Skip to main content

Watch: Forest Lake mayor calls planning commissioner 'piece of s---' during council meeting

The heated exchange happened on Monday evening.

An exchange between Forest Lake's mayor and its planning commissioner turned nasty on Monday evening.

The five-minute exchange at the start of the meeting saw Planning Commissioner Eric Langness accus Mayor Ben Winnick of "cowardice," before Winnick ended the exchange by calling Langness a "piece of s---."

You can see the brief exchange above, and the full exchange at the bottom of this page.

What was it about?

The dispute relates to the city council voting against allowing a clinic to provide children's mental health services in the city, something the planning commission had recommended they approve.

At an earlier meeting, Langness objected to Winnick calling out his commission and its staff for not doing their jobs properly. This prompted Winnick to accuse Langness of using his "bully pulpit" to call him out, as MPR reports.

Today's Top Stories

– What Minnesota projects were approved in the infrastructure bill?

– 90-degree days, storms heading for Minnesota.

– Sign up for our daily newsletters.

At Monday's meeting, Langness said: "I'm going to make the record crystal clear for you given you chose to tell lies about me during those few minutes.

"During my comments in the planning commission, I specifically said that the children's mental health facility and the associated tax amendment vote were the power of council and I respect it's your decision."

The debate unraveled, with both speaking over each other before Langness said: "For someone who has showed such cowardice behavior to our community in recent times you have a lot of nerve to call me a liar."

"You're really, really pushing it Eric," Winnick said. "We'll see you sometime when you're not in here. We'll see who's a coward then, you piece of s---."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, that's over the line," council member Mara Bain then told the mayor.

The fallout

There may be more to the argument than just resentment over the mental health vote, with KARE 11 reporting that Winnick claims it's because he didn't appoint Langness to the city council when a vacant spot opened up.

Langness is now considering filing a police report for threatening behavior, and has called on Winnick to resign.

Speaking to the Pioneer Press on Tuesday, Winnick said Langness had been "lashing out like a child" at him since he didn't appoint Langness to the empty seat.

But he admitted he lost his temper and apologized.  "I shouldn’t have said those things in a council meeting. … I got frustrated. It’s not how I behave. It’s not how I expect others to behave."

Next Up

Screen Shot 2020-06-16 at 7.48.35 AM

Man gets 10 years for fatal pawn shop fire during Minneapolis riots

The incident, which took place during riots in May 2020,  resulted in one man's death.

Rep. Ilhan Omar

Election officials dismiss conservative group's complaint against Rep. Ilhan Omar

The group alleged that she used campaign funds on her future husband's consulting firm.

Screen Shot 2022-01-15 at 9.53.04 AM

Reports: 6 names surface in Vikings' search for new head coach

Six names have surfaced Saturday in the Minnesota Vikings' hunt for a new head coach.

Pexels - face mask covid holding

Minnetonka approves mask mandate in emergency ordinance

The mandate officially goes into effect Monday night.

snow, measuring snow, snow totals

Here are the snow totals from Friday's winter storm in Minnesota

There was a sharp gradient around the Twin Cities, with the highest amounts in southwestern Minnesota.

Mats Zuccarello

Zuccarello scores twice, Wild win third straight

A team effort helped Minnesota dispatch the Ducks.

Rep. Tou Xiong

State lawmaker Tou Xiong apologizes after driving under the influence

The state representative was pulled over on the night of Jan. 8.

St Lukes Duluth GSV Pro

Duluth hospital requiring visitors to show vax proof, neg. test

The health care system is also tightening visitor guidelines.

ridgeview urgent care facebook

Ridgeview halting urgent care at a Twin Cities site 'until further notice'

The organization cited "growing emergency medical needs" at the facility.

polley freeborn county jail roster jan 2022 resize

Charges: MN high school counselor sexually assaulted student

The 16-year-old victim had regularly gone to him for academic help and other support, authorities say.

Proctor football

Proctor investigation: Senior charged with sexually assaulting teammate

The criminal charges come after a monthslong review of the allegations.

Screen Shot 2020-04-28 at 9.07.41 PM

Ordway will require vaccinated audience members also be boosted

If someone has not gotten a booster shot, they will have to show a negative COVID test.

Related

Race for Minneapolis mayor: Here's what the 6 candidates are standing for

Six candidates faced off in a mayoral forum Wednesday – here's what they're standing for and what they said.

5 things to know about the new mayor of Minneapolis

Jacob Frey replaces the incumbent Betsy Hodges.

Watch: Things accidentally got sexual between Rick Perry and Al Franken today

A moment of levity from an otherwise serious confirmation hearing.

Petition calls for Maple Grove to reverse its decision blocking Portillo's from opening

Some Twin Cities residents weren't happy with Maple Grove's decision to block Portillo's attempt to open its second Minnesota location.

Since her mayoral reign ended, Betsy Hodges has taken the fight to Twitter trolls

The former mayor of Minneapolis isn't carrying the weight of the office on her shoulders.

Tom Emmer makes the best hotdish in Congress

The Congressman wowed with his Hotdish of Champions recipe.

Former St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman suspends his run for governor

Coleman finished 5th in the DFL precinct caucuses straw poll.

Yours to own, a unique piece of Super Bowl history

The Salvation Army is holding a charity auction that runs till Tuesday.