- Associated Press - Monday, December 5, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A judge has rejected claims by an Iowa regulator who alleged he was fired for blowing the whistle on a gas station chain’s misleading pricing practices.

Judge Robert Hanson says the Iowa Department of Agriculture fired Michael Manahl for legitimate reasons in 2013.

Hanson ruled Friday that department employees didn’t retaliate against Manahl for investigating Dubuque-based Molo Petroleum and had unrelated concerns about his performance.

The ruling dismisses a lawsuit that had been scheduled for trial Monday. An attorney for Manahl says he’ll appeal.

Manahl was hired by Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey in 2012 as chief of the weights and measures bureau, which inspects gasoline pumps. He was fired at the end of his six-month probationary period.

Manahl objected to Molo’s practice of selling the same octane fuel at different prices at its Big 10 Mart Convenience Stores. Molo denied wrongdoing, and the company complained that he was unfairly hurting its reputation.

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