Conservative activist sues Emmer for malpractice


Tom Emmer, the Republican candidate for governor and an attorney in Delano, is being sued for malpractice by a former client. Steven Hackbarth, a former roofer, says he lost a civil case that resulted in a $30,000 fine and the loss of his contractors license because Emmer offered shoddy representation. Emmer’s campaign says the lawsuit is politically motivated and that Hackbarth is using Emmer’s candidacy as leverage to get a $200,000 settlement. But, the plaintiff is a fellow conservative activist. 

“The political motivation behind this lawsuit is painfully clear,” Emmer attorney Michael Schwartz told the Associates Press. “If Tom Emmer wasn’t running for governor, there’s no way in the world this lawsuit would have been brought.”

But Hackbarth was an Emmer supporter before the suit.

He’s a member of the Ad Hoc Committee for an Open and Uniform Candidate Selection Process in the Minnesota GOP; he was a delegate for Ron Paul; and he’s a member of the Wright County Republicans‘ county unit. Hackbarth event lent his tractor to the Emmer campaign in the past.

“If he would have just apologized, it probably never would have come to this,” Hackbarth told Ripple in Stillwater, a blog that first broke the story. “I pulled floats for him in parades for years. I have a John Deere tractor. My daughter has a goat, and we’d put a sandwich board on the goat with Emmer signs. And now all I got was kicked in the head. I thought he was my friend.”

Hackbarth’s suit says that Emmer did not file appropriate paperwork in Hackbarth’s civil case against a supplier who said Hackbarth owed him money.

“I was disputing that with my supplier, so I asked Emmer to represent me. But he didn’t file the documents he was supposed to file with the court. He showed up the day of the hearing,” Hackbarth told Ripple in Stillwater. He said that beyond showing up, Emmer “didn’t do nothing.”

The suit was filed in late September, and a hearing is scheduled for Nov. 8.