Former nursing home administrator in Fertile files lawsuit against city

Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 11:28 AM CDT
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FERTILE, Minn. (Valley News Live) - The former administrator at Fair Meadow Nursing Home and Assisted Living Center in Fertile, Minnesota, has filed a lawsuit against the city, Mayor Daniel Wilkens and the facility.

Valley News Live first reported on the firing of Administrator Angela Leiting in July after several people contacted our Whistleblower Hotline. At that time, community members and nursing home residents were outraged that Leiting was out of a job. They picketed outside the facility with signs that read “We Stand With Angie,” asking for the city to reinstate Leiting as the administrator of the city-run facility.

Leiting had worked at the facility for more than three decades. The city noted seven reasons why Leiting was given the ultimatum to resign or be fired, but residents told Valley News Live they don’t think any of them were good enough reason for her to be fired.

In the lawsuit, Angela Leiting claims she was unjustly fired from her long-term role as the nursing home’s administrator.

“The result of the lawsuit could determine whether the Mayor and other City officials wrongfully held closed session City Council meetings to “poll” for votes from Council members on firing Ms. Leiting and could determine whether Ms. Leiting was wrongfully fired and whether she should be re-instated to her former position and paid her lost wages and benefits,” a news release from River Valley Law states.

Leiting says shortly after her termination, she was handed a No Trespassing notice to keep her off the nursing home property “until further notice,” even though the city was aware that her mother-in-law is a resident of Fair Meadow.

While that trespassing notice was later revoked, the River Valley Law says the City of Fertile has a Cease and Desist notice against Leiting in effect “attempting to restrict who she may talk to while at the Nursing Home.” The law firm says the Cease and Desist notice is also being challenged in the legal action.

After obtaining recordings from some of the city’s closed session meetings held earlier in 2023, Leiting’s lawsuit lists 12 points which led to the claim of unjust termination. You can read the full letter from River Valley Law here.

Leiting thanked everyone behind the “We Stand with Angie Movement” and said she appreciates how much the community has supported her. Leiting also said resident care was always her #1 priority, and her first and foremost concern remains the residents and their families.

The letter closes by saying, “Ms. Leiting hopes that everyone in the community will keep fighting to ensure resident care doesn’t falter. She hopes the community will continue to advocate not to reduce the budget of Nursing Home – or on programs that support resident’s emotional wellbeing, as a way to address the City’s budget concerns. Ms. Leiting encourages the community to advocate for government transparency, and to support Fair Meadow Nursing Home in a respectful manner and be the example of leadership that the City of Fertile needs.”