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MnDNR, former manager reach settlement in defamation lawsuit

MINNEAPOLIS -- A former enforcement manager with the state Department of Natural Resources has settled a defamation lawsuit with the agency for $250,000.

MINNEAPOLIS -- A former enforcement manager with the state Department of Natural Resources has settled a defamation lawsuit with the agency for $250,000.

Cathy Hamm worked for the DNR for 35 years. She was fired in 2008 following a game-warden conference the previous year.

The controversy began when a legislative audit of the conference blamed the DNR for misspending $300,000 in taxpayer money and staff time.

The DNR blamed Hamm, firing her and putting out a news release saying investigators had found she committed "serious employee misconduct."

An arbiter with the state's Bureau of Mediation Services ruled that Hamm was wrongly fired.

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DNR spokesman Scott Pengelly tells the Pioneer Press the agency doesn't admit wrongdoing and settled to avoid court costs.

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