- Associated Press - Thursday, December 24, 2015

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A judge has dismissed a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a federal official who was fired for approving illegal construction projects at an American Indian burial site.

U.S. District Judge Edward McManus ruled Tuesday that former Effigy Mounds National Monument superintendent Phyllis Ewing failed to exhaust administrative remedies before filing suit.

An investigation found that Ewing and a subordinate repeatedly violated laws that required archaeological studies and input from tribes before building boardwalks, trails and a maintenance shed. The projects, costing $3 million over a decade, removed stone artifacts and impacted scenic views at the northeast Iowa park. Tribal groups and environmentalists were outraged by the damage, but federal prosecutors declined to bring charges.

The 73-year-old Ewing contends the National Park Service made her a “scapegoat” and committed age discrimination.

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