The Vadnais Heights City Council on Tuesday accepted the resignation of Council Member Craig Johnson, who admitted to writing nearly 40 inflammatory social media posts disparaging Muslims and gay and transgender people.
The council’s four other members accepted Johnson’s resignation at the council’s regular meeting without comment.
Johnson did not attend the meeting and his name, photo and biography already had been removed from the city’s website.
Mayor Heidi Gunderson condemned his social media posts in a statement last week, saying she was “shocked and disappointed”
“The sentiments are his own and definitely not representative of my values or the city’s,” Gunderson said in a statement.
Johnson quit on May 26 after an anonymous person sent e-mails to more than 40 journalists, city leaders and advocacy groups with screenshots of his Facebook posts dating to January 2019.
Johnson was copied on the message. Within hours, he submitted his resignation to the council.
“Today I received a letter about some of the posts and comments I have made on my private Facebook page that would not look favorably on the city of Vadnais Heights or the members of its City Council,” Johnson wrote in his letter to the council. “It is with sadness and regret that I’m writing to you today to tender my resignation.”
Johnson did not address the content of the posts in his letter to the council.
A June 2019 post attributed to Johnson said: “Muslims do not assimilate[.] they conquer and control.”
Another post from November asked: “When will we realize Western culture and Christian values are superior to Islam’s.”
Several posts targeted U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., former President Barack Obama and former presidential candidate and openly gay politician Pete Buttigieg. Some refer to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The person sending the e-mail claimed to be a Vadnais Heights resident but said they were using the pseudonym Patricia Larson and declined to provide further identification.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Vadnais Heights to launch a thorough investigation into Johnson’s behavior and examine other council members’ use of social media.
Johnson, who retired from 3M Co. after 38 years as an engineering manager, was first elected to the City Council in 2012. He was re-elected to a second term in 2016 and would have had to stand for re-election this fall.
Shannon Prather • 651-925-5037