Why do the same names keep popping up in Globe inquiries?

I’ve written about four inquiries into business practices at Globe University / Minnesota School of Business, and some readers are probably noticing overlap in the people involved — especially those who accuse the schools of unethical practices.

Some names have appeared in multiple articles or lawsuits. In the interest of clarity and transparency, I’d like to lay out the cast of characters and their roles so far.

What you’ll find is that a plaintiff in one suit may act as friendly witness for a plaintiff in another suit. Meanwhile, both the state attorney general’s office and I have interviewed witnesses in one or more lawsuits for our own research.

The players pop up in articles or lawsuits in four areas:

1) The two whistle-blower lawsuits filed by former Globe/MSB deans (April 2012);

2) My MPR look into Globe/MSB business practices (September 2012);

3) The state attorney general’s questioning of Globe/MSB employees (August 2013); and

4) Yesterday’s student lawsuit and request for class-action status (October 2013)

Here are the names that keep appearing:

Clayton Halunen: The Minneapolis attorney has been at the center of legal action against the schools. In April 2012 he filed whistle-blower lawsuits on behalf of two former deans — Heidi Weber and Jeanne St. Claire. Weber won her trial in August. St. Claire settled with Globe that same month. Halunen filed his third lawsuit against the schools yesterday — this time on behalf of five former and current students. He has asked the court to grant it class-action status.

Heidi Weber: The former medical assistant dean won her whistle-blower lawsuit against Globe/MSB in August. Her trial

included testimony or depositions from former employees and students. I interviewed her for my MPR story on Globe business practices, and she has been questioned by the state attorney general’s office. She may also testify in the student lawsuit.

Jeanne St. Claire: Along with Weber, the former business dean filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against Globe/MSB in April 2012, but settled it in August on undisclosed terms. She testified against Globe at Weber’s trial, and Halunen says he may subpoena her to testify if the student suit goes to trial. (The settlement terms may prevent her from volunteering testimony.)

Hannah Von Bank: She’s a former Globe/MSB recruiter I interviewed for my MPR story. Her testimony was not allowed in the Weber case, because the judge said her time there did not overlap with Weber’s, and thus was not relevant. But her affidavit is used in the student lawsuit, and will be a likely witness if the suit goes to trial. She has also been questioned by the state attorney general.

Melissa Beck: This former student at Globe’s Sioux Falls, S.D., campus testified against Globe at Weber’s trial, and is one of the five students who filed suit yesterday.

Jason Jensen: The former Globe/MSB recruiter first approached MPR about his concerns in April 2011. I

interviewed him for my MPR story, and some of his comments in the article appeared in the student lawsuit. Halunen says he may try to get Jensen to testify.

After hearing from Jensen, I began interviewing others to see whether his complaints were true. I interviewed more than a dozen former employees and students from a range of periods. Two of those were Weber — who had already filed the lawsuit — and Von Bank, whom I’d heard about from Halunen. Some of the material from the article appeared in yesterday’s lawsuit.

This list could grow, so I’ll update it as needed.