Blaine’s former chief building official charged with two misdemeanors

Blaine’s former chief building official has been charged in Anoka County District Court for allegedly taking money for a residential electrical inspection he was neither approved nor qualified to perform.

Gary Hagedorn, 58, Coon Rapids, a 16-year city employee, was arraigned April 26 on gross misdemeanor misconduct by a public officer and misdemeanor theft by swindle charges.

His last day of employment with the city of Blaine was April 9, said City Manager Clark Arneson.

If convicted, Hagedorn faces a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a $3,000 fine for the misconduct charge and a $1,000 fine and 90 days in the county jail for the theft by swindle charge.

The complaint filed against Hagedorn specifically alleges he took a $400 personal check from a manufactured homeowner on the 3000 block of 87th Avenue N.E. last summer.

Hagedorn was not the approved electrical inspector for the city of Blaine.

He did not possess the requisite authority or necessary license or education to complete an inspection on behalf of the homeowner, the complaint alleges.

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry has been designated as the city of Blaine’s sole inspection authority for all electrical inspections performed within city limits.

“We delegate authority for electrical to the state and they are responsible for electric permits – most cities do this unless they have their own electrical inspector,” Arneson said.

Hagedorn’s court charges prompted an internal city investigation, Arneson said.

Hagedorn was charged by summons March 29 and a special prosecutor was appointed to try the case.

“We third-partied the criminal side of this to the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office and a prosecutor with the East Bethel City Attorney’s office,” Arneson said.

The court complaint filed against Hagedorn lists Jennifer Nodes with the Stillwater-based firm of Eckberg, Lammers, Briggs, Wolff & Vierling as prosecuting attorney.

The complaint alleges on July 19, 2010, city officials received a report regarding safety concerns at the residence on 87th Avenue N.E.

The residence was in complete disrepair due to an extensive remodel.

The case was assigned to the Blaine housing and building inspection departments for follow-up action.

A day later, housing department officials conducted a property inspection and determined that the site was unlivable.

The manufactured home was posted with a “no occupancy” notice July 26, 2010.

Officials told the homeowner he needed to obtain building permits so the majority of the renovations could be completed.

Hagedorn returned to the residence Aug. 5, 2010 and spoke to the homeowner about the work and the necessary building permits he would have to acquire to complete the renovations.

The man’s adult son was present during the discussion, the complaint alleges.

Hagedorn reviewed the work to be completed and discussed with the homeowner and his son the need for city permits before any work could be initiated.

The complaint alleges Hagedorn told both men he could complete the electrical inspection for the property for a fee less than that which would be assessed through the state inspector.

He alleged he had specific experience working with manufactured homes and quoted a fee of $400.

Three days later, the homeowner issued a $400 personal check to Hagedorn to cover the cost of the residential electrical inspection.

When interviewed by a detective, Hagedorn allegedly denied agreeing to completing an electrical inspection for the homeowner, but did acknowledge he did not have the authority or training or license to conduct such an inspection within the city.

Hagedorn allegedly admitted to receiving the personal funds from the man and accepting them as payment for work for a compliance inspection, but also admitted that no work had been completed on the residence since the initial walk-through of the home.

To date, Hagedorn has failed to complete any work on behalf of the property owner, according to the complaint.

Arneson said last week that Dan Hauck is currently serving as Blaine’s interim chief building official.

“We are currently advertising for a permanent replacement,” he said.

According to Arneson, Hagedorn’s firing comes as an extremely bad time because the city is undergoing its spring rush of building permit applications.

“Our employees have stepped up, and I’ve authorized overtime,” Arneson said, adding the nine-person department remains on schedule to complete 350 residential inspections.

Hagedorn’s next court appearance is May 24. Judge James Cunningham, Jr. released Hagedorn on his own recognizance, court documents stated.

Tim Hennagir is at [email protected]

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