Susan Bala, was an entrepreneur that created a good source of revenue through her now-defunct Racing Services Inc. for the state of North Dakota. She was the president of Racing Services Inc. that would handle off-track betting in North Dakota on horse races. In 2003, as a very wealthy and outspoken critic of then Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem who at the time was completing his first term and was running as the incumbent was threatened by her. Bala was victim of malicious and wrongful prosecution by Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley. Stenehjem has been Attorney General in ND for almost 19 years and has done nothing but cost the tax payers at almost $1MIL per year of service in wrongful prosecutions. Why is he constantly being elected?
The amount of “POWER” and corruption that festers in the state of North Dakota is demonstrated by her swift and very public conviction that was OVERTURNED in 2007. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined that federal prosecutors failed to prove Bala had committed any crimes, including failure to pay taxes on $99 million of bets wagered by “high-roller” horse-racing fans.
So how did this woman go to jail, lose her company and come up with nothing? How is this even happening in the United States of America? This woman was wrongfully prosecuted for simply being a staunch critic of Stenehjem’s and threatened his re-election due to the amount of money she had to contribute to the Democratic Party for his opponent. At the time of his first incumbent run the state was buzzing with talk of his tendency to enjoy the company of minors and his first term was a fizzle doing nothing positive for the state. It seems that Stenehjem weaponized his office against Bala in order to stymie any financing of his opposition.
Stenehjem, has 19 years in office with many examples of questionable behavior. Incredibly, judges on a district level seem to abide with his bidding and cases that reach the Supreme Court almost alwasy are in favor of the wronged citizen. Stenehjem has even refused to comply with an order to return property wrongfully and unconstitutionally confiscated. Makes the judicial system in North Dakota seem like the wild wild west. What is most alarming is that Drew Wrigley, Wayne Stenehjem’s counterpart in the case of Susan Bala has been nominated by President Donald J. Trump to be ND US Attorney once more! The citizens of North Dakota are outraged. Many have written to the President to retract his nomination of the former US Attorney of ND Wrigley in light of many questionable actions including and not limited to the case of Ms. Bala.
The 8th Circuit said there was no crime. No there there. Thus, the questionable federal prosecutors of the US Attorney Wrigley’s office agreed to withdraw the convictions against the co-defendants of Bala’s BUT not for Bala who had spent over a year in prison.
Ms. Bala’s lawsuit explicitly claims that Stenehjem threatened to “ruin” her if she did not relinquish control to a company that Stenehjem suggested to her. What? This sounds insane but the AG demanded her relinquish control to someone else and she was coerced in doing so. After all, you are being raided and tried for crimes you didn’t commit, being extorted by those who are supposed to be upholding the law is almost inevitable. This is just how #AboveTheLaw they think they are. Is this how he get’s the nickname Teflon Wayne?
In 2014, a federal judge ruled that the state of North Dakota wasn’t authorized to collect taxes on account wagering, a form of gambling that utilized services like RSI, during the time period involved and North Dakota agreed to pay RSI’s bankruptcy estate about $15.9 million. The most recent ND State Budget factors in the $15.9 Million owed Susan Bala.
PW Enterprises, a creditor for RSI filed an initial claim of about $2.2 million during the initial bankruptcy claim but of course after the state agreed to pay Ms. Bala’s bankruptcy estate $15.9 million, they amended their claim on the bankruptcy estate by about $10.8 million. The court denied their new claim and simply approved their initial claim of $2.2 million.
Here is where it gets insane. In summary, from the $15.9 MIL Bala was awarded PWE receives $2.2 MIL. Incredibly and in a most vengeful effort they petitioned the court that the remaining $13.7 MIL be donated to charity. Baseless claims and simply grandstanding.
Not surprisingly, Stenehjem who is the brain child of this wrongful prosecution and is credited with the burden of costs the tax payers must pay back to Bala took an official position. He submitted a formal position. This is unheard of.
Many of us here at the capitol feel horrible for Ms. Bala. Stenehjem along with Bill Wass worked hand in hand against Ms. Bala and now in concert with them for PWE to make their baseless claim. The fact that our local media won’t talk about it and let the public know exactly what is going on is very telling. The atrocious nonsensical article by the Forum tells you all you need to know about regional media.Republican State Legislator
Most recently Stenehjem has drawn increased attention from federal authorities for allegations of abuse of office and authority, implication in organized crime rings, knowingly providing false information in a court of law, criminal informant deaths, extortion, and per recent 2018 Supreme Court ND case Kuntz v. Stenehjem the court found he had provided false testimony and or refused to comply with the Open Records Act.
Stenehjem submitted an official “Friend of the Court” opinion supporting the notion that Ms. Bala who was wrongfully prosecuted and wrongfully imprisoned should not receive monies. Instead he cited state law on parimutuel betting and how proceeds are to be handled once things like expenses are accounted for. Stenehjem maintained that as an alternative to awarding the returned money to gamblers that the court should give them to charities. Imagine being losing your business, being wrongfully prosecuted, wrongfully imprisoned and being told you deserve no restitution? #VenezuelaMuch
Bala receiving these funds can help fund or assist various individuals across the state seeking remedy and or criminal prosecution for Stenehjem’s actions going as far back as the early 2000’s with allegations ranging from harassment to illegal surveillance. Of course he doesn’t want her to have it.Fargo Resident complainant
We probably have the first ever case to be filed in North Dakota for a 1983 Civil Rights Violation. It’s incredible how citizens who are victim of such behavior can come together.Member of Legal Team for one of the class action suits
Two class actions suits are being formulated to be filed with the state of North Dakota with large law firms around the nation representing former elected officials, former candidates for state positions, journalists and constituents to hold the Attorney General’s office accountable for multiple civil rights violations.. They hope to be filed by the end of 2019 and are awaiting for at least one criminal complaint to be heard before moving forward.
The malicious prosecution of Susan Bala, the harassment of citizens and government servants by using the power of his office is a crime. There is a conspiracy statute and that has been successfully applied to the criminal complaint. It’s been filed with the Department of Justice. He’s weaponizing his office, making public statements and claims with the full authority of his office against those that threaten his reign or ability to enact in alleged crimes that are atrocious.Criminal Complaint Plaintiff
They had to obtain counsel outside the state of North Dakota and get law firms from various states including Washington DC to assist in a case this size which is very intricate with a lot of players. No attorney in the state would take such a case out of fear of retribution and judges allowing such behavior will be scrutinized. This will shake the “good ole boy” network of North Dakota to the core and may bring about the possibility for multiple criminal referrals from evidence to be presented by many persons demonstrating clear Civil Rights Violations.Representative of the group formulating the 1983 Class Action Suit
In 2017, The Minuteman (the only factual news regional news outlet for the state of North Dakota) gave three reasons why the Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem should be unemployed.
This unprecedented move by the Stenehjem is evident harassment to a victim of his abuse of authority and it’s not the first time he’s demonstrated this type of behavior. Luckily the Trump Administration has no qualms of holding people vested with authority accountable for such actions. It will be interesting to see what will come of the criminal complaints filed and the class action suits pending.