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ISSUE 119 VOL 9 PUBLISHED 11/18/2005

Letter to the Editor

By Letter to the Editor
Contributing Writer

Friday, November 18, 2005

Dear Editors of the Manitou Messenger,

Your editorial of Nov. 10 regarding Waste Management and Senior Regent Dean Buntrock compels a response.

We are particularly disturbed by your description of Mr. Buntrock as a “fraud,” and your comparison of Waste Management's disputes with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) to Enron's problems.

Perhaps you do not understand the difference between civil and criminal charges. Each year, thousands of individuals and corporations have differences of opinion with both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the SEC regarding complex tax and securities laws. The vast majority of these disputes are settled short of litigation, as this case was.

There were and are no criminal charges against Mr. Buntrock. You comment that he has given St. Olaf "$26 million" so that he could get a "tax break." Of course he got a tax break! As do 12,000 St. Olaf alums who support our Partners in Annual Giving Program. As do the 2,000 alums who include the college in their estate plans. As do any of us when we give our charitable dollars to causes and institutions that touch our souls.

Dean's record of service to and support of St. Olaf and its mission are unparalleled and exemplary. He and his family have given generously – usually anonymously – of their time and wealth in a way that will benefit St. Olaf students far into the future. The editorial also ignores Dean's commitment of time and energy as past chair of the Board of Regents.

Your labeling of Dean Buntrock as a “fraud” is defamatory, demeaning to him, and without merit. You provided no facts to support your labels.

Your editorial is deeply disappointing to us and the thousands of St. Olaf students, faculty and staff who view Dean Buntrock as a loyal, generous friend and benefactor. Indeed, we need more people like him.

Jerrol M. Tostrud, Chairman, Board of Regents Christopher M. Thomforde, President

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