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Disparaging fliers litter Minneapolis city council race

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Inflammatory fliers critical of incumbent Minneapolis Councilman Robert Lilligren were a last-minute distraction in the Ward 6 City Council race.

The fliers, found on car windshields around Stevens Square on Tuesday afternoon, were denounced by Lilligren's opponent Abdi Warsame, who says he had nothing to do with them, the Star Tribune reported.

"We firmly denounce these tactics and affirm that the "Vote Warsame for Ward 6" campaign had nothing to do with it. We condemn the pamphlet and we are appalled that Abdi Warsame's name was used on it," the Warsame campaign said on its Facebook page.

The fliers made vague, unsupported and disparaging claims about Lilligren, including: "discriminates against minorities and immigrants." CityPages has a photo that shows the copy on the fliers.

“It’s unfortunate that our candidates and their supporters feel the need to go so negative here at the end," Lilligren campaign manager Trista Schwind told the Star Tribune.

The fliers claim to have been created by a group affiliated with Basim Sabri, a developer who once went to prison for bribing a city council member in a real estate deal. In more recent years, he's had more tangles with city officials – "a repeat offender of disregarding not just our ordinances, but the building code," one said.

On Facebook, the Warsame campaign called Sabri and his political action committee "disgusting."

Warsame is vying to be the highest-elected American of Somali descent in the state. He has said there has been a "lack of representation for the ethnic minorities of the city, in particular the East African community," in the city.

Lilligren told MPR News, “I’m running on a platform about strong neighborhoods, safe communities, creating jobs, especially green jobs, working with small businesses, and representing a very diverse core city ward with a really entrepreneurial constituency."

Lilligren and Warsame have tussled before. Last spring, Lilligren challenged Warsame's campaign, alleging that Warsame's supporters intimidated and harassed DFL caucus attendees.

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