Convicted Maple Grove City Council member returns amid protests


Maple Grove City Council Member LeAnn Sargent returned to the council Monday night to find local residents asking for her resignation, but she's still not giving any indication that she'll step down, the Star Tribune reports.

The call for the resignation of Sargent, 63, comes after the longtime council member spent 60 days in the Hennepin County workhouse after she pleaded guilty to one felony count of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult in February.

However, the judge in the case gave her a lesser sentence because, among other reasons, she was on the Maple Grove City Council, the Star Tribune reported. If Sargent had received a felony sentence, she would have become ineligible to serve in public office.

According to WCCO, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Sargent had power of attorney for her sick father, and took more than $153,000 from the man from 2008 until his death in March 2012.

The Star Tribune says about 50 people attended Monday night's meeting, and protestors held up signs that had such phrases as "You must go!" and "We have enough felons in D.C. and St. Paul."

Sargent reportedly did not respond to the signs, and refused to speak after the meeting. She has previously insisted she’ll continue to serve until her term ends on Dec. 31, 2016.

KARE 11 says a barrage of speakers addressed Sargent in an open forum at the meeting. One said, "Please do the right thing and resign. If you don't we're prepared for a protracted public battle."

The station says only one person supported Sargent, saying it "matters" that she's served 23 years on the council.

City council members also expressed their anger at the meeting, and Sargent got in a confrontation with one of them after the meeting, KARE says.

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office filed an appeal with the state Court of Appeals last month in an effort to oust Sargent. Citizens have also formed the Facebook group Unseat LeAnn Sargent to apply pressure on the city council member.

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