Editorial: Tribune Thumbs – Albert Lea Tribune

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Editorial: Tribune Thumbs

Published at 8:50 p.m. on Friday, August 19, 2022

To allegations of more than $200,000 misappropriated from the Albert Lea Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

We knew there were clues that inappropriate actions might have taken place four years ago within the Albert Lea Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

After the then-director left, and the city arrived and essentially took over the organization, it was at least clear that the agency was in trouble.

But we only found out this week the extent of what was really going on.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office this week charged Marcie Marie Thumann, a former employee, with theft from a program receiving federal funds.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleged the theft occurred from January 2010 to at least July 18, 2018, and that Thumann embezzled and stole $213,217 for his own use.

It’s hard to imagine how something like this could last for eight years, and we’re disappointed to learn that it happened in a program intended to help those less fortunate.

As the case plays out in court, we are pleased to hear how the organization has recovered in recent years, particularly under the leadership of recent executive director Jeanne Leick, who has since returned to Nebraska to closer to his family.

We hope the HRA will continue to evolve in the direction Leick has set for it when the new director comes on board later this year or early next year.

Details disclosed Friday in the shooting death that occurred earlier this month south of Albert Lea.

Court papers filed Friday in Freeborn County District Court allege the August 9 shooting death of Judge Juan Vasquez may have been linked to a package of large amounts of methamphetamine.

Freeborn County District Attorney David Walker, in charging Albert Lea’s Ben Vidal Moreno with first-degree manslaughter and two counts of second-degree assault, said the altercation began the day of the Vasquez’s death when Vasquez, who believed Moreno had stolen a package containing four books. of methamphetamine, came to a house on 160th Street and fired two shots from a handgun, yelling at Moreno to get out of the house.

Vasquez and the man with him left for a while and then came back.

After Vasquez and the man started driving away a second time, Moreno allegedly used a shotgun to fire at the vehicle, then shot Vasquez once with a rifle as he exited the vehicle.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of large amounts of meth being mailed to a resident of Albert Lea, and we’re saddened to learn in this instance that it led to violence.

We encourage parents to talk about this matter with their teenage children to show the dangers of getting involved with methamphetamine and other drugs.

While this court case is just getting started, we hope more answers will emerge as this case unfolds.

To new 3rd Judicial District Judge Natalie Martinez.

Congratulations to Natalie Martinez of Hayward, who was sworn in on Friday in Mower County as the new 3rd Judicial District Court judge.

Martinez replaces Judge Kevin A. Lund and will be chambered in Austin, Mower County.

Martinez was previously an associate barrister with Donnelly Law Firm, a part-time Freeborn County public defender and Mower County Conciliation Court adjudicator, working primarily in the areas of family law, criminal defense and child protection.

She also previously worked as an attorney with Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, providing representation for victims of domestic violence in family law matters.

We wish her the best as she begins this position, and although she is not chambered at Albert Lea, she may be asked to assist occasionally on county matters.

The 3rd Judicial District extends from Freeborn, Steele, and Rice counties to the eastern state line.

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