COHASSET, MINN. – The top executive in the highest-stakes region of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources was quietly fired last fall after a fray at Fortune Bay Resort Casino over her report of possible child neglect and potential sex trafficking. Lori Dowling-Hanson says she is now preparing to sue the agency for wrongful dismissal. Job protections as a DNR political appointee are next to nil, but she believes her ouster was fallout from trying to protect a child — something supporters say she was mandated to do. “I was put on leave and thrown out the door,” Dowling-Hanson said in an exclusive interview at her home on the Mississippi River, about 5 miles from Grand Rapids. DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr declined to say why he fired the administrator he hand-picked in 2011 as one of four DNR regional chiefs. He had been in sync with Dowling-Hanson professionally and personally. In fact, when she married Bruce Hanson in 2012, it was Landwehr who walked her down the aisle. “I can’t comment on a personnel action and there’s potential litigation involved,” Landwehr said. Fortune Bay Casino also declined to comment. The resort complex on Lake Vermilion near Tower is owned by… Read full this story
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