Tired of the househunting hassle? Consider a castle

  Take it as another sign the Vikings have come to town—there’s a castle for sale in Eagan.
  Consider it a monument to the high-flying corporate days of the 1980s. The castle built in 1985 for Northwest Airlines CEO Steven Rothmeier on about 2 ½ acres of land at 4960 Safari Pass is for sale. It’s the highest priced home on the market in Eagan this spring with a current price tag of $2.795 million.
  That price is a bargain compared to its original listing at a $5,000 hair under
$3 million. The sellers knocked $200,000 off the price April 7 after the house had been on the market for six months. The current price is nearly three times the $975,000 the owners paid for it four years ago, after its listing had been removed when it was unsold after a year.
  What do you get for $2.795 million? About 9,000 square feet, five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, lots of sparkly chandeliers, and a giant antelope head protruding from the wall above the fireplace. Not to mention vaulted ceilings, big staircases and, probably, a massive heating and air conditioning bill. There’s no lake, no pool, and no moat, but there is a massive water tower with the old Eagan city logo nearby.
  The castle is located in a suburban neighborhood up the road from houses more akin to the commoners. If you haven’t plundered the treasuries of any villages lately, the mortgage, after a $60,000 down payment, will run you about $16,000 per month. Using the standard 1/3 of income formula, you would need to make about $48,000 per month, or $576,000 a year, to pay the mortgage, and that doesn’t include the electric bill. That might be a bit out of range for those local residents who were laid off or forced to retire when they worked for Northwest.
  Since its days as a corporate castle, the house has been used as a family home, with a nook described in a promotional video as the area where kids eat breakfast before they rush off to school. What better way for the princes and princesses to start the day than with a nutritious breakfast under the crystal chandelier?
  By now, some of you might be getting visions of AirBnB millions, but that’s not an option. The city of Eagan doesn’t allow transient rentals, there’s a minimum rental requirement and the property must be registered with the city.
Househounting? This castle at 4690 Safari Pass is for sale.

Child pornography sentencing delayed

    Dakota County District Court Judge Thomas Pugh Wednesday signed a conditional release for a former Eagan man awaiting sentencing on child pornography charges.
    What was supposed to be a sentencing hearing for William McArdle, 46, turned into a bail hearing with Judge Pugh signing an order allowing McArdle to be transferred from the Dakota County jail to Cochran House, a substance abuse treatment center in Hastings, provided a bed was available.
    The release order reducing McArdle’s bail to $30,000 with conditions came on the day McArdle was supposed to be sentenced on seven counts of possession of child pornography as part of a plea agreement, according to court records. McArdle’s next court appearance is scheduled for June 18.
    William McArdle, 46, of 2754 Mallard Drive, Woodbury, was originally ordered held in lieu of $40,000 cash bail at the Dakota County jail on Monday, Nov. 13. He was charged with 14 felony counts of possession of child pornography. Each count relates to a separate child, identified only by number in the criminal complaint.
   The charges stem from the August 10 discovery, in a Coachman Road apartment from which McArdle had been evicted, of a computer containing thousands of images of child pornography, according to court records. McArdle was evicted from the apartment on July 7, the complaint said. He left items in the apartment, but the computer wasn’t reported to police until August 10.
   Investigators found more than 2,700 files on the computer containing what they suspected was child pornography. The files were sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which identified pictures and videos of 151 different children.
   The descriptions of the images contained on the suspect’s computer, detailed in court documents, are disturbing and violent. The fourteen counts against McArdle involve victims of varying ages, from infants to pre-teenagers.
   MCArdle was arrested last November, after Eagan police requested a nationwide arrest warrant when police were unable to find McArdle following the search of the computer from his former apartment, according to court documents.

The Big Thaw

Court loosens restrictions on foster mother charged with manslaughter

  Zeporia Fortenberry, the Eagan foster mother accused of allowing her boyfriend to fatally beat a 3-year-old child in her care, appeared in court Wednesday with a list of demands, from a publicly financed lawyer to being allowed to go to church to visits with her nieces and nephews.
  Dakota District Court Assistant Chief Judge David Knutson granted her requests, in addition to prodding the prosecution to turn over its evidence in the case to the defense. Although she was represented by a lawyer at the hearing, at Fortenberry’s request, Judge Knutson reviewed her constitutional rights, including the right not to testify at trial.  
  Fortenberry, 31, of 1645 Oakridge Circle, Eagan, was charged with two alternate counts of second-degree manslaughter by means of child neglect and knowingly permitting continuing physical abuse. The crime carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
  Fortenberry’s live-in boyfriend, Charles Homich, 27, has been charged with three alternate counts of second-degree murder and two alternate counts of first-degree manslaughter in connection with Lawson’s death. Investigators allege Homich fatally beat Lawson while Fortenberry was away from the home working a night job.
  Fortenberry declined the right to have the charges against her read aloud from a criminal complaint detailing the brutal June 7, 2017, death of 3-year-old Zayden Lawson, a foster child put it in her care.
  Fortenberry posted $50,000 bail with conditions after her arrest on manslaughter charges April 12. She is staying with her mother, Jackie Fortenberry, who takes care of her nieces and nephews. Much of the discussion at Wednesday’s hearing centered on how much contact Fortenberry should be allowed with children, including her two biological children who were living with her at the time of the foster child’s death. Her children are currently under the supervision of social services, according to statements made in court.
  The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept. 10.

Ice on Heine Pond and lakes throughout the city has been receding as temperatures climbed into the 60s this week and springlike weather returned.