While some may think nothing ever happens in North Dakota, here are five of the biggest scandals to have occurred in the state.

Missing Nukes From Minot Air Force Base


In August 2007, the crews stationed at Minot inadvertently loaded a total of six cruise missiles, each equipped with nuclear warheads, aboard a B-52 heavy bomber as it was being transported to a different military installation located in Louisiana. The warheads remained unguarded for a duration of 36 hours prior to the detection of their absence. As a consequence, the secretary of the Air Force was compelled to tender their resignation.

Bison Football Voter Fraud


In 2012, eleven football players from North Dakota State University admitted guilt for engaging in misdemeanor election fraud. They were subsequently sentenced to community service for their involvement in falsifying signatures on ballot measure petitions that they were contracted to gather. Every participant was mandated to undergo a period of 360 days of unsupervised probation, undertake 50 hours of community service, and remit a sum of $325 in costs. Each punishment was postponed, indicating that the offense will be erased from a player's record upon completion of the sentence's conditions.

Wild Bill Langer

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In 1943, the federal government found North Dakota Governor William Langer guilty of corruption. The allegations of corruption originated from evidence indicating that the Republican governor had mandated state employees to contribute funds to his political party. Langer declined to resign, proclaimed the independence of North Dakota, and erected a barricade within the governor's residence. Langer was ultimately absolved of any wrongdoing and subsequently reelected as governor. Subsequently, he was elected to the United States Senate and functioned in that capacity until his demise in 1959.

Honduran Potato Deal


The year 1986 witnessed the involvement of the Industrial Commission and the State Bank in the well-known "Honduran potato deal." H.L. Thorndal aimed to explore international markets for North Dakota goods by implementing a strategy to transport a total of four million pounds of seed potatoes to Honduras. The primary function of the Bank was to issue promissory notes amounting to $1.85 million in order to assist the transaction.

Regrettably, the country of Honduras lacked the financial resources necessary to procure the potatoes. Consequently, William Messner, the facilitator of the agreement, orchestrated a visit by Agriculture Commissioner Kent Jones and other individuals to Honduras. During this tour, they engaged in social activities such as drinking and dining with the country's prominent political figures. The entire transaction was ultimately revealed to be a complex scheme, and the Attorney General of North Dakota, Nick Spaeth, rendered a verdict stating that North Dakota was not responsible for the aforementioned note.

Messner entered a plea of guilty to counts of federal bribery, but Jones and Thorndal were acquitted of any legal misconduct. However, a subordinate within the Agriculture Department admitted guilt for the act of taking bribes.

Dickinson State Diploma Mill

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In the year 2012, it was revealed that Dickinson State University conferred numerous degrees upon students of Chinese origin. The research delineated a campus that exhibited a strong emphasis on student attraction, resorting to expedient measures in order to augment its international student population. There are concerns over potential sanctions imposed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security due to visa-related matters, by the state regarding enrollment statistics, and by accrediting bodies due to perceived failures in ensuring educational excellence.

The campus briefings regarding the audit were abruptly halted when Doug LaPlante, the dean of the College of Education, Business and Applied Sciences, was fatally shot by himself. Although LaPlante was not explicitly mentioned in the audit, officials asserted that a significant number of students who received degrees in an improper manner were really registered at the college during his leadership.

No punitive measures were declared against any individuals implicated in the scandal.

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