Investigation determines former EDHA director Jim Richter ordered a federal document be shredded during the time of audit

EDHA loan scandal 2.0

by Timothy Charles Holmseth

EGF City Administrator David Murphy released his findings yesterday regarding an internal investigation of allegations that an EDHA supervisor maliciously interfered with a HUD recipient’s employment, and ordered a federal document shredded for illegal purposes.

The investigative findings are raising eyebrows because the document shredding appears to be misconduct by former EDHA director Jim Richter, as he attempted to avoid detection and prosecution for the $510,000 loan scandal involving Boardwalk Enterprises.

The original complaint itself is unique, because the targeted HUD recipient is Timothy Charles Holmseth, a former award-winning news reporter that at the time of the alleged infraction was actively gathering information on corrupt local officials and reporting it to the Minnesota State Auditor and FBI – as well as publishing it on his website

On May 30, 2014, Holmseth filed a complaint to the City of East Grand Forks alleging a supervisor at the EDHA/HUD office instructed Kim Nelson, a housing coordinator, to neglect a request for information the EDHA/HUD office received from a federal agency regarding Holmseth; and further instructed Nelson to shred the document – while notifying Holmseth of nothing.

Holmseth only learned the document had been shredded because he physically visited the EDHA/HUD office and asked to speak to Nelson.

Murphy found that Nelson had in fact been instructed to shred the document by former EDHA director Jim Richter.

But the report contains a glaring omission, because it offers no explanation whatsoever as to why Nelson did not respond to the federal agency’s simple request for address verification – something easily within the purview of the rental assistance program, which receives federal dollars.

The omitted details seriously incriminate Richter, because he committed the malicious and suspicious acts against the investigative journalist (Holmseth) during the same time-window the EDHA was facing an audit regarding the Boardwalk Enterprises scam.

The document Richter ordered to be shredded was an address verification form that had been sent to Nelson, the HUD agent assigned to Holmseth’s file. Holmseth used his HUD agent (Nelson) as a reference to confirm his physical address for a federal background check being performed so he could work at a secure local federal facility. The address verification form was sent to Nelson at EGF City Hall from the U.S. Office of Security, which was conducting the check on Holmseth for the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Murphy’s findings are creating doubt about City Officials’ professed desire to get to the bottom of everything that took place regarding the EDHA loan scandal. The findings appear to be yet another attempt to cover-up for the illegal activities of Richter.

The following is Murphy’s findings in their entirety:
•City Employee Kim Nelson received a letter addressed specifically to her, not to the City or EDHA from a Federal Agency.
•Ms. Nelson was out on leave during the time that the letter arrived.
•Ms. Nelson picked up the letter when she came in to the office to collect some personal items and brought it to her residence.
•Ms. Nelson opened the letter at her residence and phoned in to the EDHA Office to inquire what she should do with it.
•Ms. Nelson told EDHA Director Jim Richter that she had received an address verification form regarding Timothy Holmseth and that contained Mr. Holmseth’s address, but not his apartment number.
•Mr. Richter told her that the policy was to shred documents that contain personal information and asked her if she had a shredder. She stated that she did and he told her to shred it.

Read Murphy’s Report

“After review of this situation, I have determined that the document was shredded in error. If you are still in need of address verification, please feel free to have the requesting entity to contact me,” Murphy added.

Murphy does not address why Holmseth’s address verification was not completed and returned.

The omission is troubling, because what actually happened in reality is found in two critical sentences that Holmseth included in his letter to the FBI, which was attached as a supporting exhibit to his complaint to the City of` EGF.

“Ms. Nelson advised her boss it was an address verification form for Timothy Holmseth. She said her superior told her “you do NOT send ANYTHING!”.

“I asked Ms. Nelson why her superior would object to something so innocuous. Ms. Nelson said, “Because they don’t fucking trust me”.

While it appears Murphy is attempting to somehow make the astonishing suggestion that the letter was personal mail because it contained Nelson’s first and last name, he does not address why Nelson telephoned Richter for instructions regarding the letter, and was further required to follow HUD policy regarding the form it contained.

On May 2, 2014, Holmseth emailed Nelson because he was concerned that somebody in the EDHA office was attempting to sabotage his new job by deliberately holding up his clearance for the federal building.

Released here, for the first time, is a statement made by Nelson to Holmseth during an email exchange.

“I do not believe at all that anyone in our office is trying to sabotage your job. I think since the letter was from the U.S. Federal Investigator’s office? I think my boss got nervous and just wanted to see the form, nothing else,” Nelson said.

Nelson’s statement about Richter being nervous because the letter was from a “U.S. Federal Investigator’s office” is consistent with her previous statement to Holmseth when she said she couldn’t respond to the request for information “because they don’t fucking trust me”.

The facts and circumstances show that Richter, who has subsequently retired amidst an ongoing investigation into the Boardwalk Enterprises scandal, was engaging in misconduct and possibly criminal activity. There is no logical reason for Richter to fear Nelson filling out an address verification form for a HUD recipient, yet he ordered her to shred it and then say nothing.

The Boardwalk Enterprises scandal is an investigative quagmire because over ten years worth of files contain inexplicable gaps and documents appear to be missing. The situation was so bad that an outside attorney needed to be hired to sort it out.

Richter’s directive to shred a document from the U.S. Security Office during the time of an audit is evidence that document destruction is commonplace within the City of EGF.

Murphy’s finding that Richter’s order to shred a federal document, which was making him nervous, was simply an “error” is igniting a call for a federal investigation into the City itself.

In December of 2012 the EGFPD raided Holmseth’s home-office wearing bullet-proof vests and seized all of his journalism equipment. His hard-drive was illegally searched without a warrant at an unknown location for several months. No ‘Record of Examination’ or ‘Chain of Evidence’ was kept by the police. When the hard-drive was returned it was ruined.

During the gestapo style raid, EGFPD Sgt. Chris Olson asked Holmseth’s teenage daughter where she worked and she told him. The next day Holmseth’s daughter telephoned her father and said Olson was in the Grand Forks restaurant where she works and she had to wait on him – she had never seen him there before.

A short time later – EGF City Attorney Ronald Galstad repeated Olson’s actions and came to the teen’s place of work.

Nelson described her workplace at the EGF EDHA/HUD office as a terrifying culture of intimidation rife with bullying from supervisors engaging in systemic corruption.

Holmseth is presently seeking an attorney.


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