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Fairmont hires outside investigator to look at city's role in expiring cases

Updated: October 14, 2019 09:48 PM

An outside investigator is reviewing the city’s role in criminal cases that were allowed to expire in the City of Fairmont after 5 INVESTIGATES found dozens that sat for so long they can no longer be charged.

The Fairmont City Council recently approved the hiring of Michelle Soldo, who runs a consulting firm in the Twin Cities, to investigate whether any city leaders had knowledge of expiring cases and failed to take action.

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In September, 5 INVESTIGATES found that now-former City Attorney Elizabeth Bloomquist let the three-year statute of limitations expire on at least 36 cases, including investigations of domestic violence and drunk driving.

Bloomquist reached a separation agreement with the city in the spring over concerns about her job performance. It wasn’t until after she left when the city became aware of the extent of the issue.

The city agreed to hire Soldo at a rate of $150 per hour. 5 INVESTIGATES has learned that interviews have already begun at city hall.

The city council is expected to receive an update on the investigation at Monday night's regularly scheduled council meeting. The issue may surface again when the council goes into a closed session to discuss the performance of City Administrator Mike Humpal. 


More from KSTP: 

Fairmont looks to outside firm to investigate who knew about expiring cases

Former prosecutor calls on Fairmont leaders to audit past domestic cases following 5 INVESTIGATES report

Out of Time: Domestic violence cases can't be charged after city prosecutor sat on dozens of investigations for years


Humpal has previoulsy denied knowledge of the expiring cases.

Rachel Paulose, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches law at the University of St. Thomas, believes the city now needs to work on transparency and getting answers for the victims.

“It’s very important for citizens to know who knew what and when, and who was involved, and the chain of command, and who had information at their fingertips and who was all involved or responsible in diligently pursuing investigations,” Paulose said.

In the interest of restoring the public’s trust, Paulose would like to see the findings of the investigation opened for everyone to see.

“If there is a report issued, that report should be open to the public, even if it’s in redacted form," he sai.d "If there are specific recommendations to prevent this tragedy from happening again, the public has a right to know that.”

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Ryan Raiche

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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