FARGO — Longtime morning anchor Lisa Budeau is no longer employed by Valley News Live, but neither she nor television station management will give details about the departure.
Budeau co-hosted news-based "Valley Today" with Jordan Schroeer from 4:30-7 a.m. weekdays and co-hosted the lifestyle show "North Dakota Today" with Heidi Vetter from 9-10 a.m. weekdays.
Budeau's Facebook account says she began working at Valley News Live in 2002. Her last day on air at VNL was Monday, Nov. 15.
Reached via text message, Budeau said, "I am no longer at VNL."
She said her attorney is Daniel Phillips at the Solberg Stewart Miller law firm in Fargo. A message left for Phillips was not immediately returned.
In an email message to The Forum, Valley News Live general manager Ike Walker said, "We do not comment on personnel matters."
Multiple industry sources indicated VNL was unhappy with a Facebook post by Budeau last week that criticized a Fargo restaurant for not giving her father a free meal on Veterans Day. The post has since been deleted.
Another Facebook user, Amber Schaffer, pushed back at Budeau's claims. Schaffer identified herself as someone who works at Texas Roadhouse, the restaurant Budeau criticized.
In a post, Schaffer said Budeau's accusation "is not factual." Then she disputed Budeau's post on several points and said Budeau did get the meal comped, posting a photo of a receipt.
Budeau was one of the most recognizable and popular personalities on VNL. She was voted 2019's Best TV anchor in The Forum's Best of the Red River Valley contest and finished second in the same contest in 2020.
"We have super loyal and friendly viewers. I hear a lot of people say, 'I wake up with you every morning and I feel like I know you.' I like that," Budeau said in a 2014 profile in Area Woman magazine. "I try to stay relatable. I'm a mom just like everyone else who is eating breakfast and looking for that missing glove. I want to keep our viewers. I have the same stresses and family life that they have. I'm just doing my job."
Her departure from the station continues a string of negative news in 2021 for VNL.
In October, political commentator Chris Berg was one of several employees who left the station because they refused to abide by owner Gray Television's mandate to be vaccinated against COVID-19. News anchor Tom Tucker was another who did not get vaccinated and left the station. Both Berg and Tucker joined conservative radio station The Flag, which does not require COVID-19 vaccinations.
VNL's longtime creative services director also left the station over the mandate.
In May, Valley News Live lost in its bid to continue broadcasting North Dakota State football games as it had done since 2007. The rights were instead awarded to VNL rival WDAY-TV, which is owned by Forum Communications.