Good Thunder mayor arrested for fraud, Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Office says

The mayor of Good Thunder, which is about 20 minutes south of Mankato, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of fraud, according to a news release from the Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Office.

Mayor Robert John Anderson was charged with embezzlement of public funds, two counts of theft, and four counts of violating his contract as a public official. He was booked into Blue Earth County Jail.

According to court documents, the Sheriff’s Office received information from the Office of the State Auditor, with concerns about one of the city’s purchases of real property in 2021. The office said that Anderson appeared to have a personal financial interest or may have personally benefitted financially from the purchase, which was in violation of Minn. Stat. § 471.87.

The city also violated Minn. Stat. § 471.89 when it contracted Anderson’s business, RJ Anderson LLC, for services on the property, according to the criminal complaint.

OSA reviewed a letter from the city attorney that said that Anderson appeared to have a direct conflict of interest in the purchase, and that he should recuse himself from any discussion of it, the complaint said. He also signed the purchase agreement, which was supposed to have been signed by someone else due to the conflict of interest.

The OSA then requested invoices that the city had received from Anderson’s businesses, as well as check stubs for payments for the invoices, according to court documents.

There were two check stubs corresponding to two invoices for work done Aug. 25, 2020 and April 19. 2022, the complaint said.

Documents showed that the city contracted his business, but that City Council didn’t approve these contracts, according to court documents. Anderson also didn’t submit an affidavit when his business sent claims to the city, the complaint said.

The city also paid nearly $25,000 for concrete materials sent to Anderson’s business, but OSA found that some of the money was used for non-city expenses.

The case is still under investigation, according to the Sheriff’s Office.