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Minnesota officials investigate dissolved charitable foundation

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A philanthropist who donated $50 million to help build the University of Minnesota's children's hospital has dissolved her charitable foundation and given the remaining $1.77 million to her father's new medical device company.

The Pioneer Press reported that Caroline Amplatz's decision last month began an investigation by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson's office, which has asked her to retrieve the foundation's assets before it reviews the legality of giving money intended for charitable purposes to a private company.

Amplatz said in an email Thursday that she returned the funds to the Caroline Kid's Foundation's bank account to comply with a mandatory waiting period.

Amplatz, who is an attorney, said the transfer isn't illegal and that the issue entails determining how to pay future taxes, which she said she intends to do.

She has given generously to a variety of Twin Cities organizations over the past decade. She has donated to environmental, education and arts causes, including $3 million to the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts in Minneapolis.

The foundation, to which she said she is the sole donor, has given away about $1.76 million since 2008, according to annual reports filed with the Attorney General's Office. Other donations, such as the large gift to the children's hospital, were made as an individual unrelated to the foundation.

Her wealth comes from the medical inventions of her father, Kurt Amplatz, who founded AGA Medical with his daughter's then husband, Franck Gougeon.

After her divorce, Amplatz gave money as an individual donor and through her foundation, which she established in 2008. She said she is dissolving the foundation now because it "interferes" with her goals.

"It didn't benefit me and it slowed down my philanthropy," Amplatz said. "It required accounting and lawyers and board meetings and the funds weren't invested the way I wanted them to be."

Amplatz said she intends to continue giving as a private individual rather than the structure of a foundation.