The fall of Denny Hecker


Denny Hecker is now officially broke, and taxpayers will foot the bill for his defense against charges he committed bankruptcy fraud. A federal judge today granted the request from Hecker’s attorney to get off the case because he hasn’t been paid. The judge agreed to assign a new lawyer, paid by the government at the rate of $125 an hour.

Has there ever been a bigger fall from grace in the Twin Cities?

Look at this timetable:

November 2008 – Hecker closes six dealerships. He still has seven dealerships open in Minnesota and Los Angeles.

December 2008 – Hecker is involved in a car accident. Months later, authorities consider criminal charges. Tests found morphine, amphetamine and other drugs.

January 2009 – Ford sues Hecker for not paying $3 million he owes. Other carmakers follow suit.

April 2009 – Chrysler’s financial arm wins a $477 million judgment against Hecker. He still has five dealerships open but they’re up for sale.

June 2009 – Authorities show up at Hecker’s corporate offices and start carting away records in the probe. Days later, federal charges are filed against Hecker.

July 2009 – Hecker files his bankruptcy petition. It reveals he had seven snowmobiles, three scooters, and six four-wheelers, two pontoon boats, seven Jet-Skis and a yacht (which had been repossessed), among other assets. He says he has $24,000 in cash.

July 2009 – Hecker pleads guilty to careless driving in his December accident, claiming he was texting on his cellphone when he crashed. His 30 day sentence is stayed for a year.

August 2009 – Hecker’s assets are auctioned to pay off creditors.

September 2009 – Two Fargo banks sue Hecker.

December 2009 – Hecker’s divorce from his wife is finalized. KSTP-TV reports Tamitha Hecker is asking for $15 million and sole custody of the couple’s two children, ages 8 and 14.

January 2010 – A bankruptcy trustee sues Hecker, claiming he’s hiding money.

February 2010 – Hecker is indicted on fraud charges. More charges are filed a month later.

March 2010 – Hecker’s father in law attempts suicide, a week after he was accused of helping Hecker hide about $81,000 from creditors. He dies a few days later.

March 2010 – Hecker asks a divorce judge not to throw him in jail for missing alimony payments. Days later, frustrated with Hecker’s lack of accounting of finances, Hennepin County District Judge Jay Quam throws Hecker in jail. He’s $5,000 behind. He’s released on April 4.

April 2010 – A bankruptcy judge approves a deal between a bankruptcy trustee and Hecker’s fourth divorced wife. She will get to keep about $185,000 in cash and jewelry valued at more than $1 million.

April 7, 2010 – Prosecutors charge Hecker’s girlfriend with making false statements in Hecker’s bankruptcy case.

April 12, 2010 – A judge approves of a taxpayer-paid lawyer to defend Hecker, who says he’s broke.

  • Bob

    Um…this has nothing to do with the Twins game. What’s the deal with that.

  • JackU

    Has there ever been a bigger fall from grace in the Twin Cities?

    I guess when this type of thing comes up I always think of Jon Grunseth and the 1990 Governor’s race. Basically from a contender for the State’s top political office to has been in what seemed like a week. Wikipedia says he is now a cherry farmer in Australia.

  • karen

    Hecker & Petters. Twin Cities crooks.

  • Joe

    Certainly not as spectacular of a fall.

    I guess this is what we get for having rich people with Verb-like names. (Hecker, Petters).

  • tiredboomer

    How about Harold W. Greenwood Jr.? “A good tree to come to for shelter”.

    Only 20 years ago bankers went to jail for violating their fiduciary responsibilities.

    Seems an appropriate mention on a couple of levels today … the Twins home opener. Midwest Federal was a big Twins sponsor, and Carl Pohlad bought the most profitable pieces of Midwest Federal.

  • John O.

    I wonder if the Medina mansion is on the market? $125 and hour for a public defender? Yikes!

    BTW JackU, I would agree that Grunseth is up there is the “fall from grace” category, but he never amassed $700 million + in debt or left as many lives in ruins as Hecker and/or Petters. No comparison.

  • Bob Collins

    It’s not a public defender (aka: from the public defenders office). One was already representing one of Hecker’s co-horts. It’s a private attorney being paid with public funds.

  • Ryan V.

    Wasn’t Mr. Foshay a big fall from Grace? Building a tower and then failing to pay off John Philip Sousa just a few months later?

  • Lily

    Big deal! We all get representation. When we can’t afford it, the public pays….It doesn’t matter if you are a Hecker or a Doe.

  • Karl

    Do you think Hecker will ever be able to get Tim Pawlenty, Norm Coleman and Michele Bachmann to request a presidential pardon for his crimes like Tom Petters associate and convicted money launderer Frank Vennes Jr. did?