By Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

Jeremy Lindman is running for the Legislature, hosting a Republican gubernatorial forum and trying to get a felony removed from his record.

Lindman, a Republican from Lindstrom, said the decade-old felony really should be a misdemeanor.

The way he tells it, his cousin was staying at Lindman’s house in 1995 and got into some trouble: “He got into a fight with his sister’s fiancé at the time. Police came. Asked where everything was, I showed him. There was a non-functioning firearm. It was a prop, did not work. They arrested me, held me for him and then I pled guilty to possession of a short-barreled shotgun as a misdemeanor."

Lindman said he took responsibility for the short-barreled shotgun since it was in his house and served several years probation for what he thought would be listed as a misdemeanor crime.

Twice since then – when he was applying for a job seven or eight years ago and when he was filing his candidacy for state House seat representing district 17B – the crime popped up in records as a felony.

“It was my understanding that it had been taken care of years ago,” he said.

He said he was “very, very shocked” when his campaign discovered it still appeared as a felony when he was filing his campaign finance papers to run against state Rep. Jeremy Kalin, DFL-North Branch.

“It is being cleaned up at the moment,” he said.

Fred Fink, assistant Chisago County attorney, said things are a bit more complicated than that. While the old charge can now be “deemed a misdemeanor,” because Lindman’s prison sentence was stayed and he served his probation, he was still convicted of a felony.

“It was a felony then, it’s a felony now,” said Fink. He also said that the records should still reflect that the original crime was considered a felony and, despite Lindman’s request otherwise, that should still prohibit Lindman from possessing firearms because possession of a short-barreled shotgun is a crime of violence in statutes.

There’s a hearing on the matter on Monday.

But first, Lindman is hosting the Chisago County Republicans’ gubernatorial forum at his house Sunday afternoon.

According an email notice about it, there will be burgers and beans and at least six GOP gubernatorial candidates at the event.

Rep. Marty Seifert, one of the candidates slated to appear at Lindman’s house Sunday afternoon, said he wasn’t aware of Lindman’s background when his campaign accepted the invitation. He said he didn't have "any initial reaction to it.”

Rep. Tom Emmer, another GOP gubernatorial candidate expected at the forum, said he didn’t know about it either and doesn’t do background checks of the folks hosting forum events.

Like Seifert, Emmer said he’s met Lindman a few times.

“From what I know of Jeremy Lindman, he’s a stand up person,” said Emmer.

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