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Mpls. contractor gets time, must pay

  • Article by: JANE FRIEDMANN
  • Star Tribune
  • August 27, 2009 - 8:58 PM

A contractor accused of terrorizing his neighbors over a zoning dispute must pay $4,597 in restitution and refrain from having any more contact with them, Hennepin County Judge Daniel Moreno ruled Thursday.

Jeffrey Morgan Groves, 41, pleaded guilty last month to disorderly conduct and violating a restraining order that was supposed to protect Barbara Fogel, who lived across the street from Groves in Minneapolis' Lowry Hill neighborhood.

Fogel and her husband, Jimmy, were targeted by Groves after the couple complained that he was illegally operating a contractor's yard on his girlfriends' property in the residential area. Groves must pay $1,675 for twice keying their Range Rover and for smearing feces on their house and other property. He also agreed to pay almost $3,000 for their broken front window.

Groves was sentenced to one year in prison, but he won't have to serve more than 180 days in a workhouse as long as he complies with the terms of his probation.

Groves must have no future contact with the Fogels, including telephone calls or messages by "carrier pigeon," Moreno ordered.

"I take full responsibility for making bad decisions, and I want to view the future in a positive light,'' Groves said at his sentencing hearing.

In a victim impact statement, Barbara Fogel claimed Groves caused more than $35,000 damage to her family's property. Her plight was the subject of a Whistleblower column in January.

"I've lived in this neighborhood for 33 years and I have never been more afraid of anyone. I don't feel safe," Fogel said after the hearing.

Groves also was sentenced on two unrelated felony counts of receiving stolen property and two counts of driving after his license had been revoked. He must submit to a psychological evaluation and random drug tests, and agree to complete an anger management or cognitive skills program.

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