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Judges dismiss Jan Throndson campaign complaint

Jan Throndson's complaint against an opponent in his unsuccessful bid to be elected Rochester City Council president has been dismissed.

Three administrative law judges with the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings ruled Feb. 28 that Jeffrey Thompson, who also ran for the position, did not violate state laws when he rented two billboards for his campaign.

Throndson and Dennis Hanson were on November's ballot, though Hanson, who was council president, died several months before. Because of state law, Hanson's name could not be removed from the ballot, and he won the election. Thompson ran a write-in campaign. Now, four people, including Throndson and Thompson, are now on the ballot of a March 19 special election to determine a new council president.

After the November election, Throndson filed a complaint with the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings alleging that Thompson had violated state campaign law because he reported billboard expenditures of $2,100 when, in fact, they were $2,800.

But Thompson said he spent only $2,100, and was seeking a partial refund on that, because the billboards didn't meet his expectations. He said he should only have to list what he actually spent, not the contracted amount.


The three administrative law judges agreed with Thompson that the contract did not "create a disbursement." Debts owed by a candidate or committee are not reportable as disbursements, they wrote in their Feb. 28 ruling.

They dismissed the complaint in its entirety.

Throndson also filed a complaint against the Post-Bulletin for its pre-election coverage, contending it was slanted toward Hanson. The Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings dismissed that complaint, but Throndson has filed an appeal with the Minnesota Court of Appeals. That appeal is still pending.

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