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Two top DNR officials placed on paid leave

Bemidji,Minnesota 56619 http://www.bemidjipioneer.com/sites/all/themes/bemidjipioneer_theme/images/social_default_image.png
Bemidji Pioneer
Two top DNR officials placed on paid leave
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

ST. PAUL (AP) - Two top Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials have been placed on paid administrative leave in an investigation over a game warden conference.

Col. Mike Hamm, the state's chief conservation officer, and his wife, Capt. Cathy Hamm, were placed on leave Monday.

An outside firm will look into their handling of the state-supported conference held last year.

The Star Tribune reported last week that the DNR's enforcement division used $383,000 in public money for the gathering of game wardens from across North America.

The newspaper reported that some of the state's conservation officers also solicited private donations for the conference and were required to attend.

DNR spokeswoman Colleen Coyne says the DNR hasn't hired an outside investigator yet but wanted to eliminate any appearance of conflict of interest by putting the Hamms on leave.

Pioneer staff reports
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