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Investigative report on AG-leased building could soon be released

Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee chair Rep. Emily O'Brien (R-Grand Forks)
Dave Thompson
Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee chair Rep. Emily O'Brien (R-Grand Forks)

A report from the Montana Bureau of Criminal Investigation looking into a $1.7 million cost overrun incurred by former Attorney General Wayne Stenehejm’s office, concerning a lease for a building in south Bismarck, should be available within a few weeks.

That’s what the chairman of the Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee told her panel.

The building in question is owned by Republican State Representative Jason Dockter of Bismarck, who agreed to lease the building to the state before he owned it. Work had to be done to the building to bring it into compliance with Attorney General’s office needs.

A state audit said the contracting firm – also co-owned by Dockter – may have overcharged the state for the work – something that Dockter disputes.

Several e-mails from Stenehjem’s account were deleted.

The Legislative Committee had referred the matter to current Attorney General Drew Wrigley, who contracted with Montana to do the investigation.

"We had inquired about the status of the report," said LAFRC Chairman Rep. Emily O'Brien (R-Grand Forks). "I was told that we should have one in the next couple of weeks."

O'Brien said it has been 10 months since the LAFRC committee heard about this.

"Hopefully, we will have a report here in the next week or two to review," O'Brien said.

O’Brien said she may call a special meeting of her committee when the report is released.

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