Former North Dakota Work Comp Director Appeals Conviction

October 22, 2009

North Dakota’s Supreme Court is reviewing the appeal of a former state workers’ compensation director who was convicted of misspending more than $26,000 in agency funds.

Sandy Blunt was convicted of a single felony charge last December. He was given a two-year deferred sentence, and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and perform 1,000 hours of community service.

A Bismarck jury found Blunt guilty of misspending Workforce Safety and Insurance agency funds on unauthorized expenses that included sick leave to an administrator who was not ill and illegal gifts and trinkets.

Blunt argues that Judge Bruce Romanick should have ordered an acquittal because the judge threw out a key part of the prosecution’s case. He says the jury didn’t have enough evidence to find him guilty.

Romanick has said he struggled with the sentencing, and said it was partly due to publicity about the case and the long-embattled agency, which has been plagued by staff turnover, allegations of wrongdoing and morale problems.

Blunt’s prosecutors say the exclusion of some of their evidence against Blunt doesn’t add up to an acquittal.

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