Franken campaign looking into unpaid fine in New York

Al Franken
Al Franken
MPR Photo/Mark Zdechlik

The state of New York fined the personal corporation of Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken $25,000 for not carrying workers compensation insurance for almost three years.

Andy Barr, a spokesman for Franken's Senate campaign, said Franken didn't become aware of the unpaid fine until Tuesday. The fine was first reported on Minnesota Democrats Exposed, a Web site sympathetic to incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, whom Franken is seeking to unseat in November.

The New York Workers' Compensation Board levied the fine against Alan Franken Inc. in August 2006, for failure to carry workers' compensation insurance from June 2002 to March 2005. Brian Keegan, a board spokesman, said a number of notices were sent to the address the New York agency had listed for Franken.

Barr said Franken's accountant is looking into what happened. He said the Franken team believes it may have been a clerical mistake on the part of the Workers' Compensation Board, but said it's also possible the Frankens made an oversight by not keeping the insurance current.

If the latter turns out to be true, he said, Franken will pay the fine.

Barr said Franken and his wife moved from New York to Minnesota around the time the fine was levied, which he said may be why they never received notices. He said Franken established the corporation to receive payments for speeches, royalty checks from his TV and movie roles and other income. The corporation typically had anywhere from zero to one or two part- or full-time employees at any one time, he said.

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