘A Big, Gaping Hole in the Side of the House’

Plus Mayo workers' insurance woes, bad North Side landlords, and the art shanties turn 20 in today's Flyover news roundup.

Facebook: Scott Graham for Mpls|

Scott Graham, who seems to “lord” over properties that appear “slummy.”

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Would You Vote for Your Landlord?

Julia Curran once had a bad landlord. Nothing unusual about that—most of us have encountered that species of parasite at some point over the years. But Curran’s landlord, Scott Graham, is currently running for the Minneapolis City Council in Ward 7. WedgeLIVE spoke with Curran about her four-year experience renting from Graham. (She moved out 12 years ago.) It’s a tale of squirrels, frozen toilets, “a big, gaping hole in the side of the house," and other slummy headaches. At one point, a light fixture reportedly fell on her head, necessitating staples.

This doesn't come entirely as a surprise—the Star Tribune noted that Graham racked up 209 property violations in his years of lording land, and there's been social media grumbling from past tenants as well. But WedgeLIVE claims that Curran has produced email exchanges with Graham documenting her horrific time as his tenant. As Curran diplomatically puts it, “Scott’s strengths were not highlighted in his role as a landlord.” You can watch the whole thing here

Report: Mayo Clinic Gives Workers Dogshit Insurance

One might posit that, in the richest country on earth, workers at an elite medical institution might, just might, receive adequate health insurance from their employer. Not the case, dummy! That’s according to a scathing new report issued today by Minnesota Reformer, in which we learn Mayo workers are allegedly forced to wait months for appointments, battle with insurance reps by phone, and end up paying a shitload for substandard care.

Reporter Max Nesterak found that through-line during conversations with eight current and two former employees, all of whom had insurance horror stories to tell. “I was bitter after that experience… You assume the top hospital network in the world, theoretically, would take care of its employees,” says one ex-worker who claims she’s still paying off $10,000 of medical debt incurred while on Mayo’s Medica plans. Adds a current worker: “They try to make people think they’re so great and they have this wonderful reputation. They’re just another corporation out for what they can get.” 

Making matters more infuriating: Mayo, which now rakes in $16 billion-plus annually, uses that reputation and financial clout to bully and blackmail Minnesota lawmakers, as we saw earlier this year when union nurses pushed for legislation that would make their lives easier. In total, Nesterak's report is another great entry into the depressing, voluminous canon of “U.S. healthcare is a nightmare” news stories. Considering we're drowning in evidence, perhaps something can be done about the current system, one that makes us sicker and poorer than people living in countries that don’t risk health on free markets. 

North Side Residents are Suing the City Over Housing Codes

Speaking of bad landlords, a group of past and present north Minneapolis residents filed a lawsuit this Tuesday alleging discriminatory practices from the city when enforcing housing code violations. Basically, they’re asking the city to assign more housing inspectors to North Side neighborhoods and, you know, enforce the codes. Instances include renters reporting electrical problems and mold, as well as a postal worker who says reports that he made on buildings with missing door knobs, needles on the lawns, and garbage-filled hallways were often closed without a follow up. Often landlords face hundreds of complaints and confirmed code violations before anything happens (see this maddening North News article for just one example). "That just demonstrates that something is wrong when it gets to that level before something happens," case attorney Ben Kappelman tells Maya Rao at the Star Tribune. "Rather than waiting for the attorney general to go after the really bad actors, you've got to stop these people from amassing all those violations in the first place."

Art Shanties Turn 20, Announce Winter Dates

Once again the Art Shanty Project is taking over a frozen lake in the dead of winter for weekends of hands-on happenings, live music and performances, and wholesome fun. And for the first time since the pandemic, people are going to be able to go inside some of the shanties, with activities taking place both inside and out. “We've got a 50/50 mix,” says artistic director Erin Lavelle. “So if you've been waiting to cozy up inside with us again, this is your year! And if you're still not comfortable with that, we got you!” Shanties will include the Free Store Shanty, where you can donate a warm winter item or pick one up; Hot Box: Disco Inferno aims to get people warmed up via dancing; while the Time.Light.Color. installation works as a unique sundial. The outdoor performance stage will host a variety of entertainment, from klezmer jams to yoga classes to Ice Pirate Radio broadcasts. In total, 18 different shanties will be heading back to Lake Harriet from January 20 through February 11. You can more news on the project online.

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