I have written about forty-two blog posts trying to explain what Dickinson, North Dakota is like. Maybe some of the people who have read my blog don’t believe me. Please, please read the Dickinson Press newspaper article dated October 6, 2015 titled, “Dickinson mayor Dennis Johnson resigning at the end of October.”
Dennis Johnson became mayor of Dickinson in year 2000. According to my research, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of MDU in 2001. MDU, Montana Dakota Utilities is a a large utility company that provides electric and gas service in North Dakota. MDU also owns a construction company called Knife River Construction.
I would have thought back in 2001, that being mayor of Dickinson, and being on the board of directors of MDU, would probably lead to conflict of interest accusations and suspicion.
In about 2013, MDU began constructing a refinery in Dickinson, called the Dakota Prairie Refinery. Again, I would have thought people in North Dakota would have thought that Dennis Johnson as mayor, was not able to be neutral, objective, and unbiased concerning MDU’s activities in Dickinson.
In approximately 2014, Knife River Construction was awarded a large road construction project on State Avenue in Dickinson. There are several civil construction companies in Dickinson: Northern Improvement, Martin Construction, Tooz Construction, Baranko Brothers. Did a citizen, a city council member, or a construction company owner finally say, or make the accusation that there was something corrupt going on?
In the Dickinson Press newspaper article, Dennis Johnson said that he was resigning as mayor of Dickinson because MDU stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and the New York Stock Exchange has a rule that you can’t be a government official and be on the board of directors of a company that does more than 2% of that government entity’s business.
My personal opinion is that Dennis Johnson’s increased status as mayor of Dickinson in 2000, probably increased his potential for being appointed to the board of directors of MDU in 2001. Being on the board of directors of MDU probably helped Dennis Johnson be re-elected mayor several times. Being mayor of Dickinson and being on the board of directors of MDU probably also helped Dennis Johnson’s company, TMI cabinets, a manufacturer of cabinetry for institutions and facilities like schools and hospitals.
There are some other things that I would like to say, that I was told by people who are in a position to know, that I believe are true, that Dennis Johnson is a large stockholder in MDU. How can you be mayor of Dickinson, where MDU is building a refinery, and Knife River Construction is awarded a large road improvement project, and appear that you are not personally benefiting every time an employee of the City of Dickinson makes a decision favorable to MDU or Knife River Construction? Did City of Dickinson employees, city council members, and business owners feel pressure to give MDU and Knife River construction preferential treatment in order to not get on the bad side of the mayor, or win favor with the mayor?
I encourage readers to go look up other news articles about the City of Dickinson, in particular articles related to the arrest of the Trinity High School principal and his coerced confession, and also news articles about illegal practices at Dickinson State University. You will get a much better understanding of Dickinson.