MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Family members of the late U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn of Minnesota say his widow, Jennifer Carnahan, who is running to replace her husband in Congress, hasn't come through on a promise to pay them back medical expenses related to his cancer treatments.
Carnahan calls it a political stunt.
Two lawsuits filed Monday by Hagedorn’s mother, stepfather and sister allege they helped pay for cancer treatments he received at Envita Medical Centers in Arizona. Carnahan made a “clear and definite promise” to use inheritance she was to receive after his death to reimburse his family members, according to the complaints.
Carnahan said Hagedorn’s estate is required to go through the probate process in the courts to determine how to divide up his assets and there is nothing more she can do at this time.
“Grief affects everyone differently. Handling the affairs of my husband’s estate should be a private matter," Carnahan said in a statement. “It’s unfortunate a very simple process has been turned into a political stunt.”
Hagedorn died after a long battle with kidney cancer on Feb. 17. He was told in January that there were no more treatments available for him at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, which is his congressional district, so he sought additional treatments at the facility in Scottsdale, Arizona, the Star Tribune reported.
A suit filed by Hagedorn's mother, Kathleen Kreklau, and stepfather said they used $10,000 of a $25,000 home equity loan to help cover medical costs. In a separate complaint, Hagedorn’s sister, Tricia Lucas, said she charged $10,000 on a credit card to help cover the costs of his treatment and was promised repayment by Carnahan.
Both lawsuits allege Carnahan was to receive a $174,000 death benefit from the United States government after Hagedorn died, as well $174,000 from his life insurance policy.
Carnahan closed her statement by saying she wishes "Jim’s family well and know this time has been very difficult for all of us.”