Marcus Larson: When "Leaders" Begin Believing Their Own Lies


You don’t have to go very far to find elected and appointed leaders using nefarious means to bilk taxpayers out of millions.

To date, the proposed Fargo Dam and FM Diversion has topped $58 million and the “good ole boys” just keep spending like there is no tomorrow.

In August 2004 the FMUS (Fargo Moorhead Upstream Feasibility Study) was initiated and Phase 1a was disseminated in 2005. The most interesting points determined within the study indicate that approximately 200,000-400,000 acre feet of storage could reduce the peak 1% percent (100 year) chance stages in Fargo by up to 1.6 feet (19.2 inches). But Fargo and the Diversion Authority chose to ignore those benefits an expand the project for development purposes.

In October 2012, the Fargo Diversion Authority granted $500,000 for a new Phase I modeling efforts for retention site identification and prioritization upstream of Halstad, which included much of the previous FMUS study information. Then in January 2013, for some odd reason the local co-sponsors terminated (see email below – scroll to bottom of page) the first FMUS (Fargo Moorhead Upstream Study) study in hopes that their second HURS (Halstad Upstream Retention Study) study would prove the first study wrong and support the false claim that the current project is the only viable solution to Fargo flooding.


In November 2013, the RRBC (Red River Basin Commission) presented the Phase 1 findings of the HURS and found more retention capacity available than previously thought – undermining Fargo’s false claim that the current project is the only viable solution to Fargo flooding.

“We need to make certain that everyone is in agreement with the effort and decisions, so that what is happening with the HUR (retention study) is compatible with the FM Flood protection efforts and the MNEIS (Environmental Impact Statement).” – Lance Yohe, Executive Director RRBC


Why in the world would an “independent study” need to be “compatible” with anything? The whole premise of a study is to assess and apply the findings.

So the Fargo Diversion Authority is beside themselves. Their entire house of cards is teetering on a lie that they came up with, which is a false claim / expectation that retention must replace the diversion. Well…, you can always bet on hubris! Arrogance has funny way of tripping a person up. With Imperial Fargo – Imperial Cass, the mere fact that anyone is standing up to them has them frustrated.

So consider the “players” and words spoken in the following recordings from the May 7th, 2014 public outreach meeting. If these “leaders” conduct themselves this way in an open meeting, one can only imagine what is said behind closed doors and via other means of communication.

Clip 1:

Brad Wimmer: just get em’ into the right hands, we can nudge them and have a necessary board respond.
Rocky Schneider: their board has been reluctant to let their executives respond to those typed of things…, but i know it’s made as diversion members funding some of their things…, say hey…, if your work is being mis-characterized you guys need to respond.
Gerald Van Amburg: they’ve got an extremely large and diverse board…, it’s just hard to get anything…
Ken Pawluck: well, it all comes down to control of the funding and if they’re not willing to support their work product, that we have in large part contributed to, it may jeopardize future investments in future work products.
Brad Wimmer: I think we need to push the envelope, ask the question, say we’d like to respond to this and make them address it.
Ken Pawluck: We could make that ask at the meeting tommorrow.
Rodger Olson: ..or do you believe it…, or do you believe the statement was made…, at the Basin Commission?
Brad Wimmer: …yeah, yeah…
Rodger Olson: …or do you believe it? And if you don’t are you willing to supp…, willing to back up what your do supp…support?
Kevin Campbell: I’ve read the same article and…
Brad Wimmer: I think we bring that out. Y’now it’s gotten like having some of these groups that’s all about this retention that was never meant to take the place and you could say Fargo’s inner city flood control also was never meant to take the place of the diversion…, and.., and have some bodies and some…, some politicians and the city sign off on that…, so people know that “yep” these are projects sorta independent of the diversion that will help each other…, but not to take the place of…
Rodger Olson: Jake…,
Jacob Gust: I think that…uh…, y’know, the Basin Commission…, for a long time has struggled to become a voice…, in the valley…, and now all of the sudden they are being quoted as if they were the expert. I think that it’s…, taking a while to…, realize what sorta position the Basin Commission is in…, that it is in a…, a position of…, supposedly some influence…, and so the difficulty is how to respond to that…, so that you don’t alienate everybody else.

Clip 2:

Jacob Gust: The guy to talk to would probably be Lance because he’s off of there now…, and…he might be able to…uh…, we have a “discussion” will him…, we might be able to…, sorta find an avenue at which we could “influence” the Basin Commission.
Brad Wimmer: I would suggest Jeff and leave Lance out of it..
Jacob Gust: Yeah…, oh yeah we could do that.
Brad Wimmer: …but either way…, if you could sit down and find out how we can.., uh…, work through the board…, I think the board will act.
Jacob Gust: Yeah, I think so to.
Brad Wimmer: Or they will have a decision to make.
unknown: …well that’s always good…
Ken Pawluck: Well…, I would take a little bit of an.., of a.., adversarial…, point in that…, why should we have to ask?
Brad Wimmer: Let’s maybe meet with a couple of us with Jeff…
group chatter: …yep…yep…, I’d be happy to…
Brad Wimmer: Let’s do that…, let’s do that Ken and see where it goes…
Brad Wimmer: Could Rocky keep us on that…, lets make sure do that…
Rocky Schneider: Yeah
Brad Wimmer: Y’know the last time…, at the convention or whatever you call it the…
Jacob Gust: …conference…
Brad Wimmer: Conference…, y’know the opposition got up and took a diversion…, uh.., 20 minute or 30 minute discussion and kinda turned it around…, and and…, the Basin Board was furious…, was furious on how that played out…, so I think they…, their fur was ruffled there…

In January 2014, the 31st Annual Red River Basin Land & Water Summit Conference was held at Ramada Plaza Suites in Fargo, ND. During which time, all sides had an opportunity to present information to decision makers. As for the Red River Basin Commission being “furious”…, really…???

Presenting the facts that distributed retention provides benefit to the entire Red River Valley, and would provide substantial benefit to Fargo flood protection, seems in step with the RRBC plans and goals.

When “leaders” begin believing their own lies and try to establish a means to obtain or justify certain actions to project false accusations, information, etc., for the sole purpose of maintaining a self-created illusion – how can the average person feel their best interests are being kept, truly at heart?

With local leaders out of control and un-accountable, there are dangerous times ahead!