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Rep. Jim Hagedorn's Widow, Jennifer Carnahan, Sued By His Family Over Unpaid Medical Debts

BLUE EARTH, Minn. (WCCO) -- Jennifer Carnahan, the wife of late Minnesota Congressman Jim Hagedorn, is being sued by his mother, sister and stepfather over claims of unpaid medical-related debts.

According to court documents filed in Faribault County on Monday, Hagedorn's mother and stepfather – Kathleen and Robert Kreklau – and sister Tricia Lucas all claim that the congressman had borrowed money from them to pay for kidney cancer treatments in January at Envita Medical Centers, located in Scottsdale, Arizona. The treatments were not covered by his insurance, and they say Hagedorn had been "told by the Mayo Clinic that it had exhausted its options for treating his cancer."

Rep. Jim Hagedorn
Rep. Jim Hagedorn in 2020 (credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Kreklaus say they loaned Hagedorn $25,000, which he paid more than $14,000 of it back to them. Lucas loaned him $10,000. They claim Hagedorn told them he would pay all the money back when he could if the treatments were successful. If they weren't, then they would all be reimbursed from inheritance going to Carnahan.

Hagedorn, a Republican who represented the 1st Congressional District, died in February at age 59. The plaintiffs, who all reside in the state of Virginia, say Carnahan received $174,000 in death benefits from Congress, and possibly another $174,000 from a life insurance policy. They claim she has yet to repay the debts.

Carnahan, who is currently campaigning for Hagedorn's seat, is the former chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota, serving from 2017 until 2021. She resigned her leadership post in August of last year amid scandals involving her ties to GOP donor Anton Lazzaro, who faces federal sex trafficking charges, as well as accusations from staff members that she fostered a toxic work environment and ignored sexual harassment claims.

Carnahan says she's waiting for the probate process to run its course and calls the lawsuits a political stunt. She has also said she knew nothing of Lazzaro's alleged crimes.

Jennifer Carnahan
Jennifer Carnahan (credit: CBS)

She recently reported to Faribault police that a man verbally and physically threatened her while she was campaigning door to door in the city. Police say they "contacted the suspect," and are still investigating.

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