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

Updated: September 09, 2019 10:19 PM

In a unanimous vote, the Fairmont City Council agreed to seek an outside law firm to investigate whether anyone else at city hall knew that dozens of criminal cases had expired and failed to notify the council. 

The move comes less than a week after 5 INVESTIGATES found former City Attorney Elizabeth Bloomquist sat on the cases for so long the statute of limitations expired.


Councilmember Tom Hawkins said he made the motion to launch the investigation because the victims of domestic violence, who never got their day in court, deserve answers.

“We owe it to the public. We owe it to the city because this has happened, because this has been such a hard thing for so many people," Hawkins said. "We owe it to the public to know how did this happen and where did it break down?” 

More from KSTP: 

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

Mayor Deb Foster pushed for more answers about the cases — asking for a report from the county attorney’s office, who reviewed the leftover files after the city parted ways with Bloomquist earlier this year.

“Everybody needs to be accountable,” she said.

Councilmember Bruce Peters said the entire council is partially to blame.

“We were the responsible entity for overseeing our attorney and we still are. This was our fault. I take as much blame. I mean, we dropped the ball,” he said, adding that the council could have requested updates and progress reports from the city attorney. 

During the last city council meeting, City Administrator Mike Humpal repeatedly denied having any knowledge of expiring cases, telling the council that it wasn’t part of his job. Humpal stayed mostly silent during Monday night’s discussion.

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Ryan Raiche

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