Embarking on another battle
KANDIYOHI -- The community rallied around the 7-yearold girl. She'd been diagnosed with brain and lymphoma type cancers. The Kandiyohi Firefighter's Association, Inc. organized a fund-raiser for her hospital bills. They petitioned other departmen...
KANDIYOHI -- The community rallied around the 7-yearold girl. She'd been diagnosed with brain and lymphoma type cancers. The Kandiyohi Firefighter's Association, Inc. organized a fund-raiser for her hospital bills. They petitioned other departments throughout the state to donate.
They raised more than $17,000.
It was November 1989.
On Aug. 31, 2005, that money is still sitting in an account at Home State Bank in Kandiyohi. With interest, it's grown to more than $30,000.
Angela Beth Slinden, formerly Angela Gast, is now in her early 20s, and her cancer is in remission. She is asking that the association release those funds.
In February, she initiated suit to get the money. At the same time, the Firefighter's Association decided to bring the matter to a judge to decide what to do with it.
The case is filed in Kandiyohi County District Court.
Slinden had talked with the association in the past about the money.
"She informally had asked for some money, but it wasn't for medical purposes," said attorney Rich Ronning, who is representing the Firefighter's Association. "They thought they shouldn't give her money unless it was for medical reasons."
Ronning, in an interview with the Tribune, said the department isn't too concerned about what happens to the money, but felt the court should decide.
"They don't take a position one way or another," he said.
Slinden's attorney, David Berry, says that the funds should be released to her.
"Our allegations are that the money was raised for her and that these various entities made gifts to her, which the fire department held and never turned over," Berry told the Tribune.
Last week, the case became more complicated.
Slinden's treatment, which cost more than $90,000, was paid for by Kandiyohi County Family Services, with some financial help from the McKnight Foundation, according to court documents.
Because of that, Kandiyohi County filed and was accepted as an intervenor in the case.
County Attorney Boyd Beccue said the county is acting on behalf of the state's Department of Human Services. If the state wants the county to continue in the case, the county will ask that the $30,000 fund go toward paying back the $90,000 in expenses the state covered. The county's claim complicates things.
"I guess the big question is going to be the validity of the county's claim," Ronning said.
Berry says there is little basis for the county's claim.
"My understanding of the law is there is no basis for the request for reimbursement by the county until she dies," Berry said.
Berry said he's sent out letters to more than 200 of the contributors to the fund, and only five have said they'd like their money back. Others say Slinden should get the money, he said. The Fraternal Order of Eagles in Willmar gave $5,000 to the fund, one of the largest donations.
John Tradup, the Secretary and Gambling Manager for the Eagles, said the Eagles were contacted by Berry about how they felt the fund should be dispersed. Because the funds had been raised through gambling, Tradup contacted the Minnesota Gambling Control Board, which said the money should be released to Slinden.
The Eagles, Tradup said, support that position.
The court case is still is in the scheduling process, Berry said. Slinden could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.