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Iowa State pays, praises ex-director to end Lego art dispute

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State University is dropping claims of wrongdoing against a former employee and paying her $225,000 to resolve a legal dispute over its popular outdoor sculptures made from Legos.

As part of the settlement, Iowa State has also taken several steps to restore the reputation of Teresa McLaughlin. Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen has written her a glowing letter of recommendation calling her an honest, innovative employee.

The school also will dedicate a bench for McLaughlin in Reiman Gardens, the campus landmark that McLaughlin spent most of her career building as its director.

Those steps will resolve a contentious three-year legal dispute that derailed Nature Connects, the traveling Lego art program conceived by McLaughlin.

McLaughlin had accused the university of failing to pay her commissions. The university accused her of working with the artist to market competing exhibits.


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