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Mr. Fuji
09-22-2004, 06:08 PM
Something seems really fishy about this whole deal. First of all, how could he pick the wrong person out of a lineup if he spent hours and hours up close and personal with the kidnapper? The guy that he picked out of the lineup (whose name escapes me...was it Henderson?) is obviously not the kidnapper; there was no physical evidence linking him to the crime, the other eyewitness who saw Grundhofer with the kidnapper said he definitely was not the kidnapper, and you could tell just by watching his reaction to the whole situation that he was innocent. In addition, that eye witness said that when he saw the kidnapping, his initial reaction was that the whole thing was a joke. I don't know, this whole story has scandal written all over it. I wonder if there would be a motive for Grundhofer to have faked the whole thing. It just seems really odd that police wouldn't be able to find the kidnapper of a higher up like Grundhofer, especially one with as little experience as this kidnapper supposedly had. How could he slip through all of the searches if he was such an inexperienced criminal. I don't know, anyone else get that same feeling when watching this segment?

Mr. Fuji
09-28-2004, 12:30 PM
Bump! I really would like everyone's input if they know this case!

crystaldawn
09-28-2004, 01:38 PM
I saw this case recently. It was almost comical to watch, the kidnapper clearly didn't know what he was doing, which was a good thing because no harm came to Mr. Grundhofer. I looked online and there's a lot about Jack Grundhofer, but they only briefly mention his kidnapping and nothing about whether the suspect has ever been captured. I really don't think it was staged, I just figured the man that kidnapped him was angry about the thousand or so jobs they said Mr. Grundhofer eliminated and was somehow affected by that. It reminded me a little of the Annie Laurie Hearin case where she was basically kidnapped because some guy was angry about a business deal involving her husband.

I certainly don't think the man at the end of the story was involved. He just happened to resemble the kidnapper.

CAxlRose69
05-07-2014, 01:52 PM
This is definitely one of the most bizarre cases in UM history. It was a kidnapping so unbelievably bungled--orchestrated by a kidnapper so amateurish--that it's hard to know what the motive even was for the kidnapping.

I think Grundhofer was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the kidnapper was a disgruntled former employee with a score to settle.

However, there's so much about the crime itself that doesn't make sense.

a) The kidnapper I.D.'d HIMSELF as "Carl," and hastily ordered Grundhofer to get into his own car.

b) "Carl" tied a stick of dynamite to Grundhofer's wrist and ordered him to drive to a remote location.

c) "Carl" openly asked Grundhofer who would assume his duties in his absence, and called out one of the bank's Vice Presidents BY NAME.

d) "Carl" also ordered Grundhofer to call in the random demands, which were absurd, as "Carl" requested $500 and $1,000 bills, which were long out of regular circulation.

e) "Carl" then led Grundhofer to a remote hill, sloppily bound the exec's wrists, and fled the area, presumably in Grundhofer's car. Grundhofer eventually freed himself, made his way to a nearby farm house, and alerted the authorities.

The entire unfolding of events of the "kidnapping" seem to come right out of a slapstick comedy. It absolutely mystifies me that: a) Grundhofer would I.D. the wrong man in the police lineup; b) The police weren't able to track down the real kidnapper.

Did they recover Grundhofer's car? Did they find any legible fingerprints on the "cheat-sheet" that "Carl" accidentally droped? Did police do a thorough investigation of all of the bank's employees? How was the kidnapper able to escape detection? Dumb criminals usually make even dumber fugitives.

My only guess is that "Carl" benefitted from dumb luck. The way he orchestrated the kidnapping was so incompetent that perhaps he was too stupid to leave any physical evidence that could connect him to the crime. But the fact that Grunhofer picked the wrong guy out of the police lineup is rather suspicious too.

That said, I don't think this was a staged kidnapping or that Grundhofer was hiding anything. My guess is the entire affair was so embarrassing that Grundhofer deliberately picked out an innocent man that he knew would be exonerated just so he could move on with his life. I would probably want to distance myself from such a bungled inconvenience as well.

TracyLynnS
05-07-2014, 06:16 PM
I think I'm probably the only member here that does think this was staged.

Here's some stuff I wrote about five years ago in another thread about this case:

I really get the feeling that it never happened. The only witness is a guy in the parking garage who saw the executive and another guy fighting and there was a gun involved. The witness did not identify the wrong man in the lineup, like the executive did.

After the scuffle in the parking garage there are no other witnesses to anything. The exec was in the garage a total of 3 minutes. He is the one who calls to report his kidnapping. Supposedly, he was kidnapped by a group called "parents against drugs". (Yep, those parents who are against drugs are a violent bunch.)

The ransom is $3 million dollars, to be paid in $100, $500, and $1,000 bills. He drives his own car through two states, and has "dynamite" cuffed to him.

Then, the kidnapper makes the exec get all wrapped up in a sleeping bag behind a "secluded" rest stop, and leaves. The exec frees himself in 20 minutes and runs to a nearby farmhouse to call for help. The kidnapper is never heard from again. Throughout all this, there are no witnesses.

So, what was the motive? It wasn't the money and it wasn't murder. I think it was publicity.

The exec had recently gotten publicity for cutting a couple thousand jobs. Either he liked the publicity and wanted more, or he had become very unpopular for being such a cold, heartless rich guy who could fire people without a thought, so he wanted to make himself into a sympathetic victim.

Something the segment didn't cover: the exec was kidnapped in his own car. They never made it clear if the kidnapper stole that car or if it was left where the exec parked it before walking into the woods to where the sleeping bag was waiting.

The FBI investigated this. I wonder if they ever looked at from the "it never happened" angle.

According to the Minnesota Independent, this happened during John Grundhofer's first year at the bank. The article states:

Grundhofer arrived in the Twin Cities in 1990 to helm what was then known as First Bank System. During his first year on the job he was kidnapped from a downtown Minneapolis parking lot. The bank executive was bound, stuffed in a sleeping bag and left in a remote wooded area in Wisconsin. Grundhofer escaped two hours later and ran to a nearby farm for help. A ransom was demanded but never paid. No one was ever charged in the kidnapping. “I have no idea why this took place this morning,” he told reporters at the time. “We’re very grateful to the good Lord for me being here.”

The turbulent beginning to Grundhofer’s tenure at First Bank System was only a portent of things to come. He mercilessly cut costs at the struggling company, including a 20 percent reduction in personnel, earning plaudits from Wall Street and the sobriquet “Jack the Ripper” back home. “I’m not an evil man,” he insisted to the Star Tribune’s Neal St. Anthony in 1993. “I like people.”

In 2000, after U.S. Bancorp had lost its luster with Wall Street, Grundhofer engineered a $19 billion sale to Firstar Corp., a Milwaukee-based bank run by his brother Jerry. Jack the Ripper retired in 2002, but he didn’t walk away empty-handed: He’s guaranteed a $2.9 million annual salary for the rest of his life.

http://minnesotaindependent.com/1008...litical-donors

Grudhofer put himself in the spotlight again regarding his kidnapping and praising his security team. Sounds to me like old jack the ripper still has a huge ego. Does he really need a security staff? Is he *that* important?

Quote from the security staff website:

His clients are understandably reluctant to speak on the record about their security arrangements. One who will is John Grundhofer, chairman emeritus of U.S. Bancorp. Grundhofer learned the hard way about his need for executive protection in 1990. While CEO of First Bank System, he was kidnapped at gunpoint from a Minneapolis parking garage and held for ransom in Wisconsin before escaping. After that episode, he relied on guards provided by the bank. Since retiring in 2002, he has paid Avalon from his own pocket for security during visits to Minnesota from his homes in California, South Dakota, and Montana.


“In my view, anyone with resources should know there’s some nut out there who wants those resources,” Grundhofer says. “I’m sure that even now, in my old age, I’m on somebody’s list. And every Fortune 500 CEO is on somebody’s list . . . . When I travel, I want someone like Dan or his senior people around. Pros.”


http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=240280&highlight=grundhofer

MegtheEgg86
05-08-2014, 07:16 AM
I think I'm probably the only member here that does think this was staged.

Here's some stuff I wrote about five years ago in another thread about this case:

I really get the feeling that it never happened. The only witness is a guy in the parking garage who saw the executive and another guy fighting and there was a gun involved. The witness did not identify the wrong man in the lineup, like the executive did.

After the scuffle in the parking garage there are no other witnesses to anything. The exec was in the garage a total of 3 minutes. He is the one who calls to report his kidnapping. Supposedly, he was kidnapped by a group called "parents against drugs". (Yep, those parents who are against drugs are a violent bunch.)

The ransom is $3 million dollars, to be paid in $100, $500, and $1,000 bills. He drives his own car through two states, and has "dynamite" cuffed to him.

Then, the kidnapper makes the exec get all wrapped up in a sleeping bag behind a "secluded" rest stop, and leaves. The exec frees himself in 20 minutes and runs to a nearby farmhouse to call for help. The kidnapper is never heard from again. Throughout all this, there are no witnesses.

So, what was the motive? It wasn't the money and it wasn't murder. I think it was publicity.

The exec had recently gotten publicity for cutting a couple thousand jobs. Either he liked the publicity and wanted more, or he had become very unpopular for being such a cold, heartless rich guy who could fire people without a thought, so he wanted to make himself into a sympathetic victim.

Something the segment didn't cover: the exec was kidnapped in his own car. They never made it clear if the kidnapper stole that car or if it was left where the exec parked it before walking into the woods to where the sleeping bag was waiting.

The FBI investigated this. I wonder if they ever looked at from the "it never happened" angle.

According to the Minnesota Independent, this happened during John Grundhofer's first year at the bank. The article states:

Grundhofer arrived in the Twin Cities in 1990 to helm what was then known as First Bank System. During his first year on the job he was kidnapped from a downtown Minneapolis parking lot. The bank executive was bound, stuffed in a sleeping bag and left in a remote wooded area in Wisconsin. Grundhofer escaped two hours later and ran to a nearby farm for help. A ransom was demanded but never paid. No one was ever charged in the kidnapping. “I have no idea why this took place this morning,” he told reporters at the time. “We’re very grateful to the good Lord for me being here.”

The turbulent beginning to Grundhofer’s tenure at First Bank System was only a portent of things to come. He mercilessly cut costs at the struggling company, including a 20 percent reduction in personnel, earning plaudits from Wall Street and the sobriquet “Jack the Ripper” back home. “I’m not an evil man,” he insisted to the Star Tribune’s Neal St. Anthony in 1993. “I like people.”

In 2000, after U.S. Bancorp had lost its luster with Wall Street, Grundhofer engineered a $19 billion sale to Firstar Corp., a Milwaukee-based bank run by his brother Jerry. Jack the Ripper retired in 2002, but he didn’t walk away empty-handed: He’s guaranteed a $2.9 million annual salary for the rest of his life.

http://minnesotaindependent.com/1008...litical-donors

Grudhofer put himself in the spotlight again regarding his kidnapping and praising his security team. Sounds to me like old jack the ripper still has a huge ego. Does he really need a security staff? Is he *that* important?

Quote from the security staff website:

His clients are understandably reluctant to speak on the record about their security arrangements. One who will is John Grundhofer, chairman emeritus of U.S. Bancorp. Grundhofer learned the hard way about his need for executive protection in 1990. While CEO of First Bank System, he was kidnapped at gunpoint from a Minneapolis parking garage and held for ransom in Wisconsin before escaping. After that episode, he relied on guards provided by the bank. Since retiring in 2002, he has paid Avalon from his own pocket for security during visits to Minnesota from his homes in California, South Dakota, and Montana.


“In my view, anyone with resources should know there’s some nut out there who wants those resources,” Grundhofer says. “I’m sure that even now, in my old age, I’m on somebody’s list. And every Fortune 500 CEO is on somebody’s list . . . . When I travel, I want someone like Dan or his senior people around. Pros.”


http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=240280&highlight=grundhofer

I think that's an extremely intriguing (and compelling) argument.

TheCars1986
05-08-2014, 08:28 AM
Makes sense, considering how vilified Grundhofer was in the eyes of the public at that time. But he would have had to have had an accomplice to play the part of the kidnapper, since the man saw both of them in the parking garage.

RobinW
05-09-2014, 12:37 PM
That "Grundhofer orchestrated his own kidnapping" theory is pretty solid, but there's one aspect that doesn't hold up for me. When John Henderson was brought in as a suspect, Grundhofer identified him as the kidnapper in a lineup, which is not the most logical move to make if the kidnapping never happened. Generally, when people fabricate a crime, they hope that the case will eventually go cold and fade away before anyone discovers they're lying. As an example, that's pretty much the attitude Jeffrey MacDonald took after the murder of his family since he made no attempt to go after the real killers. It was only after he got charged for the murders himself that he became desperate enough to turn the investigation towards specific suspects like Helena Stoeckley.

If Grundhofer names Henderson as his kidnapper, that increases the possibility that Henderson is charged or goes on trial for the crime. This, of course, would lead to a more extensive investigation and a greater risk that someone would discover that the kidnapping story does not hold up. But if Grundhofer fabricated the whole story, it seems to me that he would have been better off not implicating an innocent man and simply hope the investigation would die down before his hoax was exposed.

Personally, I never thought John Henderson was responsible. In his UM interview, he seemed pretty laid-back and amused about the fact that he was accused of kidnapping. The real kidnapper sounded like such a nervous wreck that I have a feeling he would have cracked the moment the police showed up to question him.

wiseguy182
05-10-2014, 03:24 AM
Here's some things about this case that have never been mentioned on here or on the segment:

-Six weeks prior to the kidnapping, Grundhofer's daughter was nearly murdered, she survived being shot 7 times in a random attack on a bar in Berekely that left one dead and 6 others injured.

-The kidnapper apparently had brought along a knife as well.

That being said, I don't think John Henderson was involved. He seemed like a kindly grandfather. Kind of reminded me of Wilson on Home Improvement.

wiseguy182
05-10-2014, 03:38 AM
I think I'm probably the only member here that does think this was staged.

Here's some stuff I wrote about five years ago in another thread about this case:

I really get the feeling that it never happened. The only witness is a guy in the parking garage who saw the executive and another guy fighting and there was a gun involved. The witness did not identify the wrong man in the lineup, like the executive did.

After the scuffle in the parking garage there are no other witnesses to anything. The exec was in the garage a total of 3 minutes. He is the one who calls to report his kidnapping. Supposedly, he was kidnapped by a group called "parents against drugs". (Yep, those parents who are against drugs are a violent bunch.)

The ransom is $3 million dollars, to be paid in $100, $500, and $1,000 bills. He drives his own car through two states, and has "dynamite" cuffed to him.

Then, the kidnapper makes the exec get all wrapped up in a sleeping bag behind a "secluded" rest stop, and leaves. The exec frees himself in 20 minutes and runs to a nearby farmhouse to call for help. The kidnapper is never heard from again. Throughout all this, there are no witnesses.

So, what was the motive? It wasn't the money and it wasn't murder. I think it was publicity.

The exec had recently gotten publicity for cutting a couple thousand jobs. Either he liked the publicity and wanted more, or he had become very unpopular for being such a cold, heartless rich guy who could fire people without a thought, so he wanted to make himself into a sympathetic victim.

Something the segment didn't cover: the exec was kidnapped in his own car. They never made it clear if the kidnapper stole that car or if it was left where the exec parked it before walking into the woods to where the sleeping bag was waiting.

The FBI investigated this. I wonder if they ever looked at from the "it never happened" angle.

According to the Minnesota Independent, this happened during John Grundhofer's first year at the bank. The article states:

Grundhofer arrived in the Twin Cities in 1990 to helm what was then known as First Bank System. During his first year on the job he was kidnapped from a downtown Minneapolis parking lot. The bank executive was bound, stuffed in a sleeping bag and left in a remote wooded area in Wisconsin. Grundhofer escaped two hours later and ran to a nearby farm for help. A ransom was demanded but never paid. No one was ever charged in the kidnapping. “I have no idea why this took place this morning,” he told reporters at the time. “We’re very grateful to the good Lord for me being here.”

The turbulent beginning to Grundhofer’s tenure at First Bank System was only a portent of things to come. He mercilessly cut costs at the struggling company, including a 20 percent reduction in personnel, earning plaudits from Wall Street and the sobriquet “Jack the Ripper” back home. “I’m not an evil man,” he insisted to the Star Tribune’s Neal St. Anthony in 1993. “I like people.”

In 2000, after U.S. Bancorp had lost its luster with Wall Street, Grundhofer engineered a $19 billion sale to Firstar Corp., a Milwaukee-based bank run by his brother Jerry. Jack the Ripper retired in 2002, but he didn’t walk away empty-handed: He’s guaranteed a $2.9 million annual salary for the rest of his life.

http://minnesotaindependent.com/1008...litical-donors

Grudhofer put himself in the spotlight again regarding his kidnapping and praising his security team. Sounds to me like old jack the ripper still has a huge ego. Does he really need a security staff? Is he *that* important?

Quote from the security staff website:

His clients are understandably reluctant to speak on the record about their security arrangements. One who will is John Grundhofer, chairman emeritus of U.S. Bancorp. Grundhofer learned the hard way about his need for executive protection in 1990. While CEO of First Bank System, he was kidnapped at gunpoint from a Minneapolis parking garage and held for ransom in Wisconsin before escaping. After that episode, he relied on guards provided by the bank. Since retiring in 2002, he has paid Avalon from his own pocket for security during visits to Minnesota from his homes in California, South Dakota, and Montana.


“In my view, anyone with resources should know there’s some nut out there who wants those resources,” Grundhofer says. “I’m sure that even now, in my old age, I’m on somebody’s list. And every Fortune 500 CEO is on somebody’s list . . . . When I travel, I want someone like Dan or his senior people around. Pros.”


http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=240280&highlight=grundhofer

I don't think the lack of witnesses hints that it never happened. How many witnesses could really identify someone when everyone is driving 70 mph on the interstate?

Admittedly, the "Parents Against Drugs" thing is odd, but so is the kidnapper identifying himself as Carl. I read about a possible motive "Parents Against Drugs" might have had, I think they suspected Grundhofer of laundering money to drug dealers. I don't know if that really happened or not.

I have mixed thoughts on the kidnapper identifying himself as Carl. Perhaps he invented a fake name in an attempt to throw everyone off his trail. Or perhaps he stated his name and had intented to kill Grundhofer, who wouldn't be able to identify him by that point. Then again, perhaps his name really was Carl. Carl was a more popular name in the early 1900's, roughly the time when the kidnapper would have been born. Carl is still a somewhat popular name for boys, although it's usually stylized now as Karl.

I don't know Grundhofer and can't comment on what type of individual he is. But it would take a particularly cold indvidiual to go to such elaborate lengths (driving 2 hours away, forcing his bank to come up with such a large ransom and in odd denominations, and as a banker he would know they were odd, etc) to intentionally attract publicity a few weeks after his daughter was so viciously attacked.

TheCars1986
05-10-2014, 08:54 AM
This guy was obviously not a pro. He didn't even bother to collect the ransom money for one, and seemed completely lost when he lost his little "cheat sheet". Henderson is innocent. A search of his residence yielded no evidence tying him to the crime, and the witness in the parking lot did not ID him as the man who abducted Grundhofer.

I think it's possible that whoever did this had zero connection to Grundhofer, and used the ruse of "Parents Against Drugs" as a phoney motive. The only motive was money, plain and simple. I don't think this guy was an ex employee either, he just knew of Grundhofer's reputation of laying people off, knew he was wealthy, and decided to capitalize on that.

wiseguy182
05-10-2014, 11:50 AM
This is definitely one of the most bizarre cases in UM history. It was a kidnapping so unbelievably bungled--orchestrated by a kidnapper so amateurish--that it's hard to know what the motive even was for the kidnapping.

I think Grundhofer was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the kidnapper was a disgruntled former employee with a score to settle.

However, there's so much about the crime itself that doesn't make sense.

a) The kidnapper I.D.'d HIMSELF as "Carl," and hastily ordered Grundhofer to get into his own car.

b) "Carl" tied a stick of dynamite to Grundhofer's wrist and ordered him to drive to a remote location.

c) "Carl" openly asked Grundhofer who would assume his duties in his absence, and called out one of the bank's Vice Presidents BY NAME.

d) "Carl" also ordered Grundhofer to call in the random demands, which were absurd, as "Carl" requested $500 and $1,000 bills, which were long out of regular circulation.

e) "Carl" then led Grundhofer to a remote hill, sloppily bound the exec's wrists, and fled the area, presumably in Grundhofer's car. Grundhofer eventually freed himself, made his way to a nearby farm house, and alerted the authorities.

The entire unfolding of events of the "kidnapping" seem to come right out of a slapstick comedy. It absolutely mystifies me that: a) Grundhofer would I.D. the wrong man in the police lineup; b) The police weren't able to track down the real kidnapper.

Did they recover Grundhofer's car? Did they find any legible fingerprints on the "cheat-sheet" that "Carl" accidentally droped? Did police do a thorough investigation of all of the bank's employees? How was the kidnapper able to escape detection? Dumb criminals usually make even dumber fugitives.

My only guess is that "Carl" benefitted from dumb luck. The way he orchestrated the kidnapping was so incompetent that perhaps he was too stupid to leave any physical evidence that could connect him to the crime. But the fact that Grunhofer picked the wrong guy out of the police lineup is rather suspicious too.

That said, I don't think this was a staged kidnapping or that Grundhofer was hiding anything. My guess is the entire affair was so embarrassing that Grundhofer deliberately picked out an innocent man that he knew would be exonerated just so he could move on with his life. I would probably want to distance myself from such a bungled inconvenience as well.

I don't think it was so much a matter of Grundhofer being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This was a planned event, and I think the kidnapper had probably stalked Grundhofer for some time beforehand to get a feel for his habits.

I read one report where it said Grundhofer had laid off 1800 employees. That's not counting the number of customers who were denied a loan, or anyone else who might have been pissed off at Grundhofer's ways. I'm betting the investigators felt it was too large of a group of people to go through and get any concrete answers. I'm guessing the kidnapper was adept at covering his tracks and that's why there are no fingerprints, etc. Numerous cases are unsolved because authorities lack the evidence.