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Lawsuits filed against Hagedorn's widow by his family called 'political stunt'

Two civil suits, filed in Faribault County District Court on Monday, May 16, 2022, allege that Rep. Jim Hagedorn asked his mother and stepfather, as well as his sister, to help pay for the cost of his cancer treatment and that money has not been paid back by his widow, Jennifer Carnahan.

Jennifer Carnahan
Jennifer Carnahan, who is running in the special election for the open First Congressional District seat, is photographed on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, after speaking at Harvest Church in Rochester.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin
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BLUE EARTH, Minnesota — The widow of late-Congressman Jim Hagedorn said Wednesday, May 18, 2022, that recent lawsuits filed by her husband's stepfather, mother and sister alleging she owes them money for his medical care were a “political stunt,” and cited her husband’s estate was still going through probate court.

The civil lawsuits were filed Monday, May 16, 2022, against Jennifer Carnahan by Hagedorn's stepfather and mother as well as Hagedorn's sister claiming she has not repaid the couple for money lent by them for the congressman’s cancer treatment.

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In a statement to the Post Bulletin, Carnahan said Wednesday that grief affects everyone differently and that handling the affairs of her husband's estate should be a private matter.

"It's unfortunate a very simple process has been turned into a political stunt,” Carnahan said in the statement. “Jim’s estate is required to go through the probate process and the courts will determine the disposition of assets in accordance with Minnesota law.

“There is nothing further we are allowed to do at this time. I wish Jim's family well and know this time has been very difficult for all of us."

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The statement of claim was filed in Faribault County District Court by Robert and Kathleen Kreklau of Crozet, Virginia, against Carnahan alleging she owes the couple at least $10,383 as well as accruing interest on a home equity loan.

A second suit, filed by Hagedorn's sister Tricia Lucas, of Virginia, alleges that Carnahan owes her $10,080.

A conciliation hearing on both cases is scheduled for July 25, 2022.

Both civil suits allege that Hagedorn asked his family members to help pay for the cost of his cancer treatment in Arizona after being told by the Mayo Clinic that it had exhausted all its options for his treatment.

Hagedorn died from kidney cancer on Feb. 17, 2022.

The lawsuits allege that Carnahan "clearly and definitely promised" Hagedorn's family members that they would be promptly reimbursed for any amount paid to the Arizona hospital with funds from Hagedorn's estate, but that Carnahan has failed to make that payment.

Carnahan and Hagedorn married in 2018.

The former Chairwoman of the Minnesota Republican Party , she is one of the more than dozen candidates running in the 1st District special election race that was called following Hagedorn’s death.

Emily Cutts is the Post Bulletin's public safety reporter. She joined the Post Bulletin in July 2018 after stints in Vermont and Western Massachusetts.
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