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The POWER 30: Katie Crosby Lehmann

Minnesota Lawyer//October 27, 2022

Katie Crosby Lehmann, Ciresi Conlin LLP

Katie Crosby Lehmann, Ciresi Conlin LLP

The POWER 30: Katie Crosby Lehmann

Minnesota Lawyer//October 27, 2022

Metal carts line Katie Crosby Lehmann’s office. They are filled with thick black binders full of trial exhibits and documents.

It’s the well-known case about the Otto Bremer Trust where the Minnesota Office of the Attorney General attempted to remove the three trustees for breach of their fiduciary duty. The wide-ranging case seems to have been triggered by OBT’s sale of Bremer Bank stock, disapproved of by the other shareholders.

The case expanded to cover the trustee’s fees, discretionary grantmaking, alleged conflicts of interest and other investments. The court found no breaches of fiduciary duty but removed one trustee for inappropriate conduct. That decision is on appeal. (See Andrew Parker p.14).

Crosby Lehmann’s next matter is over the Norman C. Skalicky Revocable Trust. The beneficiaries of the trust are charities, but Skalicky’s four children and another charity seek to invalidate it.

The trust is funded by Stearns Bank, which was founded by Skalicky when he bought two banks in 1966. Skalicky named Kevin Costley, his banking lawyer and adviser, as co-trustee. He named his personal lawyer Ann Novacheck as the other co-trustee. According to court documents, Skalicky’s children were aware of the terms of the trust.

Another important case to Crosby Lehmann is Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness v. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The case challenging mining at the boundary waters was remanded by Ramsey County District Court for an administrative process determining whether the BWAC could be protected. Currently, the comment period is over and the DNR is reviewing the results, said Crosby Lehmann.

In September, the DNR requested a nine-month extension — likely to make its decision on whether the DNR rule is adequate to protect the environment, Crosby Lehmann said. “We didn’t oppose the DNR’s request for more time due because the DNR received over 4,000 comments on the case. We’d like the DNR to have the time to sort out the comments and the best environmental approach — which to me means no copper or nickel mining in the waters flowing into the boundary waters.  The risk is simply too high,” she said.

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