GLYNDON, Minnesota — When Carla Olson and William Salgat found a man in April 2020 standing in the garage of a property they were selling, they told him he was trespassing and said they would carry complaint.
Days later, a Glyndon police officer handed out citations for the two estate brokers: disorderly conduct for Olson and assault for Salgat.
“We caught him committing a crime, and that’s what happened,” Salgat said.
Nearly two years later, the owners of real estate brokerage firm CB Properties are fighting misdemeanor charges in Clay County District Court. They claim the allegations made against them by the man in the garage, RC Homes owner Ryan Dietrich, were taken more seriously than theirs because Dietrich is a former Fargo police officer.
It’s a claim that Dietrich, a town prosecutor and then Glyndon Police Chief Michael Cline, denies.
“It has nothing to do with any action taken following the incident,” Cline told the Forum.
Dietrich reported the incident to Glyndon Police Department on April 3, 2020, shortly after the encounter.
He said he was running early for the 3 p.m. appointment to inspect the house, according to court documents. The buyer’s agent let him into the home, owned by Olson, around 1:30 p.m.
Court documents alleged that Salgat immediately began insulting Dietrich when real estate brokers arrived at their property. He also alleged that Olson yelled at him.
Dietrich said he tried to explain he was the inspector before saying he would be leaving.
At one point, Salgat grabbed Dietrich’s ladder and slammed it to the ground before moving in Dietrich’s face, according to the complaint. Dietrich said Salgat yelled, swore, spat in Dietrich’s face and punched the inspector’s chest, according to police reports obtained and verified by The Forum.
Dietrich said he was concerned for his safety and COVID-19, according to the police report.
Olson and Salgat told a different story. They said they arrived around 1:45 p.m. at the house to clear the snow before the inspection.
Contrary to Dietrich’s claims, brokers said the van parked diagonally at the end of the driveway and partially on the street bore no commercial branding or logos.
Dietrich said he wore a uniform for his company when he went for inspections, but Olson and Salgat also disputed that statement.
They said they noticed the front door was wide open. They were concerned that someone had broken into the house, which had happened before when selling other properties, they said.
The garage door then opened, revealing Dietrich standing behind it, they said. Salgat said he asked neutrally what the man was doing there. When Dietrich said he was the inspector, Olson said he wasn’t supposed to be there until 3 p.m., according to his written statement given to police.
They then asked Dietrich to leave, but they claimed he would not and became combative. At one point, it appeared Dietrich was about to leave, but he came back to Salgat and punched the realtor in the chest, Salgat and Olson said. They claim Dietrich was the one who screamed and spat in Salgat’s face.
Dietrich eventually left without completing the inspection, but not before Olson said, “Your actions are unacceptable and I will report you,” according to her statement.
Salgat said he put the ladder down in the snow, not slamming it down, according to the statement.
Salgat said they attend home inspections to protect their property and record damage. Dietrich said in police reports that real estate agents and clients failed to show up due to the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing rules.
Olson said Glyndon Police Officer Ryan Schock contacted them hours after the incident about Dietrich pressing charges. She said she was told no charges would be sought after telling police her version of what happened.
Two days later, she was cited for disorderly conduct. Salgat was initially charged with fifth degree assault. The misdemeanor charge was eventually replaced with disorderly conduct.
They later found out that Dietrich had worked for the Fargo Police Department from October 12, 2012 to April 5, 2019.
“The ex-cop thing makes a lot of sense,” Salgat said.
Police determined that Dietrich had a right to be at the property. Officers found “no validity” in Olson’s complaint against Dietrich, so they did not seek formal charges against him, according to a police report.
The report also states that no one else witnessed the altercation.
Moorhead Assistant City Attorney Tara Nagel is representing the State of Minnesota against Olson and Salgat.
When asked what Olson and Salgat had done to substantiate the charges, Moorhead town attorney Cheryl Duysen said she could not speak specifically to the case as litigation is ongoing. .
“The prosecution of criminal offenses by our office does not take into account the professional history of the defendants or the victims of crime,” she told the Forum. “We review the facts underlying the allegation, and if we determine that there is probable cause that a crime occurred, we proceed from there.”
Dietrich told the Forum that police investigated the incident by talking to neighbors and collecting evidence. He called the situation “ridiculous”.
“There was no need to come up with what he did,” he said. “It’s very unfortunate.”
Dietrich said he was just doing his job, not intruding.
“I was providing a service and I had permission to be there,” he said.
Cline, who retired shortly after the incident, said he remembered few details about the case. He said he had never met Dietrich before the inspector reported the incident, and the former chief did not know Dietrich was an officer before the charges were filed.
Olson said she felt accused because she didn’t let Dietrich finish her job. Salgat said he believed Dietrich went to the police because the real estate brokers said they would report the incident to the police.
Salgat and Olson argue that free speech protected what they said to the property because Dietrich would have been an intrusion. Both asked the court to dismiss the charges, saying the state had no evidence against them.
The two are now representing themselves after firing two lawyers. A lawyer told them that if they paid a fine and took anger management classes, the charges would be thrown out after a while, Olson said.
“It’s not going to happen,” Salgat said. “I am an innocent man who was victimized on my own property, and no one seems to care.”
Salgat and Olson filed motions to suppress evidence, saying officers came to the property and took photos without a warrant. They asked for the dismissal.
Salgat also claims his due process rights were violated when Judge Jade Rosenfeldt granted a request by Nagel to continue the trial in June because prosecutors were unwilling to proceed despite defense requests. go ahead with the lawsuit.
Prosecutors argued in court papers that the defense did not demand a speedy trial.