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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

THE PREVARICATING PROSECUTOR III, NO. 10: ND STATE AUDITOR’S OFFICE ACTS WITHOUT LEGAL AUTHORITY

State's Attorney
Richard Riha
Assistant State's Attorney
Cynthia Feland
Assistant State's Attorney
Lloyd Suhr

Multiple open records requests to the North Dakota State Auditor's Office (NDSAO) for ALL records of contacts with Burleigh County State's Attorney's Office (BCSAO) yielded no documents (in any form) written by any Burleigh County prosecutor to any ND Auditor requesting formally or informally any specific information. Additionally, there was no documentation presented to this author of any information being transferred between the agencies during the period of January 1, 2006, through December 20, 2008. (The trial ended on December 19, 2008.) However, telephone records of calls made from NDSAO to BCSAO indicate auditors initiating dozens of contacts. Calls to NDSAO are not logged by the State of North Dakota so the volume and length of the calls from BCSAO to NDSAO are unknown.

 

While the Auditor’s Office could not (did not) produce any documents showing the transmission of any information from January 1, 2006, through December 20, 2008, information was nonetheless being transmitted to BCSAO. Proof of this statement is found in the existence of the North Dakota Firefighters’ Association grant in Feland’s September 23, 2008, State's Response to Defendant's Motion For Bill of Particulars. In this motion, Feland adds the grant as a “crime” weeks before the source document of the issue (WSI’s 2008 Performance Evaluation) is ever publicly released. And the evaluation is legally placed under the management and oversight of NDSAO and NDSAO only.  

 

This leads to the question of how key section(s) of the evaluation proactively ended up in the hands of the prosecutor weeks before its release? Even more curious, how would the BCSAO ever know to ask for something in the first place that did not exist publicly (or otherwise) unless the issue was proactively presented to them by NDSAO? There is no written request for a copy of the evaluation. If they were so concerned, didn’t the NDSAO have a legal obligation then to turn the issue over to the ND Attorney General the review its legality before ever consulting with BCSAO? Further yet, how is it that the prosecutor not only receives this issue in advance of public knowledge but also adds it as a criminal charge against Blunt before WSI and its Board of Directors ever had an opportunity to review and comment on the language first? Or, for that manner, before any –ANY-- investigation was ever conducted to determine the legality of the issue? 

 

There is no documentation or evidence that I can find that law enforcement conducted any investigation subsequent to (or as a result of) Feland announcing the addition of the grant as a newly charged item on September 23, 2008. Had Feland requested an investigation, she would have found, as Judge Romanick did when he removed the issue from the jury’s consideration, that this was in fact a legally established and legally executed grant. 

 

As with so many issues in this trial, it appears that yet again the NDSAO actively inserted itself into the case as an investigatory arm of BCSAO. In this instance, NDSAO was proactively passing on when they believed to “criminal’ information weeks before the performance evaluation was ever made publically available. From the start, Wahl and NDSAO made themselves as key feature of the case and appear to have acted as an investigative body for the prosecution. It can be established that Wahl was actively present at the meeting where it was decided to charge Blunt. The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation Report of Investigation on Case Number 070241 state:

 

“On April 17, 2007, S/A Dupree again met with the State’s Attorney Riha and his assistant, Feland. Also at that meeting was Trooper Henke and Assistant State Auditor Wahl. At that time, the cases were discussed and it was determined that charges were going to be filed against Chief Executive Officer BLUNT…”

 

TREASURE ISLAND - COINS AND PRECIOUS METALS

 

 

What is auditor Jason Wahl (potentially a primary witness for the prosecution) doing at this meeting? As facts in this article demonstrate, NDSAO staff (clearly Wahl by name) played a significant and most likely inappropriate if not illegal role in this case from it’s charging to its conviction.

 

Records of communications obtained by this author evidence significant interest in the Blunt legal proceedings prior to the December 2008 trial by staff of NDSAO. Was the deception perpetrated by Wahl known of, or sanctioned by, other auditors or personnel of NDSAO? Was Auditor Bob Peterson aware and in support of Wahl’s and the other’s actions? If so are they all complicit in the deception? Have they become a party to perjury?

 

It should also be further pointed out that while the State Auditor badly wanted investigatory powers, NDSAO staff knew that they did not have investigatory powers and were not to perform investigatory function. The NDSAO had introduced 2007 Senate Bill 2054 on the very first day of the 60th Legislative Assembly proactively seeking immediate investigatory powers? Specifically, the State Auditor asked to:

 

 “Be vested with the authority to investigate and report on allegations of fraud, waste, abuse, and violations of state or federal law at state agencies and political subdivisions subject to audit by the state auditor.”

 

The Senate Political Subdivisions Committee swiftly and unanimously rejected the Bill by the third day of the 60th Legislative Assembly with a 5-0 Do Not Pass vote. The Bill was further roundly rejected on the Senate floor in a 45-2 Do Not Pass vote on the fourth day of the 60th Legislative Assembly. Yet, even after being clearly told no, NDSAO continued to take a demonstrably active if not driving role in the prosecution of Blunt doing the exact activities that the defeated bill told them they could not and were not to engage in. This author does not think it too much of a logical extrapolation to conjecture that NDSAO knew that their apparent active investigatory functions for BCSAO were not appropriate, acceptable, or LEGAL but undertook them nevertheless.

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Comments

visions Committee swiftly and unanimously rejected the Bill by the third day of the 60th Legislative Assembly with a 5-0 Do Not Pass vote. The Bill was further roundly rejected on the Senate floor in a 45-2 Do Not Pass vote on the fourth day of the 60th Legislative Assembly. Yet, even after being clearly told no, NDSAO continued to take a demonstrably active if not driving role in the prosecution of Blunt doing the exact activities that the defeated bill told them they could not and were not to e

Dress on April 22, 2010 at 08:27 am
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