Jim Long Takes the Stand, Part Five

November 2, 2010

Jim Long testified that after Halvorson's appointment as interim CEO, there needed to be an investigation of Tim Hutchings, a member of the Executive team who was accused of abusing organizational resources and sexual harassing employees.  Tuntland established that Long was tasked to do a pre investigation report of the complaint, and that Hutchings had been investigated before.  Long said the investigation was performed behind closed doors, and that he was concerned about retaliation from Hutchings.   

Long said he went to general counsel Bjornson, who was also concerned, and referred Long to attorney Rob Forward.  He said his intent was to protect himself, and that Forward agreed to go along on the interview, but then backed out.  Long said Forward said he was afraid.  So Long said he brought up the idea of tape recording the interview;  he said it is routnely done in investigations, and attornet Forward said that was a good idea.

Long said he did tape Hutchings and fellow executive Sonja Nallie, and they subsequently made complaints against him.   That triggered an investigation of Long, which was conducted by Tim Wallene (sp?) and the AG'sTog Anderson.  Long said the result of the investigation was that he had done nothing wrong.

Long said he had a conversation with Halvorson about the tape recording, and that Halvorson didn't like it.  Long says Halvorson ordered no more tape recording, and Long followed his boss' instructions.

The charge against Blunt was dismissed, and Long said he thought that charge was gone, that Blunt would not be prosecuted for it.   The charges against Blunt and Leingang were also dismissed.  Tuntland asked whether, up until that time, had Long ever contacted anyone to say he had information about Blunt;  Long said he did not recall, and that Bjornson told him Mike Quinn of ND Bureau of Criminal Investigation's would be calling.   Long said he took no action to get Quinn to call him.

Long said Quinn called at the request of the State's attorney, and that he wished to ask questions about Blunt's use of expenses.  Long said he put the meeting on his computer calendar, "mtg at BCI," which was open for all to view.

Between the time Quinn had called and the meeting was set, Long says he entered the WSI building one evening and noticed the beam of a flashlight.  He discovered Internal Auditor Kay Grinsteinner rummaging through executive team member and Burleigh County Commisioner Mark Armstrong's desk.  Long said Grinsteinner motioned him into the office and told him to look at Armstrong's journal. 

Tuntland asked Long whether he thought Grinsteinner had authority to go through Armstrong's desk; he replied with a section from the Internal Audit Charter, which gave auditors "unfettered access to all documents and files."  Long liked it to airport TSA who, when they think there's a bomb, they turn things upside down to find it.

Long said he couldn't put Armstrong's journal down, and though he is not a lawyer, he thought he was seeing several crimes.  He said he thought that since
Armstrong was both Blunt's buddy and Burleigh County Commissioner, Armstrong would use his influence to make Blunt's investigation go away.

He said it appeared Armstrong was in violation of not providing open records to peoples' requests while providing them at no charge to Blunt.  He also said Armstrong and someone else wer trying to sneak something out of the WSI building, but were nervous because a reporter happeded to be there, and they thought they'd get caught.  Long said he didn't know what the something was.

Long said Grinsteinner copied the journal and gave it to him.  After his subsequent meeting with BCI's Quinn, who asked about Spencer's leave and moving expenses, Quinn asked if there were anything else, nd Long handed him the copy of Armstrong's journal. 

That led to a search warrant for Armstrong's office.  Long said he had the day off, and called Grinsteinner from the TSC store.  He could hear someone paging him at the office, and asked Grinsteinner to patch him through.  Front desk person Sue Mertz was calling, saying four cops were standing  in the lobby of WSI.  She handed the phone to Quinn, who said they were not being allowed in.  Quinn was angry, Long said, ready to break the door down, but Long said he would come over to the WSI building and let them in.

As he was escorting the cops to Armstrong's office, Long says he overheard Sonja Nellie, a friend of Blunt's, talking on the phone.  He said he heard Sandy's name, and heard her say ,"Jim Long just walked in with four cops and they're heading to Mark's office."

Long says he waited until Quinn had copied Armstrong's journal, then escorted them out of the building and went home, as it wsa his day off.  This was on a Friday.

But Long says he knew Blunt was going to be reinstated as CEO the following Monday.   So Saturday, he filed a whistleblower protection request with state's attorney Cynthia Feland.

No comments:

Post a Comment