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After months of wondering, speculating — and writing letters to ask — why Kathy Cargill was buying up so many properties on Duluth's Park Point, the city's mayor and residents may have an answer from the apparently peeved member of the billionaire Cargill family.

She told the Wall Street Journal she was planning to beautify and modernize the neighborhood, but the pushback, including a message from Mayor Roger Reinert, has made her change her mind.

"I think an expression that we all know — don't pee in your Cheerios — well, he kind of peed in his Cheerios right there, and definitely I'm not going to do anything to benefit that community," Cargill said in an interview with the publication.

Reinert, a former Park Point resident, said this month that he'd written a letter to Cargill asking her to meet but had not received a response. The letter, which referenced the city's housing crunch, made clear that while he respected her right to buy the properties through the private market, the residents of Park Point had questions about the intent of the purchases.

He said he then planned to draft another letter and asked city councilors to co-sign it.

Reinert took to social media to promise residents that the point's parkland, beach and street access areas would remain public. In his Facebook post, he also noted that homeowners can choose not to sell to Cargill.

Cargill told the Wall Street Journal in a story that appeared online Saturday that she planned to build homes for some relatives, open a coffee shop and fund improvements to city parkland. She said she also planned facilities for pickleball, basketball and street hockey. But the mayor's comments, news coverage of the purchases and online criticism triggered a change of heart for Cargill, according to the story.

"The good plans that I have down there for beautifying, updating and fixing up Park Point park or putting up that sports court, forget it," she told the publication. "There's another community out there with more welcoming people than that small-minded community."

Cargill's North Shore LS LLC bought more than 20 parcels on the Lake Superior sand bar, many at twice their estimated value or more. About half of single-family houses sold on Park Point last year were purchased by the LLC, with the median price of all sold homes about $477,000.

Cargill's comments left many Duluthians wondering about the fate of the LLC's properties.

Alan Dartanyan, 68, has been a Park Point resident for more than 35 years. He said that had Cargill been upfront with her plans with the Park Point Community Club, she may have received support.

"Her secretiveness about the plans is what led to all the rumors," Dartanyan said Saturday, adding that the club had invited her to share her vision. "The questions and the mayor's comments shouldn't in any way interfere with real plans to improve the neighborhood."

Resident Rick Youmans said he understands Cargill is a private person, but concerns came from residents who "don't want to see any part of this city become a haven of the rich who money their way into creating things as they wish."

Some took to social media to call out Cargill's attitude as a clear violation of "Minnesota Nice."

If Cargill cared about the community enough to want to improve it, Duluth resident Judas Bardon wrote in a Facebook post, "she wouldn't have been so abrasive when people expressed genuine and reasonable concern for the fate of the neighborhood."

Cargill told the Wall Street Journal that she's still getting calls from residents hoping to sell their homes and she's considering more purchases. She said she also plans to make her family's vacation home more private with landscaping.

"Those people aren't running me out," she told the paper. "They can posture themselves all they want, but I'm not going anywhere."

Some residents said Cargill's comments leave them with new questions that deserve answers.

"I just want to know: What's her plan now?" Dartanyan said. "What happens to the properties she's already purchased?"

Youmans said he's thinking about her comment about making her property more private.

"It seems like she has more up her sleeve," he said.

Reinert and Cargill did not immediately respond to Star Tribune requests for comment Saturday. Reinert also declined to be interviewed by the Wall Street Journal on the advice of the city attorney, the article noted.