Shakopee City Council Member Jay Whiting demanded Tuesday that Mike Luce resign from the body or at least apologize for making false accusations against him.
Luce responded with stony silence.
Tension between the two council members strained to the breaking point when Luce filed a complaint last month with the Minnesota attorney general’s office alleging that Whiting had misspent money from the Shakopee Heritage Society. Luce, citing anonymous sources, alleged that Whiting got his hands on the cash through his wife, the nonprofit’s treasurer.
Shakopee police quickly found Luce’s claims to be baseless.
At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Whiting spent several minutes refuting the allegations, occasionally jabbing his finger in Luce’s direction.
“It really doesn’t even surprise me that you made up this story to go after me,” Whiting said. But he said he took particular exception to Luce targeting his wife. “They don’t even do that in Washington.”
Luce, who was censured in April for boorish behavior, sat stoic and declined several opportunities to speak.
When asked after the meeting why he stayed mum, Luce quipped: “Because I already said it in the newspaper.”
Mayor Bill Mars characterized Luce’s recent actions as petty.
“You continue to bring a black cloud over Shakopee — a community you say you care about,” Mars said in the meeting. “You’ve cost the city money, and you’re harming our city’s reputation. Councilor, I expect more out of you.”
The public shaming lasted about seven minutes.
Whiting promised, though, to point out Luce’s behavior should he continue to “belittle staff, browbeat citizens, badger businesses or harass any council member or their family.”
However, there is no real further action that can be taken. Luce cannot be recalled under Minnesota law, and he has made it clear that he has no plans to quit.
“He’s here to serve out his time,” Whiting said, “but I’m not sure why.”
In a marathon meeting peppered with drama, Mars and Whiting acknowledged that political turmoil has marred public perception of the southwestern suburb. On Tuesday, the Star Tribune reported that CPM Cos. had bowed out of a $24 million redevelopment project in downtown Shakopee. City staff attributed the deal’s downfall to “bad press” and “political issues.” CPM said it couldn’t make the project financing work.