Even Democrats Think Heitkamp’s Goldmark Attacks Are A Bit Of A Stretch

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With Republicans pointing out some painful truths about Heidi Heitkamp’s political duplicity this campaign season – including having as her #2 source of contributions a law firm engaged in anti-fracking legal activism even as Heitkamp herself claims to be pro-fracking – Democrats have tried to distract with furious attacks on Rep. Rick Berg’s business record including his involvement with Goldmark Property Management.

But those attacks have seemed a bit petty to most political observers, and now Politico is reporting that they’ve inspired much wincing and eye-rolling among even Democrats:

Republican Rep. Rick Berg, running for Senate in North Dakota, has close ties to a controversial property management company that has been the target of dozens of tenant complaints, been cited for alleged fire safety violations and received a less than stellar grade from the Better Business Bureau.

Berg, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, personally owns apartment buildings run by Goldmark Property Management Inc., one of North Dakota’s largest landlords. Employees of the firm and related companies, including business associates Berg has known for decades, have donated tens of thousands of dollars to Berg and GOP committees to back his runs for federal office.

Yet Berg does not, as alleged by Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, have any formal legal ties to or control over Goldmark Property Management. And even some Democrats have winced at her attempts to link the company’s actions to proposals to change Social Security and other entitlement programs.

Heitkamp has tried to counter Berg’s business record by highlighting the controversies surrounding Goldmark Property Management, which controls more than 9,000 units with over 25,000 residents, a sizable chunk of North Dakota’s 670,000-plus residents.

Heitkamp attempted to link Goldmark Property Management — and Berg’s alleged involvement with it — to efforts to privatize Social Security, which even Democratic operatives will privately admit is a stretch.

I’ll say it’s a stretch.  The article notes “dozens of complaints” from tenants about Goldmark Property Management, but also notes that the company owns over 9,000 units with some 25,000 residents.  That actually sounds like a pretty good track record to me.

I actually think the Berg campaign made a mistake in not pushing back on the Heitkamp campaign’s assertions that GPM is a bad company in the first place.  Instead Berg chose to note his separation from the company years ago and that Heitkamp’s attacks, as Politico affirms, are inaccurate.  That’s all well and good, but while the truth is the truth, we also shouldn’t be letting Heitkamp get away with trashing a private business on her way to a petty and inaccurate smear on Rick Berg.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • darwin

    Good article Rob. Heidi Heitkamp is a flat out liar. pretty sad.

  • Roy_Bean

    democrat logic:

    It’s much better to complain about someone who has attempted to solve the housing shortage than to actually try to solve it yourself. Especially if it’s a free market solution.

  • Harold

    Heidi and her brother Joel have shown what true colors and points of view they embrace. Not very nice people here.

  • John Wayne -American

    To make the point even more so, consider that Goldmark has 25,000 residents at this time. They have been around for 30 years- that would put the number of folks that have lived in a Goldmark Property in the hundreds of thousands, quite possibly 1 or 2 out of 6 people that live in ND have lived in a Goldmark property.

    They have a few dozen complaints?
    over how much time?
    how many were legit complaints?

    How many ruined carpets and repaired walls, doors etc. has Goldmark replaced over the past 30 years. Some people abuse the contract then whine to the BBB when they loose their deposit.

    Heidi Ho has got to go…
    I wonder What Joel is going to do once he has to answer to the Boys in Wisconsin that are buying KFGO?

    • Unhappy with Goldmark

      I live next to 2 goldmark properties. They are difficult neighbors–very aggressive and do not cooperate with apartments abutting their properties.

      Goldmark is not a good neighbor.

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        So gold mark is to blame because your neighbors are a-holes?

        Please.

  • john

    Interesting article, Rob, and it appears you have taken a lot of “poetic license” license with this one. For example, where in the article does it state ” inspired much wincing and eye-rolling among even Democrats? I found the reference to wincing but can’t for the life of me find the eye rolling. I did enjoy this statement that I found interesting: ” However, the true picture of Berg’s ties to the firm is more complex than both candidates have let on”
    I also like the quote from Berg syaying he has had no ties to Golmark and yet Politico found a real estate license issued to Berg in 1995 showing him as an “employee of Goldmark Property Management. Imagine that. He’s never had any ties to this company and yet he was listed as an employee. Based upon this article, there are a lot more ties to Goldmark then Heitkamp has even mentioned.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Actually, John, I wrote extensively about the problems with Berg’s GPM timeline, using FEC records among others.

      But that doesn’t change the fact that Heitkamp’s attacks on this front are more than a little silly.

  • john

    Oh, hell, I left out this quote from the Politico article: “However, Goldmark Property Management’s website listed Berg as a senior vice president of the company until last month” Hell, no ties to Goldmark my butt.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I actually don’t think that is accurate. Berg was listed until last month as the VP of Goldmark Schlossman, which is a different company. The Democrats, because they want to muddy the waters, aren’t making a distinction.

  • Lianne

    Heidi and her small minded foot stamping campaign committee are showing their true colors ahd obviously she is trailing Berg. Otherwise, she would be focusing on the real issues concerning ND, not the few people in Fargo apts. Is this how she will react in DC when confronted by the opposition?

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