Blaine city employee fired, charged over home inspection

  • Article by: MARIA ELENA BACA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 25, 2012 - 8:28 PM

The longtime building official allegedly accepted $400 for an inspection he was not qualified or authorized to perform.

A Blaine building official lost his job and faces charges for allegedly accepting $400 for an inspection he lacked the authority and qualifications to do.

Gary Lee Hagedorn, 58, of Coon Rapids, is to appear in Anoka County District Court on Thursday to face charges of theft by swindle and misconduct by a public officer, a gross misdemeanor.

Hagedorn's termination on April 9 as Blaine's chief building official was related to the charges, said Blaine City Manager Clark Arneson.

A 16-year city employee, Hagedorn likely oversaw thousands of inspections during the city's housing boom and the work that's continued through the recession, Arneson said. However, officials believe the issue in question was an isolated incident, and no other Blaine city employees are under investigation, the city manager said.

The case was investigated by the Anoka County Sheriff's Office, and charges were brought by the East Bethel city attorney, to prevent the appearance of a conflict of interest.

According to the complaint, in July 2010, city officials were alerted to safety concerns about mobile home on the 3300 block of 87th Avenue NE. Inspectors posted the structure "no occupancy" and discussed needed repairs and permits with the owner, Brett Frank.

A few weeks later, Hagedorn visited the site, the complaint said.

Hagedorn had the authority to enforce all building and construction permits in the city except for electrical work, Arneson said. For that work, the city contracts with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, which provides licensed electricians for inspections. Homeowners then pay a fee to the department.

At the August meeting, Hagedorn allegedly told Frank he could perform the inspection for a smaller fee. A few days later, Frank wrote a check to Hagedorn for $400, the complaint said.

The issue was brought to the city's attention last fall. Upon questioning, Hagedorn acknowledged receiving the money from Frank, as payment for a "compliance inspection," the complaint said. He also said that he had not done work at the mobile home since the original walk-through. He denied that he had offered to complete the electrical inspection, the complaint said, and acknowledged to the investigator that he had neither the authority nor the licensure to carry out the inspection.

A woman who answered the phone at his home on Wednesday said Hagedorn declined to comment.

Maria Elena Baca • 612-673-4409

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