Denny Hecker tells me he and his girlfriend, Christi Rowan, left the Ridgedale branch of the Hennepin County Courts with a five-day waiver form -- not an application for a marriage license.
"When you make application for a marriage, you can't immediately go out and get married, you have to wait five days," Kathy Schons, Hennepin County service center division manager, told me Thursday. "If you don't want to wait five days, you have to get a five-day waiver, which means you have to go to a judge and they have to sign the form that says you can get married as soon as the judge says you can. That's not a decision made by the county service center. That comes from a judge."
Hecker claims they got the waiver form signed by a judge.
That explains why there was no record in Hennepin County of Hecker and Rowan having filed a marriage application, although there were many media inquiries on the matter after KSTP.com's headline: "Hecker, Girlfriend Get Marriage License Application Before Prison."
Hecker said they picked up the waiver form the morning of Sept. 7, hours before the fallen auto mogul went to U.S. District Court to admit guilt to fraud and conspiracy charges. Both charges carry a maximum of five years in prison, so Hecker could be looking at a sentence of up to 10 years. The plea bargain saved Hecker the risk of being convicted on a host of charges, the sentences for which could have been much greater than 10 years.
Rowan, who turned government witness, also pleaded guilty to fraud charges and like her man-friend is awaiting sentencing. On Thursday, the government filed a third superseding indictment against Hecker co-conspirator Steve Leach.
Knowing Hecker, he'll be out on good behavior as soon as that is possible. And while inside, Hecker will probably be running the joint, although it won't look like he is.
Hecker asked me, "If we were in a coffee shop and you were my best friend," what would my advice be after hearing that "Christi and I have had a long relationship and have discussed many things, including marriage. What would you do?"
I probably wouldn't get married for a second time, so it goes without saying that I would not TAKE THE FIFTH in this manner. "You're tougher than I am," said Hecker. "Do we have a good relationship? Yeah. If there's any good news, I'll tell you."
KSTP-TV on Thursday reported, so far inaccurately, that Hecker is tying the knot for the fifth time, even though he texted these words to the station's reporter: "No date set. Nothing planned."
Hecker told me, "The guy [from KSTP] sent me a text Why are you getting married? I responded 'Why did you get married?' and he didn't respond anymore after that." Hecker wonders why.
Hecker thought KSTP's attaching a blank copy of a marriage license form to its story was rather silly. "This is what an application looks like," said a bemused Hecker. "The guy at KSTP must have no news to write, and the Enquirer was closed for stories so he took mine."
Hecker really should write a book; he can be funny.
Months ago, when were having one of our wide-ranging conversations that veered off the subject about which I'd called, we talked about his marriage track record. I told him he shouldn't get married again because he's shown no aptitude for knowing how to pick 'em (although he's gotten some really nice kids out of the unions, according to people who know the children).
The love story, as told by Hecker to me and Fancy Ray over Punch pizza, that led to Hecker marrying his fourth wife, Tamitha, made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. But it was entertaining.
Nothing surprises me with Hecker. Only time will tell how hopeless a romantic Hecker is.
But if he and Rowan take this plunge, that $30,000 guard dog should have to walk that ring down the aisle.
C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or firstname.lastname@example.org. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on FOX 9 Thursday mornings.