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Haugan was a Norwegian immigrant who thrived in Minneapolis. In addition to his job as cashier at the Scandia Bank, Haugan had a record of fine public service into the 1890s. He was 6th Ward Alderman from 1878 to 1887. He was one of the original Park Board Commissioners in mid-1883, and returned for a full 6-year term from 1889-1895. While on the Park Board, Haugan ran for City Treasurer and won. Thanks to his hard work and integrity, Haugan won re-election twice. At the end of 1896 Haugan was one of Minneapolis' most highly respected citizens.

The New Year saw a dramatic reversal of Haugan's fortunes. By tradition, the City of Minneapolis paid no salary to the Treasurer. Instead, he was allowed to handle the city's funds as though they were his. The interest earned the Treasurer could keep for himself. In January 1897, local banks failed. With them vanished $200,000 of the City's money, on deposit at the banks. Haugan lost his own money, too. He resigned on January 25. The city took Haugan to court. While the trial dragged on, the City Council had trouble finding Haugan's replacement. One after another of the candidates either refused the post outright, or resigned after a few days.

The city lost its case against Haugan. He eventually found work in Winthrop, Minnesota. An investigation some years later cleared his name. Too late to benefit Haugan; he died Nov. 25, 1902, in Winthrop. Haugan was 53 years of age.

— Neal Baxter

  • MINNEAPOLIS JOURNAL Jan. 25, April 19 & 25, 1897; Nov. 26 & 29, 1902; June 17, 1903

Highwood Press — Minneapolis, MN — (612) 872-9156

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