Letter: External investigation needs to be conducted

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, August 24, 2021

There are many small businesses in Albert Lea. Most proprietors have worked extremely hard to build their businesses in order to provide income and to build financial security for themselves and their families. Through their hard work and sacrifice, in addition to generating an income, they have created an asset with real value in much the same way people build equity in their homes. It’s called sweat equity. It seems unfair that one individual could come along and unilaterally decide to not only hamper a business owner’s ability to earn an income, but also wipe out the value of their investment. Can you imagine if you worked hard over the years and built up, say $200,000 or a quarter of a million dollars of equity in your home only to have a city manager came along and, for no good readily apparent rational reason, make a decision that renders your investment in your home worthless. Take a moment to think about that and personalize it. That is exactly what the Albert Lea city manager did to Lisa Hanson and her business (The Interchange) with regard to the city’s lease agreement with her. It seems totally inappropriate that one unelected individual should have that level of power over a private citizen and her property.

While there appears to be a specific faction within the city including the Albert Lea City Manager (Ian Rigg) and the City Attorney (Kelly Martinez) who are intentionally acting in a spirit of vengeance toward Ms. Hanson, every representative of the city from the mayor to City Council members bears some level of culpability.

I can understand how appearances might lead some to dismiss all of this as being part of a conspiracy theory. This issue, however, should by all means be taken seriously. As one who has intimate first-hand knowledge of the issues, I am calling on the City Council to initiate an external investigation into the entire process that got us to this point so that facts can be established and verified, and that parties be held accountable.

Bernie Koslosky