State Sen. Jeff Hayden, DFL-Minneapolis, will face renewed scrutiny in late November from a Senate ethics committee over his ties to a nonprofit agency that served low income residents.
The ethics charges stem from Hayden’s role as board member for Community Action of Minneapolis, a defunct nonprofit organization whose leaders allegedly misspent hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money.
In September, a federal grand jury indicted Community Action’s former director, Bill Davis, who has been accused of theft and fraud for allegedly misusing $250,000 in taxpayer money. A court-appointed receiver is also determining just how much money is owed by Community Action, which was largely funded through state taxpayer grants. In a court document, the court-appointed receiver identified roughly $3,400 in “improper” travel expenses paid to Hayden and his wife.
“Now that we have all the facts, it’s time for the subcommittee to meet and determine probable cause in this compliant,” said Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie. “We need to get this done and remove the cloud of suspicion hanging over Sen. Hayden and the Minnesota Senate.”
Over the course of two hearings, senators last year failed to settle questions over the ethics charges. They postponed deliberations until state agencies finished their investigations. The Commerce Department completed its review of Community Action last summer.
Hann said the new hearing should address a new charge that Hayden lied under oath about his involvement with the nonprofit.
Hayden declined to comment, referring questions to his attorney, Charlie Nauen, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Hayden, who resigned from the Community Action board last year, has denied any wrongdoing.
Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, said she plans to convene a meeting of the ethics subcommittee before Thanksgiving.