Montevideo, Minnesota, City Council member sentenced for threats against contractor seeking to be paid
Steven Mark Sulflow, a City Council member in Montevideo, was fined $500 and sentenced to five years of supervised probation after he pleaded guilty to threatening a man. Court documents say the man attempted to contact him about unpaid work in late September.
MONTEVIDEO — A Montevideo City Council member charged after allegedly threatening to kill a contractor seeking payment from him will serve probation.
Steven Mark Sulflow, 43, was sentenced Dec. 28 in Chippewa County District Court to five years of supervised probation and a $500 fine in the September incident when Sulflow is also alleged to have identified himself as a council member before telling the contractor to get out of town.
Sulflow pleaded guilty to a felony charge of threats of violence Nov. 7 under the agreement that he would receive a stay of adjudication, according to the plea petition.
A stay of adjudication means the matter will be dismissed if Sulflow successfully completes probation. Among the conditions of his probation are payment of restitution, completion of a mental health evaluation with a focus on anger management and completion of an anger management course.
According to the criminal complaint, Montevideo Police Chief Kenneth Schule met with a man who had reported receiving a threatening voicemail message from Sulflow on Sept. 23.
According to the complaint, the man said he had done subcontracting jobs for Sulflow but was never paid for his work. In addition, he said all the jobs had been arranged by a relative of Sulflow. The man said he had never met Sulflow in person and had never threatened him about any of the unpaid work.
When he told Sulflow’s relative that he hadn’t been paid, he was advised to reach Sulflow directly. He said he tried sending messages to Sulflow about payment but the messages were sent back to his phone.
Since the relative had given him Sulflow’s address, the man decided to stop at Sulflow’s residence around 5 p.m. Sept. 22 to talk. He knocked on the door of the residence three times, but no one answered the door.
The man said he left, and went to a local convenience store, leaving his cellphone in his truck. When he got back in his vehicle, he noticed he had missed a call from Sulflow.
The man said that when he called back, Sulflow answered and was furious.
Sulflow yelled at the man for coming to his residence and accused him of scaring his mother. Sulflow threatened to kill the man twice and told him to move a trailer off of a street before reminding the man that he is a Montevideo City Council member, according to the complaint.
The man then listened to the voicemail, which he also later played for police.
The criminal complaint quotes the following in that voicemail.
“Hey, (the man's name) you sit in front of my house again and you scare my mom, I’m going to kill you (expletive) and keep your (expletive) trailers off (expletive) Third Street. I’m the (expletive) city council person in this town. Get the (expletive) trailers off that street, they are not supposed to be there, you have a problem and want to scare my mom, I’ll (expletive) kill you, get the (expletive) out of this town!”
Sulflow told police that his mother said a man had parked in front of their house for over two hours, went into their garage, and looked at trailers in the yard. Sulflow said he became upset and noticed the man involved called him earlier, according to the complaint.
Sulflow said he used harsh language and threatened to hurt the man when he called him. When he was asked if he threatened to kill the man, Sulflow said that he might have mentioned it, but that he wasn’t serious and would never hurt the man, according to the complaint.
The West Central Tribune contacted Sulflow for comment at his city email address but received no reply.