The Benton County Board sued the county's auditor-treasurer Friday on allegations that she lied about maintaining a residence in Sauk Rapids while serving as an elected official.
Nadean Inman "has not been a continuous resident of Benton County during her term in office [and] has not held any intent to have Benton County as her permanent residence, and, therefore, is not qualified to hold the position of the Benton County auditor-treasurer," the lawsuit reads. "The Sauk Rapids premises was not her true, actual, and permanent residence."
The suit is asking the Benton County District Court to rule that Inman is not a county resident, declare the office vacant, and allow the County Board to appoint a successor.
An investigation into Inman's residency showed a Sauk Rapids address in Benton County on her driver's license, but vehicle registrations and property tax records associated with a Becker address in nearby Sherburne County, according to Sherburne County Sheriff's Sgt. Luke McLean.
McLean's 2020 report also includes records from Verizon with a warrant that shows significant use of Inman's phone at the Becker residence and her place of employment in Foley, but "little to no usage" at the Sauk Rapids address between July 2019 and April 2020.
State law dictates that local office seekers maintain residence in the district from which the candidate seeks election for 30 days before the general election. Inman was elected in 2018 to a four-year term after running unopposed, and she intends to run for re-election in November.
Inman has 21 days to file a response to the suit. Her attorney, Kristi Stanislawski, late Friday afternoon declined to comment, explaining, "We've just gotten served in the past couple of days, and my client and I haven't been able to connect."
The suit says commissioners "repeatedly sought" information from Inman about her residency as far back as 2018 and as recently as shortly before they went ahead and sued.
In May 2020, McLean visited the woman who owned the Sauk Rapids address where Inman said she resided. The woman, who worked for Inman from July to December 2018, said Inman was a tenant at her address, but she stopped renting the room to Inman in spring 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns.
The suit alleges that Inman "rarely slept at the [Sauk Rapids] house and did not engage in typical activities ... like cooking, laundry, spending time with family, and entertaining guests. [Inman] kept minimal possessions and items of comfort at the Sauk Rapids address."
McLean said the woman would not commit to saying Inman lived at the Sauk Rapids address but did say Inman paid $100 per month for rent.
When McLean asked the woman whether Inman was using the residence to retain her Benton County elected post, the woman responded, "That's what I would imagine," McLean's report stated.
Star Tribune staff writer Jenny Berg contributed to this report.