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Thursday, November 12, 2009


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


Feland charged and convicted Blunt of not collecting moving expenses from his “friend” Dave Spencer stating to that:


“As Spencer resigned less then 2 years after being hired, he was required by WSI policy and state law to reimburse WSI for one-half of those moving expenses. Again, contrary to WSI policy and state law, the defendant allowed Spencer to keep the entire moving reimbursement illegally and all of the evidence of this fraudulent action has been previously provided to the defendant.”


However, a series of notes in the NDSAO audit working papers show that this issue was fully reviewed by State Auditors with the North Dakota Attorney General’s Office (NDAGO) and that WSI (Blunt) acted appropriately (legally) in not collecting the money since Spencer’s resignation was not “voluntary.” Notes by Auditor Ron Tolstad dated October 20, 2006, state “Eventually we were told (and convinced) the separation was other than voluntary [based on discussions with Attorney General's Office determination was made the separation was other than voluntary; letter offering position requires 50% payback if leave voluntarily in first 2 years].” And notes by Auditor Jason Wahl dated October 24, 2006, state “… Sandy identified new information which makes it appear Dave's leaving would not fit the definition of voluntarily leaving (payback provision required voluntary leaving). Due to this, no recommendation is made to recover the $7,500.”


Perhaps most important was that Wahl put these facts into a November 8, 2007, memo which he sent to Feland where Wahl stated:  


…Based on the information Mr. Blunt provided, he made it appear Mr. Spencer’s leaving was not completely voluntary - either Mr. Spencer had to choose to leave or Mr. Blunt would make that decision for him. Mr. Blunt specifically stated it was not a voluntary departure. Due to the new information provided by Mr. Blunt, we determined, in consultation with a representative of the Attorney General’s Office, there was not a voluntary resignation so it was determined to drop the recommendation we had drafted.”


NDSAO auditors then go on to either strike out or hand X out all references to the moving expenses recommendation in their audit working papers; an intentional act to signify for the record that the recommendation was invalid. 


Further yet, Wahl’s November 8, 2007, memo to Feland clearly advised her that “I (Wahl) was considering a recommendation regarding Mr. Spencer's use of sick leave.” Considering how contentious the audit of WSI had become, I have absolutely no doubt that if Spencer’s use of sick leave had simply “hinted” at impropriety Wahl would have prominently included his concern at least as a recommendation in the final audit. While Wahl may have “considered” a recommendation regarding Spencer's use of sick leave, that is as far as it ever went as neither Wahl nor any other NDSAO auditor ever drafted a formal or even informal recommendation to WSI and the legislature. Easily accessed and publicly available documents show that no recommendation in any form was ever drafted let alone ever published in the final performance audit.


Contrary to Feland’s and Suhr’s assertions to Judge Romanick and the jury, the issue of Dave Spencer’s sick leave and moving expenses were settled before the audit was ever published in October of 2006. And these prosecutors were clearly advised of this fact no less than 12 months BEFORE Feland lied to the Judge to add these “crimes” against Blunt just weeks before his trial.

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