Minn. auditor investigating Iron Range board complaint

Excelsior Energy project
An artist's rendition of the proposed Excelsior Energy coal gasification plant.
Image courtesy Excelsior Energy

The Minnesota Legislative Auditor's office is looking into a complaint about money loaned by Iron Range Resources to Excelsior Energy.

The company is seeking regulatory approval to build a high-tech coal-gasification power plant on the Iron Range.

Brad White with the auditor's office says investigators are doing a preliminary assessment of the complaint and if it finds something a formal probe could follow.

White did not reveal the source of the complaint, but a resident's group called Citizens Against the Mesaba Project has issued a press release claiming credit.

Tom Micheletti
Tom Micheletti is co-president and CEO of Excelsior Energy, the company behind the Mesaba Energy Project.
MPR Photo/Bob Kelleher

The group is working to stop the Excelsior plant. It complains about the processes under which the Iron Range economic group loaned the company millions of dollars.

It also questions how Excelsior has handled public money, including spending on lobbying and undocumented claims for expenses.

Top Excelsior executive Tom Micheletti calls the complaint another fishing expedition by the group, but says his company will cooperate with the auditors.

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Information from: The Daily Tribune, http://www.hibbingmn.com/placed/

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