They’re accused of getting paid at local office for work they didn’t do; trio has been on paid leave for three months

    Three full-time state employees who work out of the Crookston Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) office are being investigated for misuse of state property and time while on the clock for the state of Minnesota.    

    A source told the Times last week that the employees, two men and a woman, have been on paid leave for almost three months while on a paid contract through the county.    

    The source mentioned that the three employees have other jobs besides working for the state. One employee was said to be selling real estate while at the DEED office, another was allegedly closing their office door and sleeping and the third employee was doing side jobs while at the DEED office.    

    The issue was brought to the attention of management and reported to St. Paul.    

    DEED Communications Director Madeline Koch confirmed to the Times that there is an open investigation for the three suspected employees, but due to the Data Privacy Act she could not disclose any further information.     

    "Once the investigation is complete more info will be provided," said Koch.   

    Union representative for the employees Leslie Sandberg spoke with the Times Thursday about the pending investigation.    

    "This leak of information is very troubling," said Sandberg. "It raises questions on the integrity of this process."   

    When asked about more detailed information such as the length of the investigation and names of the suspected employees, she replied with, "I'm not able to confirm nor deny the names of the employees due to the open investigation, but I can tell you that the length of this investigation has been extraordinarily long."    

    A source has provided three potential identities for the employees under investigation, but the Times was unable to get someone from the state to confirm those names on the record.