DHS Settles Whistleblower Lawsuit for $295K

Updated: 07/11/2014 7:38 AM
Created: 07/10/2014 5:34 PM
By: Jay Kolls

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has learned the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has settled a whistleblower lawsuit for $295,000. 

Paul Olson blew the whistle on a backroom deal he says was orchestrated by former DHS Assistant Commissioner Scott Leitz. He said it allowed Amplatz Children's Hospital, at the University of Minnesota, to receive $3 million in Medicaid money it was not legally entitled to receive.

Leitz is now the CEO of MNsure, the state's new health insurance exchange. We first aired the story of the Amplatz deal, and a short time later the state ordered Amplatz to return any federal tax money it might have received under the improper arrangement.

Olson says he was retaliated against by his bosses at DHS after he reported the Amplatz deal to his superiors. Olson says he was demoted, given his first unsatisfactory job review in 30 years at DHS and even received a threatening, anonymous, phone call at his office. Olson says he decided to file a lawsuit under the Whistleblower Protection Act.

DHS declined our request for an on-camera interview but issued a statement that reads, in part, "We do not believe that Olson was unfairly retaliated against. The settlement is in the best interest of the state and taxpayers."

Olson tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he feels "justified" but is sad to see his career end on this note. Olson has now retired from state government.

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