The Whistleblower blog was started in 2008. Look for posts by these contributors: James Eli Shiffer, Jane Friedmann, Brandon Stahl, Eric Roper and Alejandra Matos. | Check out the Whistleblower archive.

Find us on Facebook and Twitter. Find our watchdog and investigative work at The Investigators.

The Star Tribune's journalists need your help blowing the whistle in Minnesota. Contact us here.

Posts about Whistleblowers

Public record: State cites contractors

Posted by: Jane Friedmann Updated: January 11, 2010 - 6:20 PM

The following residential building contractors were disciplined by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry in December.

View these and other Department of Labor and Industry enforcement actions here.
Classic Construction, Inc.
Fargo, ND
License granted with conditions.
 
Diversified Water Diversion, Inc.
Rockford, MN
Licensing order vacated, censure, $5,000 fine stayed for three years.
 
Hathaway, Dale Allen, doing business as Hathaway Construction
Crosslake, MN
License suspension and $2,500 fine stayed on condition of compliance with payment agreement with creditor.
 
Hildebrandt, Gregory Shane
Mountain Lake, MN
Certificate of exemption issued on condition of $500 fine.
 
Kevin Manley Homes, Inc.
Apple Valley, MN
License suspension stayed on condition of compliance with payment agreements with creditors.
 
Kropelin, Douglas Donald, doing business as Axiom Home Services, LLC
Farmington, MN
Cease and desist unlicensed activity with $2,000 fine stayed.
 
Lee Homes, Inc.
Vadnais Heights, MN
Four month license suspension. Does not affect projects ongoing at the time of execution of the consent order.
 
Lesmeister, Debra Kay, doing business as Deb Lesmeister Siding
Foley, MN
Cease and desist unlicensed activity with $1,000 fine stayed.
 
Maetzold Homes, Inc.
Mayer, MN
Censure and $3,000 fine with $2,000 stayed.
 
Masse, Jay, dba Jay Masse Construction
Bemidji, MN
License revocation.
 
Mercy Construction – see Ortiz, Roberto
 
Mike Torkelson Development, Inc.
Scandia, MN
License suspended until written payment agreements with judgment creditors provided to DLI. License will be revoked and $5,000 assessed if all agreements not provided by 6/15/10 or if respondent fails to comply with payment agreements.
 
Ortiz, Roberto, doing business as Mercy Construction
Eagan, MN
Cease and desist unlicensed activity with $2,500 fine stayed.
 
R and L Properties and Construction, LLC
Crosby, MN
License revocation.
 
Urman, Randall L., doing business as Randy Urman Construction
Forest Lake, MN
Censure, $5,000 fine with $4,000 stayed on conditions.
 
Wickum, Dennis Robert
Kenyon, MN
Cease and desist unlicensed activity with $1,500 fine stayed.
 
Woodhaven Builders, Inc.
Plymouth, MN
Censure, license suspension and $2,500 fine stayed on condition of compliance with payment agreement with creditor.
 
Xtreme Worx, Inc.
Sartell, MN
License granted with conditions.

Public record: Fridley factory fined $65,600 for waste violations

Posted by: Jane Friedmann Updated: January 7, 2010 - 10:59 AM

Minco Products will pay a civil penalty of $65,600 for alleged hazardous-waste violations at their Fridley plant, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) announced Dec. 29.

Minco manufactures flexible circuits and heaters, and humidity and temperature sensors. Over several years, Anoka County and MPCA staff documented violations of hazardous-waste rules related to the manufacturing process. These included open hazardous-waste containers, improper container labeling and a small spill left unrecovered.

Minco has corrected the violations and has outlined changes to avoid future violations.

Read this and other MPCA news releases here.

Public record: Health aide admits to stealing from client

Posted by: Jane Friedmann Updated: January 5, 2010 - 5:42 PM

 

An employee of Interim Healthcare of the Twin Cities, a St. Paul home health agency, was charged with gross misdemeanor theft after she admitted to stealing from a client, the Office of Health Facility Complaints (OHFC) made public last month. The office substantiated a claim of “exploitation by staff” against the home health agency after examining the police report and conducting interviews.
According to the OHFC report, an informant provided a recording to the police on which the employee, a home health aide, admitted to taking some rugs, a bottle of E&J brandy and $1,500 in cash. The person on the recording also allegedly described herself as a “klepto.” The aide admitted to police she had taken the client’s credit card information and unsuccessfully tried to use it to buy a television at Best Buy, the report also stated.
The office has submitted the employee’s name to the Minnesota Nursing Assistant Registry, which may choose to restrict the worker’s employment in the field. The Minnesota Department of Human Services may also choose to disqualify her.
Read the full report here.

Public record: Ham Lake real estate agent disciplined

Posted by: Jane Friedmann Updated: January 4, 2010 - 6:06 PM

A Ham Lake real estate agent was disciplined in October for misconduct that included receiving kickbacks totaling more than $177,000 from the purchase of two properties.

Josephine Momanyi’s real-estate salesperson license was revoked, she was permanently barred from engaging in residential mortgage origination or servicing and she was ordered to pay a $15,000 civil penalty to the State of Minnesota. According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce consent order, signed on October 28, Momanyi allegedly falsely claimed on loan documentation that she would owner-occupy two properties she purchased when “in fact she did not owner-occupy either property.”

The department also said Momanyi receive $177,000 via a facilitator fee from the purchase of the properties and did not disclose the kickback to the financial institutions that underwrote the purchases. “Thus the respondent has demonstrated she is untrustworthy, financially irresponsible or otherwise incompetent or unqualified to act under the license granted by the commissioner,” the order stated.

View the complete order here.

Firing of Jordan police officer upheld

Posted by: Jane Friedmann Updated: December 23, 2009 - 2:38 PM

The City of Jordan was justified in firing police officer Corey Pudwill in 2006, state arbitrator James A. Lundberg ruled November 16. Lundberg agreed with the city that Pudwill did not follow proper procedures during an early-morning traffic stop of a 19-year-old woman, who later accused Pudwill of groping her.

Pudwill faced criminal charges over the alleged sexual assault, but he was found not guilty in 2008. The arbitrator found that actions during the stop that were unrelated to the charges warranted Pudwill’s firing.
 
Pudwill stopped the woman on Oct. 20, 2006 because the car was traveling below the speed limit and had crossed two feet over the fog line on Hwy. 169. Pudwill said he thought the driver might be intoxicated, according to the report. A sobriety test was negative.
 
The arbitrator’s ruling established that Pudwill failed to log or videotape the traffic stop, or notify his dispatcher that he was making the stop, which was uncharacteristic for him. He also allowed the driver, who only had an instructional license, to drive away. Pudwill admitted he told the driver that “as far as I was concerned, the stop didn’t happen.”
 
Pudwill filed a grievance over his termination. When making his decision to uphold the firing, the arbitrator took into consideration a prior three-day suspension the officer had received for allegedly lying about details of another arrest and encouraging a police reserve officer to do the same. That suspension included a warning that he would likely be terminated for further misconduct.
 
Read the arbitrator’s full decision here.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT