Commerce head hires private lawyer in wake of agency audit

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) The head of the North Dakota agency that promotes tourism and economic development has hired a private attorney after an audit accused it of violating state law on contract bidding.

Commerce Director Michelle Kommer told the Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee that she hired the lawyer in the wake of an audit released last month.

Among the findings was that the agency violated the law on bidding uncompetitive contracts totaling more than $87,000 for the state's new "Be Legendary" logo. Kommer says the agency did nothing wrong.

The logo's contract was awarded to a Minnesota firm headed by a woman who once worked for Gov. Doug Burgum's old Fargo software business.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has called on South Dakota authorities to help investigate the agency.