Two Years Ago Today Lord Checota And Herr Engen Began Experiencing The Community Reaction To Their TIF Scheming

by Travis Mateer

On October 21st, 2019, Missoula citizens were supposed to get a chance to provide public comment on the $16.5 million dollar Tax Increment Financing giveaway to Wisconsin developer, Nick Checota.

I say “supposed to” because the date for providing public comment was stealthily moved by Mayor Engen to October 16th in order to “get ahead of the rumors”.

I wrote about all this on October 18th of that year after a community member by the name of J. Kevin Hunt caught the schedule change and gave our Mayor and his deep-pocketed schemer the first shot in what became months of contentious community activism.

Later today, if the tech doesn’t get screwy, I’m going to publish an interview I did on Monday, October 19th, with Brandon Bryant. It’s an explosive interview with some new details about how Bryant was prosecuted on felony charges by a politically motivated County Attorney’s office.

The effort to silence Bryant with a ten year prison sentence failed spectacularly in Missoula a few months ago, in July. In August The Dissenter wrote about this development. Here’s an excerpt:

Brandon was accused of making “threats” and “improper influence” in official or political matters, a felony that carries a potential sentence of 10 years in prison. The charge stemmed from a city council member who googled him after he spoke at a city council meeting during public comment.

City Council member Julie Merritt found a video that was edited by someone who joined the drone program years after Brandon left the Air Force. This “stalker,” as Brandon describes him, took a 14-minute video that was only visible to subscribers of his YouTube channel and edited it to just over four minutes. He then labeled the video, “Brandon Bryant Promises To ‘Eliminate’ People Over the Next Year.”

The video freaked out Missoula city representatives, who already had a low view of Brandon because he called them out for increased gentrification and poverty.

Matt Jennings, the chief criminal deputy county attorney, took prior statements made before the city council, combined snippets with the edited video, and pursued Brandon as if he was a deranged military veteran who could potentially massacre city council members at any moment.

I am very excited about this interview, which I’ll be releasing as both a podcast and a video later today, if everything goes as planned.

So stay tuned…

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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3 Responses to Two Years Ago Today Lord Checota And Herr Engen Began Experiencing The Community Reaction To Their TIF Scheming

  1. Thanks for remembering this. Reading newspapers from all over the country, it’s apparent that this is a ubiquitous problem. I’d like to get some folks together to trace actual ownership of various housing developments, etc. I think we’d ultimately find that a handful of pension/retirement fund, hedge fund, and mortgage commodifucatiin billionaires and firms own much of New Urbanist Missoula.

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