In the spring of 2007, I traveled to my home state of North Dakota to shoot a couple of key stories for the documentary film I was making, Broadcast Blues, one on the ammonia spill that traumatized Minot, the other to interview Ed Schultz, the leading progressive talk radio host in the country, who at that time broadcast out of Fargo.
I remember a lot of talk
about indictments against the CEO of North Dakota's Workforce Safety and
Insurance Agency (this state's equivalent of Workers' Compensation.) I
didn't know much about it, other than Big Eddie was talking about it
almost every day on his local radio program.
Last summer, I happened to meet Chad Nodland, who closely covered the case on his ND political blog, NorthDecoder.com.
I learned the initial felony charges had been dropped, and staffers
had been fired; then felony charges had been reinstated, and Chief
Executive Charles (Sandy) Blunt was convicted of misusing state funds.
Blunt appealed, charging the prosecutor withheld evidence, but his
appeal was denied. (Blunt is now suing North Dakota in the US Supreme Court.)
what got my attention: one of the staffers who was fired in the wake
of this, Jim Long, has filed a whistleblower suit against WSI and the
state of North Dakota.
It's not every day somebody blows a
whistle on a state - just my kind of story. My work is about holding
government accountable and working in the Public Interest.
covered trials in depth before, (I'll write a separate post on this,)
and I realized just days ago that it was unlikely anyone would sit in
the courtroom and provide play by play reporting on this trial to inform
the people of North Dakota what is going on in their own state
So here I am, just bringing a little sunshine to ND!