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Meidinger Acquittal Questions Kooiker Anti-Corruption Campaign?

Rapid City mayoral candidate Sam Kooiker and his supporters have made great hay out of exposing fraud in city government. Referring to allegations of fraud at the city landfill, former mayor Keith Carlyle says in a May 16 endorsement letter, "Very soon we will find out from the 7th Judicial Circuit Court whether [current Rapid City mayor] Alan Hanks is either grossly incompetent or possible guilty of obstruction of justice."

The court has made its first pronouncement on that issue: not guilty.

Almost two years after he lost his job, accused of helping Fish Garbage Service cheat Rapid City, Randall Meidinger achieved a measure of vindication Thursday.

After less than three hours of deliberation, a jury of three men and nine women found the 43-year-old Meidinger not guilty of two counts of grand theft and four counts of forgery.

"Today, the system worked," Meidinger's lead attorney, Paul Winter, said before pausing to compose himself.

"When 12 objective peers of my client finally had a chance to hear the facts -- even as limited as the state tried to make them -- they were able to vindicate him, find him innocent and exonerate his name," Winter said [Andrea J. Cook, "First Fish Garbage Trial Ends in Acquittal," Rapid City Journal, 2011.05.20].

The state seems to have bailed on this first trial, suggesting either that they don't have a case or that they have bigger Fish Garbage-men to fry.

But as it stands in the eyes of Justice, Kooiker appears to have built a campaign against Hanks on charges of corruption that haven't panned out. With two weeks to go until the mayoral election, it will be interesting to see whether Kooiker retools his message on this issue.


  1. mike 2011.05.23

    This campaign is reminding me of all the anti Rounds talk that went around certain GOP circles until Daugaard won the primary and the bashers were forced to realized no one else was listening.

  2. BobJones 2011.05.23

    "Kooiker appears to have built a campaign against Hanks on charges of corruption that haven’t panned out. "

    If you were paying attention to the trial (which you clearly were not) you would understand that the one thing the Prosecution and the Defense agreed upon was that there were very serious problems at the landfill which cost the taxpayers gobs of lost revenue. They only disagreed on whose fault it was. Bottom line, Hanks allowed mismanagement at the landfill to continue for years. That's poor leadership which will result in his own termination on June 7. This is all about Hanks, not Sam.

  3. Thad Wasson 2011.05.24

    Hanks and his incompentent underling Jerry Wright are the ones who should be on trial. They sat by for years without an audit of the landfill while Fish Garbage dumped for free.

    Kooiker stood up for the city taxpayers and put an end to this robbery.

  4. mike 2011.05.24

    While I find the Fish Garbage thing wrong I will say we often have a tendancy in politics to blame people who don't really share any of the blame. Just cause Hanks is mayor doesn't mean he had any idea that this kind of stuff was going on. Oh yeah and it was solved now.

    Hanks will win handily.

  5. mike 2011.05.24

    Kooiker obviously has a deeper dislike of Hanks than this issue. I can't say what it is but it's on a personal level and that is why I say Kooiker looses. Nobody dislikes Hanks as much as Kooiker.

  6. BobJones 2011.05.24

    Only a Hanks supporter could support Hanks when he pledges to run a clean campaign and in the 11th hour runs a smear campaign and openly violates his own pledge. I know that will happen again this time. The difference is that now the majority of voters know what to expect from Hanks. Early voting is way up because people are energized to vote for Sam. It's nothing personal folks. It's just business. Now you can get back to your liberal flabberjabber and cry all the way to the polls. It's going to be like November all over again, only sweeter because it's local.

  7. mike 2011.05.25

    Sam Kooiker comes across as a snot to me when I've seen him at events. I don't know Hanks but he doesn't seem to have his nose in the air like Kooiker. I could be wrong but that was my impression when I've been around the two. Hanks always seems happy to say hi while Kooiker seems to be brooding with dislike of certain groups.

  8. BobJones 2011.05.27

    "Sam Kooiker comes across as a snot to me when I’ve seen him at events."

    OK, stop making things up. I've been to nearly every single debate. And I've known Sam for years. Sam is always smiling and mingling in the crowd with everyone. Sam is the one candidate who does not discriminate against anyone. Everyone is on equal footing with Sam. I have never seen him once look down his nose at anyone. If you call Sam, he will have you on the phone within 30 minutes to talk to you about your issues. You don't need a bank account with six figures to get a meeting with Sam. The whole reason this community backs Sam so strongly is because of how open and honest and genuinely nice he is to everyone. Unlike me. So please take your retarded "snot" comment and shove it.

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