CHICAGO -- Three class action lawsuits have been filed against Hennepin County, Minn., alleging that the county defrauded bondholders by failing to adequately disclose that the county could redeem $124.5 million of outstanding revenue bonds before a 1996 optional call date.

The suits were filed earlier this month after the county allowed a letter of credit on the bonds to expire, causing a mandatory redemption. The action saved the county about $41 million in bond premiums and interest payments, according to Jim Ufer, the county's investment/debt manager. The proceeds from the original $129 million of bonds, issued in 1986, financed the construction of an incinerator.

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