Just one year ago, we published an article here on The Minuteman giving three reasons that our Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem should be unemployed. One of those reasons had to do with the case of Susan Bala:
“Susan Bala is currently a hot topic in the news… Bala is the former owner of Racing Services, Inc., a closed-circuit horse race gambling site. Bala’s story began in 2003 when she was charged with illegal gambling, not paying taxes, and spent 17 months in federal prison before having her conviction overturned.
“As a result of Bala’s litigation, the courts ruled that the State of North Dakota had to repay her $13.5 million plus interest. Depending on the decision of the court, the taxpayers of North Dakota may end up paying close to $26 million once the interest is figured. Yet, as Bala herself points out, she will never get back the last 14 years of her life fighting this battle against the state. No amount of money can compensate for that, not to mention the loss of her business.”
We then explained:
“It was Stenehjem who took part in pursuing the Susan Bala case that will now cost the state taxpayers between $13.5 – $26 million for their wrongful conviction and confiscation of taxes that she did not owe. In a very real way, he was party to destroying her business and, to some degree, her reputation.”
Well, it may end up costing even more than the $26 million. Just yesterday, Valley News Live reported that Bala has filed a lawsuit against the State of North Dakota for $30 million. This was in response to a settlement of nearly $16 million that was ordered to be paid out by a federal bankruptcy judge in December. You may recall that those funds were set aside by the North Dakota State Legislature during the 2017 Legislative Session in anticipation of the settlement.
Despite the judgment, Bala feels it’s not enough. And it’s difficult to argue with her. How would you feel if you had spent 17 months in federal prison when you weren’t supposed to? How would you feel if your business had been ruined by the State? How would you feel if your reputation had been drug through the mud?
Those who still defend the State’s actions can make all the excuses they want to. Call it doing their job, a difference in legal opinion, or whatever. But at the end of the day, a woman’s business was ruined, she spent time in prison she shouldn’t have, and her reputation was tarnished. That’s serious stuff.
The solution to ensuring that this doesn’t happen again is really quite simple. If we had a limited government, that functioned according to its proper role, this would have never happened. In a nutshell– don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.
For now, the money awarded will sit in an estate until the entire matter is resolved.