Updated:
Original:

Former GOP party executive director says Carnahan's claims about connection to Lazzaro are false

"She will never let the truth see the light of day, because in her narcissistic mind, it would ruin her brand," Andy Aplikowski said.
Jim Hagedorn, Jennifer Carnahan, Anton Lazzaro.

Rep. Jim Hagedorn, Jennifer Carnahan and Anton Lazzaro.

A former Republican Party of Minnesota executive director's newly released allegations about party Chair Jennifer Carnahan casts doubt on her claims about how much she knew about his personal life.

Andy Aplikowski, the former executive director of the Republican Party of Minnesota, released a statement on Twitter at 6 a.m. Thursday detailing his story of "abusive leadership by Jennifer Carnahan and her connections to Anton 'Tony' Lazzaro."

Carnahan has been under pressure since Lazzaro, a political operative and major donor to the party, was arrested and indicted with multiple federal counts of child sex trafficking last week. A second person, 19-year-old Gisela Medina, the chair of the University of St. Thomas College Republicans, was also arrested and charged in connection to the child sex trafficking case

Related [Aug. 13]: Gold, private jets and Ferraris: Arrested GOP strategist Anton Lazzaro's high-flying lifestyle

Lazzaro's relationship with Carnahan was quickly the subject of focus, as it emerged he played her role in her party chair campaign in 2017, attended her wedding in California in 2018, and hosted a podcast with her in 2019.

In the days since Lazzaro was charged, numerous former staffers have detailed alleged sexual misconduct and harassment they were subject to within the GOP under Carnahan's leadership, and claim their complaints went un-addressed.

Related [Aug. 17]: As former staffers share GOP sexual harassment allegations, Jennifer Carnahan says they're out to get her

Carnahan, as a result, has faced calls to resign from many, including elected Republicans and the four most recent executive directors of the state Republican party, including Aplikowski. And Minnesota House Republican leaders have called for an investigation into the claims of harassment and assault

In his two-page statement, Aplikowski said he was breaking his silence to "stand against the lies and distortions from Jennifer Carnahan about the toxic environment she created."

"The only way we can make this right and prevent it from happening again is without Jennifer Carnahan as chair of our party. She will never let the truth see the light of day, because in her narcissistic mind, it would ruin her brand," Aplikowski said. 

Related [Aug. 15]: Jennifer Carnahan speaks out, says she's victim of 'coup' within the GOP

Among the claims in Aplikowski's statement is that Carnahan had an idea that Lazzaro was the subject of media interest as early as July, despite contending this week that she "found out when you guys [the media] found out" about his arrest, and that she "didn't have direct knowledge on the alleged criminal activities."

According to Aplikowski, the Minnesota GOP received an inquiry from Daily Beast reporter Josh Pagliery – who was the first to report the Lazzaro charges on Aug. 12 – in July, when Aplikowski was still the executive director.

Pagliery tweeted this week that he contacted the party in July about Lazzaro, and Aplikowski in his statement confirmed this as true. He said the reporter made an inquiry of July 19 asking about Lazzaro's status as a delegate to the National Convention, and alleges that Carnahan swore him to secrecy about the inquiry and said it wasn't anything to worry about.

"The red flag is, that the public revelation and questions about Lazzaro's 'lifestyle' were not publicly reported on until Aug. 12, 2021 ... So her claim that she was finding out information about his lifestyle along with everyone else in August is questionable at best."

On WCCO Radio Thursday, Apilowski reiterated this, saying: "I think that any claim that she didn't have any idea what was going on and that she learned with the rest of us is patently false."

Related [Aug. 16]: GOP statement on alleged sex harassment sparks new controversy for Jennifer Carnahan

Among the other allegations Aplikowski makes: 

— Lazzaro's name came up in conversation between Applikowski and Carnahan in 2020, and "during the brief discussion I was told by her that 'I would not approve of his lifestyle.'"

— Lazzaro apparently made other financial contributions at Carnahan's request for her campaigns, which were not subject to reporting requirements.

— Apilkowski was paid $10,000 in exchange for signing his non-disclosure agreement, which included a non-disparagement clause. 

"We now know that there have been multiple severance agreements with large payouts but we don't know how many or for how much," Apilkowski said. "This is donor money that could be used to help Republicans but instead Carnahan used donor money to silence former Republican staffers."

Bring Me The News has reached out to the Republican Party of Minnesota for comment on several points Apikowski made in his statement.

Next Up

reproductive rights caucus

Minnesota DFL lawmakers form Reproductive Freedom Caucus

The move comes as some Republicans explore proposals to limit abortion access.

Flickr - child wearing mask close up - Nenad Stojkovic

Counties without K-12 mask mandate see sharper rise in child COVID cases

That's according to a new study released Friday by the CDC.

Police lights

Bloomington woman dies in crash on southwest Twin Cities highway

The collision happened just south of the Minnesota Renaissance Festival grounds.

Wikimedia Commons - COVID vaccine, pfizer, shot - Martin G

Pfizer booster shots immediately available for select Minnesotans

118 fully vaccinated Minnesotans have died from COVID-19.

Gisela Medina Sherburne County Jail - 2021.09.23 - crop 2

19-year-old charged alongside Anton Lazzaro pleads not guilty

She's accused of helping the GOP operative traffic underage girls.

Dalvin Cook

Dalvin Cook misses Vikings practice on Friday

Cook suffered an ankle injury during the Cardinals game.

GetMedia (1)

Gallery: Historic church renovated into home is yours for $248,000

The church-turned-home offers an open floor plan in the heart of Howard Lake.

Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen  - YouTube screengrab

MN GOP Rep. spreads voted fraud disinformation, draws rebuke from SoS

The lawmaker cited a video claiming there are more than 1.2 million "missing" votes.

st. paul shooting

Witnesses help identify suspect in St. Paul shooting

The shooting happened near a gas station and bus shelter Thursday just before 1 p.m.

coronavirus

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, September 24

The next update will be issued on Monday and include data reported on Friday.

ambulance

Man, 24, fatally struck by semi backing onto highway in western MN

The victim was from Waite Park, the State Patrol says.

Related

jennifer carnahan

4 former MN GOP executive directors call on Carnahan to resign

An increasing number of current and former party executives are calling for the embattled chairwoman to step down.

Jim Hagedorn, Jennifer Carnahan, Anton Lazzaro.

Calls for MN GOP chair Jennifer Carnahan to resign over links to Anton Lazzaro

There have been calls from Republicans for Jennifer Carnahan to resign.

Jennifer Carnahan

Jennifer Carnahan speaks out, says she's victim of 'coup' within the GOP

She says that she's victim of "smears" after one of her close confidants, Anton Lazzaro, was indicted for child sex trafficking.

jennifer carnahan

GOP statement on alleged sex harassment sparks new controversy for Carnahan

The statement revealed that Carnahan had been aware of an allegation of sexual misconduct made against a GOP staffer for months.

Screen Shot 2021-08-19 at 9.48.43 AM

GOP House leaders call for investigation into sex harassment, assault claims

They say any leaders who failed in their legal or moral responsibilities should resign or be fired.

jennifer carnahan

Jennifer Carnahan out as MN GOP chair, reportedly gets 3 months severance

In a statement, she blamed 'mob mentality' for her ouster.

Anderson Associates Lazzaro press conference Sept 7 2021 screengrab

Civil lawsuit accuses Lazzaro of being sex trafficking 'ringmaster'

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a teenager and her parents.

Jennifer Carnahan

More GOP sex harassment allegations emerge, Carnahan says victims are out to get her

The Minnesota GOP chairwoman spoke to two radio stations on Tuesday.