DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) – Mayor Chris Swanson wants to make Two Harbors a tourist destination and his plans include undersea passenger travel and an undersea hotel.
To get there, he got in touch with a possible investor, a reclusive billionaire named MO
According to Mr. O’s lawyer Bret Rawson, the billionaire personally consults with the mayor but does not work with any municipal organization.
“We want to assure you that his involvement is exactly what it is meant to be and that is as a personal business consultant to the mayor,” said MO attorney Bret Rawson.
Rawson said the mayor hired Mr. O with his own money.
“No money has been requested from the city and my client does not want it. He is giving advice to a mayor who wants to stimulate economic development in this area,” Rawson said.
Members of the city council spoke on Friday, ensuring that this distinction is clear.
“Rest assured that the City of Two Harbors will not engage in a project with an unnamed individual,” said Robin Glaser, Vice President of Two Harbors City Council.
Although they spoke on Friday, most council members did not speak during or after Thursday night’s meeting.
“It was a difficult situation for all of us. I don’t think anyone wants to make statements at this point,” Glaser said.
The meeting focused on the mayor’s efforts to attract investors, including the use of his official Twitter account.
Mayor Swanson has proposed that the Minnesota Attorney General decide if he broke any rules.
The mayor is confident in the result.
“I know the law and I know our policy on conflicts of interest, and I have studied a lot of what mayors can communicate on Twitter. So I understand the rules and I know that I have not broken any rules ” , Swanson said.
According to Mayor Swanson, Mr O could potentially invest $400 million in future tourism projects in the Two Harbors area.
Mr. O’s lawyer and the vice-president of the city council said that Mr. O does not work with any municipal organization.
Mr. O’s attorney also said his client attended a meeting of the Two Harbors Economic Development Association remotely, but that was as a consultant, paid personally by Mayor Swanson.
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