Big names helped bankroll Minneapolis mayor's inaugural ball

  • Article by: ERIC ROPER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 9, 2014 - 8:35 AM

Top donor to Hodges’ “One Minneapolis Inaugural” was Target, which gave $10,000.

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Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges responds to a song by the Minneapolis Gay Men's Chorus during her inauguration party at the historic Thorp Building in Northeast Minneapolis, Saturday, January 11, 2014.

Photo: Ben Brewer, Special to the Star Tribune

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Unions, law firms, development interests and sports teams supplied most of the funding for Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges’ inaugural party in January.

The donations were posted online by the Internal Revenue Service in May, despite promises from the campaign that the list of donors would be released following the event. A poster containing the logos of top donors was posted at the event, however.

A shorter list of donors, who contributed in 2013, was posted in March. A campaign representative said that part of the delay could be attributed to the time spent actually collecting donations from organizations who had made commitments.

Between the two donor lists, about $151,000 was raised for the “One Minneapolis Inaugural” in northeast Minneapolis, which cost nothing to attend and featured food from local restaurants, live music from artist Chastity Brown and other performances.

The top donor was Target Corp., which gave $10,000.

Seventeen donors contributed $5,000. They included the Minnesota Vikings, the Minnesota Twins, the Minnesota Timberwolves, Xcel Energy, Opus Group (a developer), AEG Management, Doran Construction Co., Mortenson Construction and Meet Minneapolis.

Several major donors have business before the city. Among the most unusual of those is a $2,500 donation from California-based Lyft Inc., a transportation service that is seeking to be regulated differently from taxis.

Xcel Energy is negotiating a new franchise agreement that expires at the end of this year. AEG and the Timberwolves are working with the city on a joint project to overhaul the city-owned Target Center.

Doran sought unsuccessfully in January the right to demolish a building to erect a six-story hotel in Dinkytown. Medica, which gave $2,500, insures the city’s health care plan. Mortenson sought unsuccessfully this winter to win air rights to develop above a new stadium-area parking ramp downtown. Several of the contributing law firms do legal and lobbying work for the city.

Unions included AFSCME, SEIU, carpenters, electrical workers, pipe fitters, building and constructions trades, engineers, sheet metal workers and the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation.

Other notable names among the donor list of about 50 people and organizations included Eric and Andrew Dayton, sons of the governor, who each gave $1,000.

As for expenses, about $30,000 went to Minneapolis-based audio production company Slamhammer Audio. Another $13,000 was given to Medina-based StageCall Inc., which does not appear to have a functioning website. Another $4,000 was paid to Ultimate Events for event production. Event planner Pablo Jones made $7,500.

The building cost $16,000 to rent. Catering cost approximately $17,600.

Hodges broke with her predecessors by not charging guests to attend her first-term inaugural bash, held at the Thorp Building in northeast Minneapolis.

In 2002, Rybak charged $125 a plate for dinner or $25 for dessert and coffee. In 1994, new Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton charged $25 for a dinner and dance at the Minneapolis Hilton.

 

Eric Roper • 612-673-1732

Twitter: @StribRoper

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