Patrick Springer, Published July 15 2009
Judges rule Bala is due more than $110,000 in back rent
The ruling by a panel of the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upholds an earlier decision by the bankruptcy judge determining that Bala was entitled to collect for the back rent.
The dispute arose from the prosecution of Bala’s now-defunct Racing Services Inc., a Fargo-based company that handled off-track bets for simulcast horse races.
Bala and RSI were exonerated two years ago when appeals judges threw out federal convictions, determining there was no legal basis for the federal charges.
The rents on the RSI building, 901 28th St. S., accrued during 11 months by the RSI estate. Bala personally paid the debt from proceeds when the building was sold five years ago.
She is entitled to $110,218, plus accumulated interest. Kip Kaler, the bankruptcy trustee, appealed the decision by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge William Hill.
Bala’s lawyers declined to comment Tuesday on the ruling. Drew Wrigley, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota, was not immediately available for comment late Tuesday afternoon.
Bala, who now lives in Moorhead, has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Bismarck claiming malicious prosecution by Wrigley and Wayne Stenehjem, the North Dakota attorney general.
Both Wrigley and Stenehjem deny the allegations and are seeking dismissal of the lawsuit.
Bala, who spent 523 days in prison, contends that her constitutional rights were violated.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522