Commerce head hires private lawyer in wake of agency audit

November 6, 2019

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The head of the North Dakota agency that promotes tourism and economic development has hired an attorney after a critical audit of the agency.

Commerce Director Michelle Kommer told the Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee Wednesday that she hired the lawyer in the wake of an audit released last month.

Among the findings was that the agency violated the law on bidding uncompetitive contracts totaling more than $87,000 for the state’s new “Be Legendary” logo. Kommer says the agency did nothing wrong.

The audit also alleged the agency improperly charged more than $850,000 to a wrong two-year budget cycle. The audit says the agency incorrectly made payments totaling nearly $124,000 to unapproved subcontractors.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has called on South Dakota authorities to help investigate the agency.