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Legislative auditor will investigate child-care-subsidy fraud allegations

Plus: St. Paul population grows; exhibit of Philando Castile-inspired artwork coming to Mia; former Lakeland mayor gets probation for false military record claims; and more.

Legislative Auditor James Nobles
MinnPost photo by Erin Hinrichs

Nobles is on the case. The Star Tribune’s Chris Serres reports: “The Office of the Legislative Auditor is launching an investigation into allegations that child care providers are defrauding Minnesota’s publicly funded child-subsidy program. … The investigation by the Auditor’s office, which is an independent, nonpartisan arm of the Legislature, will explore the scope of the alleged fraud and the internal controls in the Minnesota Department of Human Services, which oversees the child-subsidy program. … ‘This is very serious,’ Legislative Auditor, James Nobles, said in an interview Friday. ‘The allegation is that the fraud is much bigger than previously thought, and that money that’s being derived from the fraud is being used for international terrorism, which gets people’s attention.’ … Nobles is responding to a television news report suggesting widespread fraud in the Child Care Assistance Program, or CCAP, which subsidizes the child-care expenses of nearly 30,000 low-income children per month.”

St. Paul gets less small. The Pioneer Press’ S.M. Chavey reports:St. Paul gained more residents than any other city in the metro area this year — even edging out its bigger twin Minneapolis by 700 people, according to preliminary estimates from the Metropolitan Council. … That’s a rare victory for Minnesota’s capital city, which has seen about 58 percent of the growth Minneapolis has experienced since the 2010 census. … St. Paul gained 4,738 residents last year (from 2016 to 2017), raising its population to 309,180. Minneapolis gained 4,038, raising its population to 423,990 in 2017.”

Castile exhibit coming to Mia. MPR’s Jon Collins reports: “After Philando Castile was shot and killed by a police officer in a Twin Cities suburb in 2016, his mother, Valerie Castile, received condolences from around the world. … People also sent her paintings, songs and children’s drawings. … ‘At that moment, it was just a moving sense of urgency,’ Castile said, ‘people expressing their emotions through painting, dancing, singing — just the typical way that people respond.’ … This summer, two years after he was shot and killed during a traffic stop, the Minneapolis Institute of Art will launch ‘Art and Healing: In the Moment,’ with 15 works inspired by Philando Castile’s life and the circumstances of his death.

Stolen valor maybe, stolen government funds definitely. KSTP’s Eric Chaloux reports: “A former mayor in the east metro was sentenced to two years probation Thursday after admitting he lied about his military service to obtain more than $137,000 in veteran healthcare and disability payments. … Robert Livingston, the former mayor of Lakeland, lied about being a ‘highly decorated’ Army Lieutenant Colonel who went on a ‘secret mission’ behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War, and had been awarded medals for ‘extreme courage,’ according to federal court records.”

In other news…

Lowering standards seems to be a common theme these days:Beargrease cuts its distance: Organizers hope to attract larger marathon field” [Duluth News Tribune]

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Staircases of St. Paul:Well tread: St. Paul’s public stairs link topography and history” [MPR]

Congrats:U.S. Bank Stadium interim executive director given job permanently” [Star Tribune]

Why not:St. Paul Saints’ big pitch: A reality television series” [Pioneer Press]