Sen. Hayden to face ethics panel over nonprofit’s demise

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Sen. Jeff Hayden during a Minnesota Senate ethics committee hearing, Oct. 22, 2014. (Renee Jones Schneider | The Star Tribune via AP 2014)

The chair of the Senate Ethics Committee says she intends to hold a hearing within the next month on a complaint against state Sen. Jeff Hayden, DFL-Minneapolis. Republicans have filed several complaints against the Minneapolis senator, alleging he lied under oath about his knowledge of the problems at Community Action of Minneapolis and how he personally benefited.

The chair of the Senate Ethics Committee, Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, said she’ll check with the other members to figure out the best date to hold a hearing.

“The ethics committee will meet,” she said. “We made the commitment once all of the other investigations were completed.”

Pappas made her comments after Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, wrote her a letter demanding the committee act.

• Report: Nonprofit board members benefited from improper spending

He said an investigation by the Minnesota Department of Commerce has concluded and that a recent report by a court-appointed receiver tasked with winding down the nonprofit found CAM executives paid for Hayden and his wife to take trips and received other perks.

"You have these documents out there essentially confirming the complaint that we've made,” Hann said. “We think it's time for the Ethics Committee to sort of deal with this and remove the cloud that's hanging over the Senate and Sen. Hayden."

Hayden has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

He served on the CAM board in 2008 as a proxy for his aunt. After his election to the Legislature in 2009, he appointed his wife, Terri, as his proxy. He quit the board in September 2014 after state officials concluded CAM CEO Bill Davis misspent hundreds of thousands of dollars in agency money.

A federal grand jury indicted Davis and his son, Jordan Davis, on charges of theft and fraud. Both men pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.

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