Richard Day's picture




    This entire narrative is taken from my own vague memories. I cannot access archives of the Minneapolis Tribune partly because it costs money and partly because the archives available only go back to 1986.

    Once upon a time, I think during the late 70’s and early eighties, I officed in a drab little office with an old wooden desk at the Northwestern National Bank Building in downtown Minneapolis. By the time you reached the third floor of that old building, the offices were generally old and musty with ugly wallpaper and carpeting going back to the 1930’s.

    Oh to be sure there were some rich law firms and other businesses that had refurbished their particular floor, but on the whole the inners of that ancient edifice stunk.

    But I recall the outside of this magnificent structure; a building of 15 floors (or so) made of Minnesota granite. There existed on the outside that early 20th century molding that made the structure look as if it were made of marble instead of granite.

    The first two floors all belonged to the bank, one of two of the largest banking institutions in Minnesota. Northwestern National Bank no longer exists because it was purchased by Wells Fargo years ago.

    Now the events which I relate occurred during the Thanksgiving week-end of 82.

    Back in those days, it was ‘dead’ on Sunday or any big holiday in downtown Minneapolis. I mean dead. There would be almost no vehicles of any kind parked at the meters or in the parking facilities outside or inside.  

    Just as an aside, I recall driving to Chicago in the mid 80’s and seeing a similar site. I drove right into the town square depicted in so many films including The Untouchables and there was not a car on the street on Sunday.

    And it was particularly cold in Minneapolis that weekend, 0 degrees Fahrenheit or worse.

    Anyway, I come to work on Monday and the building HAD BURNED DOWN.  That’s right, a granite edifice mysteriously burned down.

    My office mate, Bob made arrangements through the powers that be to office across the street at a more 50’s type office building owned by the competing bank.

    Tons of litigation ensued. Bob and his old partner who had become a Bankruptcy judge had made a rather strange purchase a decade or so prior to the destruction of the building. They had purchased a quarter share in the land under the building.

    When a great metropolitan edifice is destroyed there are hundreds of different insurance policies involved. And litigation becomes extremely complicated.

    I recall the Feds stepping into the mess besides the State and I am sure litigation went on well into the 80’s and beyond. I recall that the entire series of proceedings were fixed. It was like the entire destruction of that building had been predicted by the powers that be.

    Bob and his old partner ended up getting their initial investment back with no profit. Real estate owned for a period of years prior to 82 brought you lots of money on any other piece of land in Minneapolis at that time; because land values were increasing at an alarming rate.

    Nobody was killed or harmed as a result of that fire; because nobody had been in the building. No security guards were harmed. No wandering office employees were harmed.

    I would imagine that some firemen would have been injured, but I have no recollection of that at all.

    In almost no time at all (a year?) a brand new modern day building stood at that site and I imagine it stands there on this date.

    Within a month of that fire two ‘suspects’ were charged with setting fire to that building.

    In a squib located on page four or five of the Minneapolis Star/Tribune, it was reported that an 11 year old boy and his 13 year old pal were being charged for setting the building on fire with matches.

    I just recall laughing so hard when I read that article that I spit coffee all over my new desk.

    We were supposed to believe that a building with no access on Sundays; a building made of granite and steel and concrete; a monument to the old architecture of stone was somehow burned down by two boys with matches from the outside. Hahahahahahaaha

    And the disaster became an opportunity for the City Fathers to accomplish urban development and make a lot of people a lot of money.

    Now in those days, juveniles were not tried as adults—at least in Minnesota.

    I do not know what happened to the boys except I have a faint memory in some follow up news clipping that they were let off with probation or a very short stay at some juvenile facility.

    There never faced any permanent record.

    I have been doing some research on ‘dirty public officials’ of late.

    I am working on part two of a series that specifically relates to the two juvenile judges in Pennsylvania that plead guilty to monumental graft; the pleas were just accepted in July of this year.

    In 2005, some entrepreneurs purchased some state juvenile facility for peanuts. They then procured low interest loans from the State to refurbish it. Then somehow they sold it back to the State for tens of millions of dollars and leased it back to themselves to run a private juvenile facility.

    These two judges began to sentence juveniles to the new private facility, and received millions in kick backs from the criminals who owned this juvenile center.

    The injury caused by these two crooked judges will take years and years to sort out. I am sure that some plaintiff attorneys are going to make millions of dollars from all this.

    Hundreds if not thousands of kids were irretrievably harmed by the actions of these judges.

    But I came upon this short story that reminded me of my old days in downtown Minneapolis:

    Here’s another story from about four years before the discovery of the thousands of cases of judicial corruption that justify the death penalty for Ciavarella. In this one, cops bribed a 7 year old boy with candy and pizza to get a confession for a fire he couldn’t have possibly set. Further, the victim of the fire, elderly Mr. Benjamin Morris, was known to burn yard waste and debris in his backyard and may have started the fire himself.

    Luzerne County “law enforcement” didn’t bother to question anybody who was taking care of the boy that fateful day. Why bother when you are criminal thugs with badges who already have somebody you can easily blame for a crime and can be cheaply made to self-incriminate?

      After I wrote this I did find the Wiki story on all of this:


    The Minneapolis Thanksgiving Day Fire destroyed an entire block of Downtown Minneapolis on November 25–26, 1982, including the 16-story headquarters of Northwestern National Bank (now Wells Fargo) and the vacant, partially-demolished location formerly occupied by Donaldson's department store, which had recently moved across the street to the new City Center mall. Nobody was injured or killed as a result of the fire.
    The Minneapolis Fire Department quickly determined the cause of the fire as arson.[1] Shortly thereafter, two juveniles were arrested and later convicted of setting the fire, using an acetylene torch found at the partially-demolished Donaldson's site.
    In 1988, Northwestern National Bank (then called Norwest Corporation) constructed a 57-story Cesar Pelli-designed headquarters on the site of the Bank building. The new headquarters is now known as the Wells Fargo Center, after Norwest merged with Wells Fargo. The Donaldson's half of the block is occupied by the Saks Fifth Avenue wing of Gaviidae Common, an upscale shopping mall.



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    Ya' know what DD?

    It sure would be interesting to find those two kids that were charged with the arson. They'd be in their early to mid 30s now. I wonder what their memories would be and what their stories would tell now. Oh well.

    Now as to those two judges(?) in PA? In the Navy they'd never see the light of day outside the brig. And that would be too good a deal for those two s**t heels.

    Thanks for your memories DD ...


    Any time Ducky.

    I really really would like to sit down and have a talk with them.

    This event never made sense--no one died, no one was harmed. This was planned.

    And some torch gizmo found on the floor of Donaldson's means squat.

    Lovely post Dickster.

    Well thank you David!!!

    It is midmorning in Madrid, but you must be way up past your bedtime.

    We had a fire like this in Madrid a few years ago. A major skyscraper burned down at night... nobody hurt. The rumor was the whole thing was burned down because of some incriminating papers in a safe.

    From your side of the Atlantic and mine, I would like to see a serious discussion of insurance.

    Columbus was insured for chrissakes!!!

    Insurers rule the world. And yet they are not always held accountable. ha

    Private prisons & politics

    Governor brewer’s top adviser defends private prisons amid prison escape controversy. 

    Once you get past the commercial.


    Thanks Richard Day, we'll have to keep our eyes on this one


    And Brewer's 'advisor' gets a paycheck from the private prison sector.

    How wonderful!!!

    Good to see you Resistance.

    I read your first installment related to our judiciial system, DD.  After watching Larry Klaymann interviewed concerning his book, "WHORES: Why and How I Came to Fight the Establishment." The interview tweeked my interest and I purchased the book.  I have no liking for Klaymann, but I assume much of what he wrote is credible.  I have held the political system in disdain for decades, but gave the legal system the "benefit of the doubt." I held judges in higher esteem than the average individual.  Klaymann shattered that delusion.  If you get the chance, give it a read. Keep up the excellent blogging my good man!



    Well thanks Chuck. Now I will have to find that book!!!

    Totally fascinating.  Gotta find the two boys somehow.

    Who knows Destor?

    would it not be ironic if we find out that one of them is in top management at Wells-Fargo?


    One of them is selling CDS securities on the new building.  The other is out back with the acetylene torch.

    I'm gonna find those kids, give 'em a brand spankin' new acetylene torch, and set 'em loose on the Headquarters of Wolfrum Inc.

    "Revenge. Best served cold. But a damn fine dish, even warm."

    So they have already begun tearing down Donaldson's which is the only competitor to Daytons aka Target et al.before this all occured.

    And all that money in that bank?

    Yeah the great bank robbery was carried out by a teen and a pre teen. fuck!!!

    So the juvies would have to have gone into the rubble already there, lift up the rubble and then put the torch under it.

    I know it was only the end of November, but we get really cold weather down iin the Twin Cities sometimes. At least in the old days.

    I swear Q some 22 year old intern covered this story, at least in the beginning.


    New meaning to "carrying the torch". hahahahahahahaha


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