Hot Dish Politics Logo


Hot Dish Politics

Tracking Minnesota’s political scene and keeping you up-to-date on those elected to serve you

Demoted St. Paul VA executive moved to Phoenix

WASHINGTON -- Former St. Paul veterans benefits director Kim Graves will be sent to a lesser job in Phoenix, senior House Veterans Affairs Committee officials said Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said last week they demoted Graves to assistant director, after the department's Inspector General found she orchestrated a move to Minnesota from the East Coast and received $130,000 in moving expenses. She also kept her high $173,949 salary, even though her responsibilities in St. Paul were greatly diminished.

Graves was officially reassigned to the assistant director position in Phoenix, a much bigger organization, VA officials told the House Committee.

She will take a paycut, too, though will likely make more than $100,000 a year.

Kay Anderson, the current assistant director in St. Paul, has taken over the helm of the Regional Benefits Office.

The VA has not commented on the shuffling and has not taken steps to make Graves pay back her relocation allowance to St. Paul. It was unclear whether she would get another one to move to Arizona.

Daudt, other state lawmakers in Turkey as part of U.S. group

House Speaker Kurt Daudt and two other Minnesota state representatives are in Istanbul, Turkey this week on a trip sponsored by a nonprofit organization. 

International tension in the region spiked on Tuesday after Turkey acknowledged that it shot down a Russian warplane along its border with Syria. 

Daudt, R-Crown, is part of a small Minnesota delegation that also includes Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, and Rep. Paul Rosenthal, DFL-Edina. The trip was put together by the Niagara Foundation, a Chicago-based nonprofit that "strives to promote social cohesion by fostering civic conversations and sustained relationships between people of different cultures and faiths," according to its website. 

Spokespeople for the House GOP and DFL said no taxpayer funds are being spent on the trip. Susan Closmore, spokeswoman for House Republicans, said Daudt and Kresha covered their own travel expenses. DFL spokesman Mike Howard said Rosenthal also covered his own travel costs to and from Turkey. 

A spokesman for the Niagara Foundation did not immediately respond to a request for more details about the trip. 

(This post has been updated.)

Latest Blogs
Latest Videos