A TV station reveals that Minnesota and local governments have been shelling out millions of taxpayer dollars to public employees to stay away from their jobs while they’re being investigated for allegations of misconduct, wrongdoing or crimes.
KARE-TV obtained public records that show the Twin Cities paid more than $3.7 million to workers over the past three years during internal investigations. The state is estimated to have paid out millions more.
The station says the investigations sometimes lasted for months and even years, such as the case of former Ramsey County Correctional Officer Travis VanDeWiele.
VanDeWiele was charged with misdemeanor assault for kneeing and punching a suspect in 2016. He spent more than two years on paid leave, receiving roughly $121,000.
VanDeWiele eventually pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and resigned.