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In a case that threatens to unseat her, allegations made public Wednesday say Hennepin County District Judge Patricia Kerr Karasov lied about living outside her district, took improper tax breaks for an Edina townhouse and did not cooperate with investigators from the state Board on Judicial Standards.
A complaint brought by the board alleges that she violated the state Constitution by living in a Chisago City lake home from April 2008 until about a year ago, when she started living part time in a Minneapolis apartment.
The Constitution requires that judges live in the districts they serve. Karasov works in the Fourth Judicial District; Chisago City is in the 10th.
The complaint goes on to charge Karasov with violations of the Minnesota Code of Judicial Conduct for the tax matter and for her response to the residency investigation.
The state Supreme Court is expected to appoint a three-judge panel to hear the complaint. Karasov, through the response filed by her attorney, Mark Gehan, denied the charges and said the case is "made up of hearsay upon hearsay, gossip, innuendo and rumor repeated by an ex-husband's wife, whose motivations are unknown."
Karasov, whose ex-husband is Hennepin County District Judge Fred Karasov, has served as a District Court judge since 1995.
Patricia Kerr Karasov purchased a Chisago City home in 2007 and soon moved most of her belongings there, according to the complaint. She listed her Edina townhouse in June 2008, but when the property didn't sell, she rented it out on a one-year lease beginning July 1, 2009. Someone complained to the Board on Judicial Standards in September 2009, initiating the residency investigation. An investigator contacted Karasov that month.
Karasov on Oct. 1, 2009, signed a lease to share a Minneapolis apartment with her daughter, who had a roommate. Karasov paid $25 of the $830 rent, according to the complaint.
The daughter told the property manager that Judge Karasov probably would stay there only in bad weather, according to the complaint. The daughter later sued the other roommate for failure to pay rent, a dispute that landed them on the television show "Judge Judy." In an episode that aired May 18, Karasov's daughter said Judge Karasov did not often stay at the apartment, according to the complaint.
On Nov. 24 Karasov contacted the attorneys handling the residency investigation and stated, "I have not lived outside the district," according to the complaint.
Karasov improperly took property tax breaks on her Edina townhouse in 2009 by claiming homestead status despite not living there, according to the complaint. Karasov also delayed the investigation by refusing to properly fill out authorization forms that would allow the investigators to review her credit card statements, the complaint said.
A 'nonintentional delay'
In an Aug. 3 interview with the board's attorney, Douglas A. Kelley, Karasov said she lived outside her district from July 1, 2009, to about the third week of September that year. That stretch of time was a "nonintentional, short and temporary delay in finding housing within her district," her attorney Gehan wrote in the response.
After the first Minneapolis apartment, Karasov moved to an Edina apartment in January and then to her Edina townhouse on July 1, according to her response.
She occupied the Edina townhouse for the first six months of 2009, making her eligible for the homestead exemption, Gehan said, adding that Karasov cooperated fully with the board's investigation.
Matt McKinney • 612-217-1747