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Clay County sheriff foes trade barbs

Larry Costello's name may not be on the Clay County ballot, but the longtime sheriff may still be a factor in the Sept.

Larry Costello's name may not be on the Clay County ballot, but the longtime sheriff may still be a factor in the Sept. 10 primary.

Bryan Green, Clay deputy since 1995 and one of five candidates for sheriff, has had to defend accepting two, two-way radios from Costello.

And now Green is publicly asking what Deputy Jerome Thorsen, also a candidate, knew about Costello's relationship with Kathy Cline.

Costello faces a federal lawsuit brought by Cline, a former deputy who claims Costello harassed and assaulted her, as well as felony charges for buying the radios with county money.

Thorsen, who heads the county's investigations division, says he knew nothing about the Cline-Costello relationship.

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But Green, who worked with Cline and Thorsen, says otherwise. He said he told Thorsen, his supervisor, that Cline wasn't carrying her workload.

Green said that Thorsen not only didn't respond to his claim, but criticized him in his evaluation.

"I was doing all of the general investigations and she wasn't doing anything," Green said. "I brought it up to my supervisor and nothing happened."

Green believes had Thorsen done a little investigating of his own, he would have known about the Costello-Cline relationship.

"If he was scared to go to Costello, he could have gone to somebody else," Green said. "He is still a supervisor and in a position where he has to take appropriate action, and he never did."

Green said there were rumors throughout the department about a Cline-Costello relationship.

He said he knew something strange was going on just by looking at the number of cases assigned to Cline.

He said he was doing so much work in 1999 that he asked to be transferred out of investigations.

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"I had told Thorsen I wanted to go back to patrol because it was becoming too much," he said. "I wondered what she was doing, but you go to your supervisor and follow your chain of command. I was caught in the middle."

Thorsen said Cline was meeting her job assignments, and he doesn't recall Green requesting a transfer to patrol.

"Kathy got plenty of things assigned to her," he said. "I don't see his complaint as being valid."

According to department statistics, Green was assigned 114 cases and Cline 101 in 2000. All case management statistics prior to 2000 are unavailable, Thorsen said.

"But I would think the numbers would be somewhat similar," he said.

Cline could not be reached for comment.

Green and Costello both maintain Green is innocent of any wrongdoing in regard to the radios.

He said Costello hunts on Green's property and was told the radios were a present for his sons.

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"He did not tell me when he got them or where he got them," Green said.

The radios sat on his desk for a month before Costello told him to turn them in to the BCA, Green said.

"He was investigated (by the BCA)," he said. "I was not. I never even used them."

Green said he never received any other gifts from Costello.

"Bryan didn't do anything wrong," Costello said. "It will all come out in court when we get there."

Costello, who resigned in May after receiving a medical disability retirement, has also denied wrongdoing in his purchase of the radios.

Clay deputy Dave Brager and Moorhead police officers Bill Bergquist and Bob Larson are also running for sheriff. All five are expected to appear at a forum today at 2:30 in the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead.

The top two vote getters will advance to the Nov. 5 general election.

A county commissioner forum will follow at about 4.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Baird at (701) 241-5535

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