To the Editor:
Contrary to Toni Wetzel’s assertion at the Aug. 4 Council meeting, conflict of interest (COI) is a situation occurring when an individual or organization is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt what should be the primary motivation. In this case, the primary motivation in reviewing the city’s bank options was to get the highest interest rate and lowest fees from a reputable institution. When the city inexplicably bypassed the best offer, the only conclusion to draw was that a secondary interest existed.
VanRisseghem said she hasn’t done business with Pine Country for many, many years, yet mortgage records at Morrison County show that VanRisseghem’s home was refinanced in 2010 by Pine Country. Her son-in-law is also featured as a “testimonial” on the bank’s website, yet she also denies he ever obtained financing there.
Despite Dan Vogt’s feigned confusion over loans and COI, under the policy in place during his administration at the city of Brainerd, this very circumstance would have not only been deemed a conflict, but would have prevented VanRisseghem and her brother, Councilman Gosiak, from influencing the vote and from voting. — Jody Scott-Olson, Little Falls