Rochester's Senjem feuds with Dayton civic center funding


Rochester state Sen. David Senjem claims that in 2012, his hometown Mayo Civic Center lost out on a grant because of political gamesmanship by Gov. Mark Dayton. Now the claim has erupted into a verbal battle between the two.

The Rochester Post-Bulletin gets in on the action, with Senjem telling the paper that Dayton demanded that expansion of the civic center be ranked lower on a list of projects, an allegation the governor's office calls "dishonest" and "shameful."

Senjem, a Republican who at the time was the Senate Majority Leader, talks about some $47.5 million that was to go toward various projects, and the Mayo center was at the top of the list. Dayton wanted that changed, Senjem claims, and one state commissioner resigned over the snafu, according to the paper.

In the end, reports the Post-Bulletin, the Mayo Civic Center missed out on $25 million that went instead to the proposed St. Paul Saints ballpark in St. Paul.

MinnPost reports that the governor's office quickly refuted the claims, saying Senjem didn't support his own city's request.

Senjem says the Governor, in closed-door dealings, promised the funding would go to the Saints ballpark in exchange for five votes he wanted for a vote on the new Vikings Stadium.

In a written statement, according to MinnPost, Dayton's spokesman says, "Senator Senjem's accusations are completely untrue. Governor Dayton had no involvement in the review or rating of projects ... nor did he in any way alter their rankings."

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