The family of late Minnesota Congressman Jim Hagedorn is suing his widow over unpaid medical expenses related to his battle with cancer.
Hagedorn, who represented Minnesota’s first district, died in February after previously revealing he was suffering from kidney cancer. Jennifer Carnahan, Hagedorn's widow and the former chair of the Minnesota GOP, is currently running for Hagedorn’s 1st District congressional seat.
After receiving treatment at Mayo Clinic, Hagedorn transferred to Envita Medical Center in Arizona for care. In two lawsuits filed Monday, his mother, stepfather and sister allege that Carnahan has not paid them back for the money they took out to pay for the treatments, despite promising to do so.
In one lawsuit, Hagedorn’s mother and stepfather say they took out a $25,000 loan on their home, eventually paying a little more than $10,000 for treatment. Carnahan had promised to pay them back with the death benefit and life insurance money she would receive from Congress, according to the lawsuit.
“[Carnahan] made a clear and deﬁnite promise to repay [the family] for any amounts paid to Envita for [Hagedorn’s] treatment with assets she was to inherit at [Hagedorn’s] passing,” the lawsuit reads.
“[The family] reasonably relied on this promise in obtaining the Home Equity Loan and paying the Home Equity Loan to Envita for [Hagedorn’s] treatment.”
Carnahan received a death benefit of $174,000 and an additional $174,000 in life insurance following Hagedorn’s death. But she has not yet reimbursed the family, the lawsuit states.
In another lawsuit, Hageodorn’s sister alleges that Carnahan did not pay her for the $10,000 she took out on a credit card after promising to do so.
According to the Star Tribune, Carnahan has stated that Hagedorn’s estate first needs to go to the probate process.
"There is nothing further we are allowed to do at this time," she said. "I wish Jim's family well and know this time has been very difficult for all of us."
Carnahan also told the newspaper that she paid $50,000 of her own money to cover treatments over the course of his illness.
Carnahan is currently vying for Hagedorn’s seat after his death triggered a special election, which is set to take place on Aug. 9. Voters will choose a Republican nominee for the general election in a Tuesday primary.
After launching her campaign, Carnahan said that Hagedorn had given her his blessing to run, but that blessing seemingly has not extended to Hagedorn's family, one member of which has donated to her primary rivals, state Rep. Jeremy Munson.
Carnahan previously held the position of Minnesota GOP chair, but she came under scrutiny in August of last year over her close ties to Anton Lazzaro, a Republican Party donor who has been charged with sex trafficking.
Lazzaro was a guest at the 2018 wedding between Hagedorn and Carnahan and also hosted a podcast with Carnahan, though she denies any knowledge of the claims against him.
Carnahan did eventually resign from the position after further controversy grew.
Former Republican activists came forward with claims of harassment and a toxic work environment within the GOP, while Carnahan was again criticized for comments made about Hagedorn in a recorded phone call.
"Jim's not gonna be alive in two years,” she said, a comment for which she later apologized.