- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 30, 2020

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota Department of Commerce leader and a former agency worker want the state to pay their legal fees for a criminal investigation resulting from a 2019 audit.

Commerce Commissioner Michelle Kommer and former senior manager Holly Holt hired lawyers after an audit found that agency officials skirted public bid requirements in developing the new state logo and also mishandled appropriations. The subsequent investigation found no wrongdoing.

Kommer is seeking $9,858 and Holt is asking for $2,220 in legal fees, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

North Dakota Auditor Joshua Gallion released a report last year that said the Department of Commerce violated the law on bidding non-competitive contracts for the state’s “Be Legendary” logo and an associated rebranding effort for the state.

The logo sparked criticism when the contract was awarded to a Minnesota firm headed by a woman who once worked for North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum at a Fargo software business.

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