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WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 02, 2012, 09:50 PM

Race for next Fergus Falls mayor turning into tangled web

Fergus Falls, MN (WDAY TV) -- A developing story is emerging in Fergus Falls in the race for the city's next mayor.

Fergus Falls, MN (WDAY TV) -- A developing story is emerging in Fergus Falls in the race for the city's next mayor.

Right now there are 4 candidates, each of whom has a unique story line for the election. But one tale is dominating the talk around town.

The newest person to enter this race is Ron Melius. That really shakes things up. Court records show the current Mayor Hal Leland has a restraining order against Melius.

We're still waiting to see if Leland runs for re-election. The restraining order stems from 2008 when Leland was on the council. That order was tightened this past year after Melius was arrested and taken out of a city council meeting, allegedly being rowdy and comparing the council to the Moamar Gadhafi regime.

City officials say a recent trend before elections is for a private entity to hold a small debate with all candidates, which begs the questions if Leland chooses to run, can Melius show up? Attorneys we talked to today thought the court would grant a leniency for the circumstances.

In other story lines, Daryl Synstelien is running. If elected, his family could control 3 of the 5 votes on the council. Two of his brothers are currently council members. Pat Connelly is willing to vacate his current council seat to run in this election for mayor.

People have brought up Jeffrey McSorley's criminal background on the local newspaper's website. He served 30 days in jail for domestic assault.

No one would talk on camera, but off camera plenty of people said there's a sense in the community that too many "good old boy" deals are happening in the council.

The deadline for Mayor Leland or anyone else to enter the race is August 14th. We will keep on this developing story as new details emerge.

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