House Minority Leader involved in Montana dispute

Rep. Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, and a friend were involved in September in a dispute over a vintage car sale in Montana that led to felony charges against Daudt’s friend.

The incident came to light late last week after House Minority Leader Daudt discussed the incident with a Twin Cities television station.

Daudt has not been charged in connection with the incident. However, his companion on the trip, Daniel Weinzetl, 24, of Cambridge, has been charged with felony aggravated assault, felony assault with a weapon and felony criminal endangerment.

According to the affidavit filed Sept. 20, 2013, in Park County, Mont., Weinzetl and Daudt went on a trip to purchase a vintage car in Montana.

At some point Daudt confronted the seller about the condition of the vehicle, which resulted in a verbal altercation. The altercation escalated and Weinzetl allegedly pulled out a handgun from Daudt’s car. The affidavit states Weinzetl pointed the gun at the entire family, including minor children.

Daudt claimed in the interview with a Twin Cities television station that the gun wasn’t pointed at anyone.

Daudt, who represents House District 31A – which includes Spencer Brook, Stanford, Bradford and Athens townships in Isanti County – issued a statement Friday:

“In early September, I traveled to Montana to purchase an antique vehicle, which is something I have done before because I collect and restore antique vehicles for a hobby. Unfortunately, the seller did not accurately represent the condition and mileage of the vehicle. A confrontation ensued between my friend who traveled with me to Montana to assist in bringing the truck back to Minnesota and the seller who had misled us.

“While we worked to resolve the situation, the seller became verbally aggressive with both my friend and me and became physically aggressive with my friend. I did everything I could to calm down the seller, diffuse the situation and get my friend and me out of harm’s way. However, feeling imminently threatened, my friend retrieved a handgun, without my knowledge, from my vehicle. The gun is licensed to and owned by me. The gun was not discharged during the incident.

“Police were called and my friend was detained and charged by local authorities. As a witness, I provided a statement to local authorities who informed me that at no time was I accused by anyone of any wrongdoing, and that according to all accounts I was trying to diffuse the situation.”