Insight, analysis & opinion from Joe Paduda


If this could happen to him, it could happen to you

Sandy Blunt was the victim of prosecutorial misconduct on the part of a North Dakota state prosecutor, accused and convicted of ‘crimes’ that the prosecutor knew – in advance – were not crimes.
That’s the conclusion of an article authored by Peter Rousmaniere in today’s Risk and Insurance magazine.
Here’s an excerpt from Rousmaniere’s article:

In late 2006, state prosecutor Cynthia Feland began to investigate Blunt. In April 2007, she charged him with criminal misapplication of entrusted property. Virtually all of the evidence was trivial, such as the $320 the fund spent on lunches at an employee summit and others sums for gift certificates, flowers and small employee bonuses.
Blunt was also charged with misusing an employee’s license plate number in trying to identify who had leaked WSI’s payroll data to reporters.
Blunt, no stranger to public bureaucracies, responded that this spending was normal even for public enterprises and consistent with prior WSI practices. He also said that neither he nor his advisors knew the expenses were illegal.
In August 2007 a district court threw the case out as lacking merit. The prosecutor won a reversal from the North Dakota Supreme Court. In December 2007, the state fund board, under political pressure, terminated Blunt.
Blunt’s criminal trial took place in December 2008. Feland, lacking a respectable case, tarted up the criminal count with three more heavier-looking allegations, one of which the judge threw one out (claiming that Blunt had improperly awarded a grant to a volunteer firefighter association).
The two remaining new charges dealt with Blunt’s handling of an employee he had recruited, then forced out. Supposedly, Blunt had allowed the departing employee to earn his unused sick leave and also did not seek repayment of relocation expenses incurred when the person came onboard.
After Blunt was convicted, it came to light that neither the prosecutor nor the state auditor’s office had disclosed in discovery or in court testimony a state auditor’s memo that exonerated Blunt of error relating to the forced-out employee. [emphasis added]”

You read that correctly. Blunt was not only convicted on the basis of charges that the prosecutor knew were not criminal, but the prosecutor failed to provide that information to Blunt before the trial, a clear violation of the law.
Blunt’s case is currently on appeal, and he is waiting to hear on a decision from the North Dakota Supreme Court. If and when, the Court does the right thing and throws out his conviction, Blunt should sue the prosecutor and her accomplices for every dime they have and ever will have. Their behavior was that egregious.
What the state of North Dakota has done to Sandy Blunt is reprehensible.
What does this mean for you?
If this could happen to a person as above-board and completely honest as Sandy Blunt, it could happen to you.

2 thoughts on “If this could happen to him, it could happen to you”

  1. Even more… (from
    Amazingly, like nearly all of her case, the firefighter’s grant was never even signed by Sandy Blunt. Even more fittingly for this complex and seemingly malicious prosecution, Blunt was on administrative leave from the original charges filed against him when the grant was signed and the funds in question were released. Yes, you did read it correctly, Feland had the audacity to criminally charge Blunt for funds that were legally executed and released not by Blunt and when Blunt was not even working at WSI.
    So who signed the contract? The contract was legally and legitimately executed by John Halvorson, Acting CEO, and Anne Green, a SPECIAL ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL! So not only does Feland lie to the Judge to get the issue into the case, but she charges Blunt with a crime that was supposedly committed while he was on a well-documented and official leave from the agency!

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates




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