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East Grand Forks officials will hold closed session to discuss job performance of employee who signed unpaid $510,000 loan

East Grand Forks city officials will meet in a closed session Tuesday to discuss the job performance of Jim Richter, the Economic Development and Housing Authority executive director who originally signed a $510,000 loan that has gone unpaid for more than a decade.

Richter was placed on paid administrative leave last week, a week after the unpaid loan was publically revealed during an EDHA board meeting.

The loan agreement with Boardwalk Enterprises was signed in 1999. The money was used to help build the Boardwalk building, which houses the Drunken Noodle/Little Bangkok and Boardwalk Bar and Grill restaurants.

City Administrator David Murphy said that any official action that City Council members may take has to happen in an open meeting. The joint meeting between the council and EDHA board is scheduled for4:30 p.m.

The EDHA will have a meeting at 4 p.m. Tuesday, just before the closed session. One topic on the agenda will be to provide an update on discussions with Boardwalk Enterprises officials regarding the loan, Murphy said.

Murphy said Monday that city staff members haven’t had discussions with Boardwalk officials since their meeting last week. Murphy said at the time that the two sides agreed to gather more information for another meeting.

The EDHA agreed to lend Boardwalk Enterprises $510,000 at zero interest in 1999, with annual $30,000 payments starting in 2003. But those payments haven’t come, city staff members have said.

Records show that Dan Stauss, the brother of East Grand Forks Mayor Lynn Stauss, has been a partner in Boardwalk since at least 2002. Mayor Stauss has denied knowing about the loan, and said he is not involved in Boardwalk Enterprises.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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