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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Polk County may have lost money in LIBOR scandal

  • County board OKs letter supporting potential litigation.
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  •     The vast implications of the international scandal LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) that rocked the world of finance when it broke last summer are still coming out, and a number of Minnesota counties, including Polk, may have lost money tied to this. For this reason, Polk County commissioners approved sending a letter of support to the Association of Minnesota Counties to proceed with potential LIBOR litigation.
        According to information provided by AMC, LIBOR is an average interest rate calculated through submissions of interest rates by major banks in London. It recently came to light that many of the international banks that offer investments based on this rate allegedly conspired to fix the rate artificially low, from around September 2007 through the end of 2011. The end result was that anyone who purchased these investments suffered a loss of earnings compared to what they would have earned in a free market.
        AMC stresses that each county need to evaluate its exposure to the price fixing scandal and if it would be in the county's best interest to proceed with litigation. There are currently four class action suits consolidated in pending litigation that some or all claims of Minnesota counties may be covered.
        "I can't imagine it's going to be a lot of money involved for Polk County, although some of the larger counties might have more of a stake in this," said Administrator Chuck Whiting. "These are taxpayer dollars, and we owe it to the taxpayers to be diligent with their funds. There are a lot of public dollars worldwide tied to this."
    Other businesses    
        • The board approved appointing Jacob Snyder as the interim planning and zoning administrator, with an appropriate pay raise, effective Jan. 1 until the position is filled. Human Resources Coordinator Linsey Rood said Snyder, currently an environmental technician with the department, has been carrying on the duties since Josh Johnston left the position in December. Interviews will be conducted this week and next for the administrator and an open environmental technician position, but she said it could still take some time before the permanent replacement is on the job.
        • A detour agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation District 2 was approved for this summer. MnDOT will be doing various construction work on Trunk Highway 9 from Ada to the Norman/Polk County line, starting approximately June 24. This will require a detour using County State Aid Highways 14 and 1 for an estimated time of 62 days. The amount paid to the county for use of the roads will be approximately $1,265.
        • A board work session will be held Tuesday, Jan. 22, following the regular board meeting. Items on tap for this session include: Veteran's Services Coordinator Les Goodwin with an update on the department; discussion of the management information systems director position; a presentation on board room modification options; and acquisition of additional property near Tilberg Park, if available.
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