By Liz Collin

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities woman stood up to a multi-million dollar college system and won.

Now, she hopes a TV series will inspire others to speak up if they see wrongdoing at the workplace. WCCO recounts the shocking revelations made in court, now for a national audience to see on Whistleblower.

Heidi Weber spent a year as dean of the Medical Assistant Program at Globe University. In charge of one program in a sprawling college system that enrolled 11,000 students at 20 campuses in five states.

“In the beginning I was just doing my job,” Weber said.

Soon, she couldn’t ignore how she says Globe staff falsified job placement numbers, inflated starting salaries and went after students eligible for federal money like military members.

“Predatory, manipulating messages to potential students,” she said.

Globe fired Weber when she complained.  She first told her story to WCCO five years ago, before it landed in a Washington County courtroom, where a jury awarded her nearly $1 million.

Clayton Halunen of Halunen Law won Weber’s case.

“It takes courageous people to make change,” he said.

He calls it a turning point after more staff and students came forward, chronicling their own unethical practices by for-profit colleges.

“There’s fraud and illegality that goes on in every industry and unless people stand up and say no, this is never going to change,” Halunen said.

“I got exactly what I asked for, my life back. That’s what I wanted,” Weber said.

Weber has gone on to raise her three girls. The state revoked Globe’s license to practice.

Weber now offers this message to anyone else brave enough to blow the whistle.

“Believe in yourself and do the right thing. It’s as simple as that,” Weber said.

You can catch Heidi’s story on the season finale of Whistleblower this Friday night, Aug. 31 at 8 p.m. right here on WCCO-TV Channel 4.

Liz Collin

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