Citizens Angry Itasca Co. Chooses Ellison Lawyer; Demands HUGE Salary

Note: Itasca County Patriots should attend the Tuesday, June 11th County Commissioner meeting at 2:30PM and fight the nomination and salary of carpetbagger James Austad.

County Attorneys are elected in Minnesota as nonpartisan offices, however, some very partisan individuals fill these roles. While much of the job can be seen as procedural, there remains a blurred line of discretion that exists between government prosecutors and the citizens. This discretion is a double-edged sword that can lead to just or unjust charges being dropped against an individual. 

At a local level, this highly important office should be controlled by the citizens and residents of the county. Unfortunately, some partisan hacks are able to sneak into office by appointment without true public scrutiny or approval. That is exactly what is happening in Itasca County when former Co. Attorney Matti Adam resigned after she was appointed by Walz to the 9th Judicial District. In her place was an Antifa Keith Ellison employee, James Austad. Below you can see Ellison’s appointment of Austad to be an Assistant Attorney to the AG:

Austad was previously the Co. Attorney of Lake of the Woods making about $115K a year but he quit in 2023 and took a job with Ellison. Austad also used to be an assistant attorney for Itasca, a public defender, and solo practitioner at Austad Law Office. Now he wants to use and abuse Itasca taxpayers, likely to climb the ladder like his predecessor. His sister, Jana Austad, is already a Judge in the 9th District. Austad’s listed employment is in St. Paul and his only listed “real property” on the MN Campaign Finance Board website is a contract for deed located right below the US/Canadian border in Lake of the Woods County! See below: 

How radical is Jim Austad? Well, he publicly endorsed Antifa Keith Ellison's run for AG in 2022! See below:

Itasca County is in northern Minnesota, Iron-range territory, which was once a Democrat stronghold because of the big Union presence at the mines. This was until Trump carried Itasca County in both 2016 and 2020, giving the momentum for Scott Jensen to win it in 2022. It is clear that many of these voters are conservative socially, culturally, and fiscally but they fear their union job is dependent on the party in charge. This is despite the woke environmentalist Democrats being the real threat to their livelihoods. Itasca officials previously felt the heat from voters after agreeing to cover up the 10 Commandments in their jail facility, after initially standing by it. Now, instead of allowing voters with an honest election, a rushed and lazy process has been deciding the next Itasca Attorney with a candidate that the People would likely NOT support. 

In fact, proper legal notice was NOT given for this decision. In legal notices below, you will see NO MENTION of the County Attorney appointment or James Austad! The citizens must be informed of this key decision in a public meeting beforehand, without it, this decision is ILLEGITIMATE! See legal notices below:

Now Austad is demanding a salary increase before he even has the job! Says it is necessary to rebuild office!

Despite the fact that Austad appears to not even live in Itasca County, he is asking for $185K a year! That is higher than every state Executive office, including the Governor! Unfortunately, this is not a new problem for Itasca because previous liberal Co. Attorney, Matti Adam, continually asked for and received pay raises. However, Austad thinks Matti’s salary is too humble for him to start off with and wants $25K more than she made (since her 2023 pay raise). The Itasca Taxpayers Alliance continues to be the leading source in Itasca for exposing this local corruption. 

James Austad was an assistant attorney for radical Democrat Keith Ellison and has faced opposition from the public on several fronts. One Itasca resident, Rae Florek of Taconite, alleges that she was a victim of unconscious rape that the perpetrator (Randall Vannet) admitted to. Florek ultimately won a civil suit awarding her $5,000 in damages. Florek states that Austad reviewed her case in 2019 and decided not to prosecute along with making slanderous comments about her to her lawyer. On June 4th, Austad disputed those claims without specificity

In the May 28th Itasca Co. Commissioners meeting, District 5’s Casey Venema passed out a “scorecard” or rubric that he, Sheriff Joe Dasovich, and local lawyer Chad Sterle used to meet with four candidates who applied for the opening: James Austad, Ast. Co. Attorney Jacob Fauchald, interim Co. Attorney Todd Webb, and former Co. Attorney John Dimich. According to Venema, none of these candidates knew the results of this rubric. Venema admitted that this information should be public, yet it does not appear on the 101 page agenda packet produced by the county for the meetings. 

This secretive document was kept out of sight by other Commissioners until they were handed out during the meeting! We have since requested this document from each County Commissioner. This appears to be a violation of MN Statute 375.08 which states the procedures for filling county vacancies, including a requirement for a one day notice from the Chair to each member personally. This was CLEARLY not done because District 1’s Cory Smith requested information about what the Chair’s (John Johnson’s) intent was to accomplish at this meeting (which was to either accept the nomination or table motion). One would think the nomination of County Attorney should be done WITHIN THE LAW

Johnson noted that an individual must reside in Itasca County on the day they are sworn in, indicating that Austad still does not live in Itasca County! District 1’s Cory Smith raised concerns of only seeing this information for the first time right then and there. District 4’s Burl Ives stated he understood concerns about wanting to “digest” the information first, but then argued the board should move forward and try to see if they can even AFFORD to hire Austad! After Sheriff Dasovich refused to comment and an awkward amount of silence later, Ives made a motion to consider and it was passed 4-1, with Cory Smith voting no. Co. Administrator Brett Skyles was then directed to begin negotiations on James Austad’s overpriced salary…  

Once these negotiations are over, it must be approved by the County Commissioners. This means that Patriots across Itasca can still fight this nomination and get their Commissioner to disapprove of Austad. While there should be an election, state law does require the appointee fill out the remainder of the term. State Legislators should give local control back to the People. In the meantime, Itasca County Commissioners must (1) Reconsider their options (2) Present a public forum for candidates (3) Allow public input and (4) Move forward with a new nomination and reasonable salary. Backroom deals should never be tolerated! If the intent by the Commissioners was done in good faith, they should have no trouble admitting the error of their previous judgment and voters would reward their principled behavior. Ladder climbing, greedy leftists have no business serving in public office!

Itasca Citizens should go to the June 11th meeting this Tuesday and raise their concerns at 2:30PM! Commissioners cannot let their voters down, they can still take the necessary corrective measures!

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • MAGA Jesse Smith
    published this page in News 2024-06-09 21:33:34 -0500