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Investigative report on AG building lease, deleted e-mails completed

North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley has released the final report from Montana investigators who he assigned with probing a significant cost overrun at a building leased by the Attorney General’s office after it was discovered last year.

In addition to the cost overrun, analysts and investigators from Montana’s Division of Criminal Investigation looked into the deletion of emails following former North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem’s death in January of 2022 and former Deputy Attorney Troy Seibel’s subsequent resignation.

Investigators submitted two reports as well as a timeline of events starting in January of 2017 and concluding on June 1 of this year. Both reports name Seibel and Stenehjem’s former executive assistant Liz Brocker as “suspects.”

The Montana report found Brocker played a key role in the lack of transparency and confusion about the overrun. Records show Brocker asked for Stenehjem’s email account to be deleted in an email to an information technology employee on Jan. 29, 2022, a day after Stenehjem died. She wrote that the deletion was approved by Seibel. State law says a public official cannot knowingly delete public records “without lawful authority.”

Wrigley says his office will now turn the file over to a yet-to-be-determined North Dakota State’s Attorney to complete the investigation and review the materials for possible prosecution.

The chairman of the Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee said she is still looking at the report. Rep. Emily O'Brien (R-Grand Forks) said she plans to schedule a meeting soon.

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