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The Saturday press. (Minneapolis, Minn.) 1927-1936, April 13, 1935, Image 4

Image and text provided by Minnesota Historical Society; Saint Paul, MN

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90060332/1935-04-13/ed-1/seq-4/

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Highway Department Oil Contracts
That Smell To tligli Heaven
Attempts by Investigator For SATURDAY PRESS to Secure Copies of Oil
Contracts From State Highway Department Throws Erickson's Assistant
Into the Acute Jittery Stage. One Look at the Contracts And the Jitter
. Influcnxa Germ is Isolated.
> They Are Scarcely a “Gentlemen’s Agreement’’—Merely a
, • ‘ ‘Scrap of floper” That May Hide Anything From a Circus
TieJceVtp tha Deficit. Let Senate Committee Subpena
. THOSE Records and Watch the Worms Squirm!
By Nomad
We have it on good autliority
that the mention of oil contracts
inside the doors of the offices of
the Commissioner of Purchases,
C. R., Erickson, , promptly and
.?£apgely, .excites jitters. Of
, course >tate contracts, .because of
public policy, are to be kept as
publfc records, but there seems
to be special, dispensation relat
ing tp these oil contracts. They
are ,Hept hi guarded custody by
the assistant to Erickson who
niakes strangers produce excep
tional credentials before permit
ting the privilege of perusal.
The unusual precaution taken
, .before. showing the contracts
t to the extent, in one case, of
, v calling the chief of the criminal
apprehension bureau for a, per-
Sonal identification of the party
. applying. Tactics which serve
. to increase the interest, wiien one
... considers the legal right, is, that
«. public documents be made acces
. sible simply on request of citi
It has been the practice of the
State purchasing agent to divide
his lubricating oil purchases for
*. the highway department’s yearly
requirements among three oil
companies in a manner unfair to
...that general business group; and
{Constituting illegal conspiracy to
violate the law relative to com
..petitive bidding for purchases
, over five hundred dollars; re
. suiting, in defrauding the state
.j out of large sums of money.
One of the. three .contracts for
v last year’s is repro
...duced,elsewhere in these columns
for .reference.
,ibe Minnesota Oil & Refining
. Andy .McGlynn . represented
Co., which is, a. subsidiary of the
Barnsdall Oil &• Refining Co. The
. records, establish a,well defined
habit ~in . awarding McGtynn’s
sußswimeN <blank
MimwilwHi) Mian 1
Ijtoar B^r*:
Eneloqig find |I.OO for 6 M«bA« fobtriptfon.
fljd, JMO j«r 1 *•*’s SoktenpUoa.
Vfy Bnhm riytion to begin with current iaiue.
v Data _ , 1906
N*p« ~~
* id F * tw» «rr r«. > f • * '•
•. * •®» *■■■— ■ i, ■■■— ■■■ ■■
.v.- ■■-.,•■ > . n ■■' ■»■-■
company a yearly slice, well
In this, contract the seller agrees
to sell the amount used in ten
certain project districts within
the period of one, year, the oil
being. identified by only trade
names “at the prices designated
on attached sheet.”
A glance at that attached sheet
excites, suspicion. No signers ap
pear on it and signatures belong
at the end. of a contract when
every thing is intended to be
above-board. They appear at
the bottom of the first page only,
and on the second page, the at
tached sheet, are prices and speci
fications, items which represent
what is generally thought to be
of sufficient materiality to cor
ral inside of the contract’s sig
nature-boundary, Perhaps they
were not corralled because of the
agility of those items, then, or
anticipated future agility.
And the attached sheet is not
attached but merely dipped. This
sheet, not signed and not prov
ably attached, .conveys the impor
tant interests or considerations
of both parties in the contract,
namely, the price rate and the
specifications. These items can
be in no way termed after
thoughts, because their impor
tance would blot out the compar
atively small detail of re-writing
the contract properly (or at least
signed as codicils) and because
the files show that the purchasing
agent has been regularly draw
ing up, such unsigned attached
skeat-type of contract.
Erickson acts not. personally
on those contracts but as. agent
for the unconscious state. The
explanation for .using attached
sheets for prices and specifica
tions is that the agent and the
, oil company are of one mind
which, they may later wish to
change without awakening the
state via a new attached sheet.
As they always agree, and at the
expense of the state, it is not
necessary to anticipate the devel
opment of any situation which
would require proof that the at
tached sheet was a part of the
The attached sheet lacks any
specification of quantity. No
round numbers outline what the
lot basis was for fixing the per
gallon price. Nothing about it
on either page. The price quoted
is top for the smallest trader in
single drum lots and still, liidden
over on page one is the unassum
ing provision for the oil used in
ten districts during one year.
That consumption equals thirty
thousand gallons annually, which
is some substantial lot, in any
man’s language, upon which to
command low per barrel prices
But think how sweet the
thought to a seller to close a
deal for thirty thousand gallons
at the price going in single arum
lots? At any rate it would be
sweet in a legitimate deal wpere
there was “nothing off the top.”
Incidentally, the Barnsdall Co.
is quoting its “Be Square”. Motor
Oils at almost exactly the same
price to small dealers and in one
drum lots. That price is fifty
two cents and it is just twenty
cents too high and above reason
ableness for that oil in large
quantity lots. Twenty cents for
gravy, and that is about the usual
forty per cent. Twenty cents per
gallon on that lot totals six thou
sand dollars of spoils.
The principle hurdle for these
contracting conspirators to get
over was in circumventing or try
ing to circumvent the statutory
provision that purchases for the
state involving five hundred dol
lars or more must be made thru
competitive bidding. There teas
no competitive bidding on this
contract and yet the state paid a
sum thirty times greater than the
legal limit set for non-bid pur
No amount of juggling in de
liveries and warrants can justify
or legalize that contract. It’s
fiaud pure and simple and the
purchasing agent knows it be
cr.use he has revived the ancient
legal method of competitive bids
since the Saturday Press com
menced exposing irregularities
prevailing so generally in the
farmer-labor administered state
purchasing offices.
“Be Square” is such a fitting
trade name to find in this con
The contracts for the two oth
er districts are of the same pat
tern and scheme,involving simi-
Communists Introduce Bill
For Damages To Local No. 574
H. F. 1290, Introduced by Rep. Bennett and Bellman, Farmer-
Laborites, Proposes Taxpayers Pay Communist Local 574
Almost a Thousand Dollars for Damage Done the “Personal
Property. .. By Negligence of National Guard.” The
Guardsmen Must Have Stepped on Trained Rate Belonging
to Communist “Leaders’’
“A Bill”—That’s what it says
on the printed sheet —“A‘Bill.”
It’s the most dizzy of all the dizzy
bills to be found in the entire
dizzy list introduced this session
of the legislature. This “ A Bill”
provides, that:
“The sum of $971.95 is here
by appropriated from any
moneys in the State Treasury,
not otherwise appropriated, to
reimburse the General Drivers,
Helpers and Inside Workers
Union Local No. 574, of Min
neapolis, Minnesota, for loss
and damages to the personal
property of said Union caused
by the negligence of the Minne
sota National Guard,”
If that isn’t the cap sheaf!
And the bill is indicated as hay
ing been introduced in the House
by Representatives Bennett and
Bellman—farmer-labor members.
If that bill is passed, I see no
reason why a companion bill isn’t
introduced and passed, turning
the state treasury over to the
communists, intact and entirely.
The bill is an insult to every
citizen of the state —an insult to
their intelligence and citizenship.
As briefly as possible let’s re
view the “damage” done the
communist-controlled local No.
574, by “negligence of the Min
nesota National Guard ”:
In May, 1934, the communist
element, agitators and radicals,
established a general headquarters
at 1900 Chicago Avenue In this
city a general headquarters
from which to conduct a “strike.”
From that headquarters, “cruiser
cars” went out under orders to
commit acts of violence. From
that headquarters orders were is
sued that were in direct and open
violation of state and federal law.
In front of that headquarters,
traffic was molested, peaceful
citizens insulted, police defied,
and in that headquarters two of
them were assaulted and almost
killed. At no time did the author
ities exercise their unquestionable
right to take that headquarters by
force —by force, even to the ex
tent of using the military forces
of the state.
In July, less than sixty days
after the May strike had been
“settled,” after the strike leaders
had agreed to the terms of settle
ment and their dupes gone back
to work, another general head
quarters was established—this
time in the loop district. The
communists were growing bolder!
The July general strike head
quarters was conducted, as the
lar high spoils, the total pickings
for the three contracts running
into grand and mighty figures.
In conclusion, Mr. Attorney
General, may we have a few
words from you ? '
April' 13, 1935
Chicago avenue headquarters had
been a few weeks earlier, like a
military camp. Sentries were
established, cruiser cars sent out
filled with armed men. Peaceful
citizens were molested, private
cars stopped, traffic interfered
with and citizens assaulted. Po
lice were threatened with death—
by men sent out from general
headquarters of the communist
agitators stronghold in the heart
of the largest city in the north
Orders were issued from that
headquarters to “peaceful pick
ets” to commit ads of violence, to
lalt traffic, to destroy property, to
block streets and public high
ways, to defy law and create and
carry on what was actually civil
war. v; ■ "
The police force of the city
was inadequate to cope with the
rioters. The governorrefused
to lend the assistance of the
state’s troops. He had had them
out in the hinterlands herding
starving cattle away from luscious
grazing grounds thfc famous
cow pasture patrol.
In May the communist 'agita
tors had managed to ‘lashr-their • *
deluded followers to assaults that
resulted in two murders. They
had sent twenty-seven uniformed
police to hospitals. In July they
expected to increase - the list!
They had boasted that they would
“get every damned copper.” Dur
ing the May strike not a shot was
fired by the police. In July, the
order was revoked —instead of
the “don’t shoot under any provo
cation” order issued in May, the
“shoot if you have to” order jvas
On what the communist and
their red allies choose to call
“Black Friday” a clash between
police and “peaceful piekets”
armed with clubs, iron bars,
shovels, ice picks and the gods
only know what not, occurred.
Two pickets died later as a result,
of their wounds and several more
walked with a limp for many e
During these weeks, thousands >
of dollars in damage was done to
private property by the strikers.
As a result of the dash between
armed “pickets” and armed po
lice, the governor—instead of or
dering the militia into the city
to reinforce the regular police,
declared martial law.
The troops moved in. Minne
apolis citizens, for the first time
in the history of the state, were
subject to military rule —not be
cause they had grown riotous and
ungovernable, but because com
munists in control of a few truck
drivers, warehouse stevedores
and professional ruffians import
ed from other cities, had felt
themselves powerful enough to
(Continued on page 5)

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