Print Column: Something Seems Fishy in Wahpeton

MINOT, N.D. — North Dakota State College of Science President John Richman has long been desirous of further expanding his campus from Wahpeton, where it is mandated by the state constitution to reside, into Fargo.

Many, including this observer, feel the hiring of former state lawmaker and current Fargo City Commission member Tony Grindberg to work at NDSCS was a part of Richman’s campaign.

 That the Flint Group, a firm which employs Grindberg’s wife, was hired to consult on the expansion also seems something more than coincidence.

Last year, a divided State Board of Higher Education voted 5-3 to give Richman the authority to seek private funding for a workforce academy in Cass County. One dissenting board member, however, didn’t like the way the vote was done.

Kathy Neset argued that approving Richman’s request wasn’t on the board’s agenda. She also expressed dismay, in an email to Chancellor Mark Hagerott I obtained, over Richman’s “utter disrespect” and “condescending” tone toward the board.

Now Richman and his institution are under scrutiny from auditors who are investigating whistleblower complaints.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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