Court conference sought

Dem-NPL candidate represents Minot event planner in AG case

A Minot event planner is being represented by North Dakota’s Democrat-NPL candidate for attorney general in her court battle with the Republican-led Attorney General’s Office.

Grand Forks attorney David Thompson, who is challenging Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem in the November election, last week asked North Central District Judge Doug Mattson for a pretrial conference for Terpsehore Maras Lindeman. The purpose of the conference is to obtain a scheduling order designed to expedite the case.

Lindeman previously had been acting as her own counsel.

Last January, the Attorney General’s Office asked the court to compel Lindeman to provide information related to her organization of “A Magic City Christmas,” which was to have been held in December 2017. The attorney general says it is investigating Lindeman for consumer fraud in connection with the event, alleging she failed to register as a professional fundraiser and misspent donations.

Assistant Attorney General Brian Card has been representing the state with assistance from Parrell Grossman, assistant attorney general who heads the consumer protection division.

Lindeman has stated she is not required under law to register and did not receive donations other than qualified reimbursements. She accuses the attorney general of wrongly opening an investigation without a consumer complaint.

Mattson granted the order to compel information March 1. The Attorney General’s Office was back in court earlier this month, seeking enforcement of the order because the office and Lindeman are at odds over whether requested information has been provided.

At the last hearing, Mattson found Lindeman in contempt of court and ordered her to produce certain requested information. The Attorney General’s Office submitted its costs, which it is seeking from Lindeman, and Lindeman has until the end of next week to respond before the court rules on whether or how much she must pay. Mattson did not act to restrict Lindeman’s internet use, which had been listed as a consideration before the court if contempt was found.

Prior to the hearing, Lindeman filed a last-minute motion for dismissal, to which the Attorney General’s Office recently responded. However, Mattson has asked Thompson to inform the court by Sept. 4 whether he wishes the motion to go forward.

Also, in July, the state filed a new case against Lindeman, accusing her of failing to register as a charitable organization or professional fund raiser and using deceptive practices in advertising and fundraising. The state seeks to recover losses suffered by consumers who may come forward, along with its costs and attorney fees, and asks for a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000 for each violation.