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Thursday, November 15, 2007

State settles with BCA investigator who alleged bias

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4 Comments:

Blogger Bob said...

By Dan Browning / StarTribune
startribune.com
updated 9:30 a.m. CT, Wed., Nov. 14, 2007


The state of Minnesota has agreed to pay nearly $73,000 to settle a federal whistleblower lawsuit in which a special agent for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension alleged that she was passed over for promotions because of her gender and that she was punished after reporting that some colleagues had padded their time cards.

The state offered to pay Denise Bechthold, 44, of Blaine, even more money if she would quit her job, said her attorney, William Mavity, of Red Wing. But Bechthold declined. "She loves working in law enforcement," Mavity said.

Bechthold is assigned to investigate cold cases, a job Mavity says she enjoys very much.

Records filed in the case say that Bechthold has been a special agent for the BCA since 1997. She received satisfactory performance evaluations and is regarded by management as a productive and skilled investigator.

According to her lawsuit, Bechthold's complaints with the department began in 2002 when she was assigned to the predatory offender unit over her objections. In May 2005, the department passed over Bechthold to fill two homicide investigation jobs with men she said were less qualified.

Narcotics officers from around the state overheard Timothy O'Malley, the BCA's superintendent, discussing the homicide appointments with Bechthold's supervisor when their conversation was inadvertently broadcast into a training room. They allegedly discussed ways to make her rejection "appear not to be discriminatory based on gender," her suit says.

In 2006, Bechthold filed several complaints about some colleagues who were allegedly padding their time sheets to make it look like they were working additional hours. She alleged that she was "placed on an investigatory leave of absence with pay because of unspecified allegations of her misconduct."

Mavity said he never found out what became of Bechthold's complaints about her colleagues. "I would have liked to pursue it deeper than we did," he said.

Christine Krueger, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety, said the agency investigated and determined that Bechthold's complaints of overtime padding were "unfounded." The state admitted no fault in the settlement.

The settlement agreement calls for the state to pay $43,650 to Bechthold and $29,100 to Mavity. The state will also pay Bechthold's share of the mediation fees, which were not specified.

Bechthold is satisfied with the settlement, Mavity said.

"She feels the amount of money the state was willing to pay her vindicated her claim," Mavity said.

Dan Browning • 612-673-4493

Dan Browning • dbrowning@startribune.com

7:08 AM  
Anonymous henry said...

I can't wait to see the Headlines when the city of St. Paul is forced to pay the plaintiff's their $100 Million in damages.

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mayor Coleman Pay Up.
Whistle blowers, please start catching the dirty politicians.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

padded time cards in city government sound normal.
its the padded expenses accounts that can add up, like gas, food allowances, lodging.
its not the needy that are greedy.

9:21 PM  

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