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UPDATED: Lumberjack Days Organizer Under Investigation For Unpaid Bills

Stillwater police have launched a felony investigation into Dave Eckberg after receiving four reports of theft by worthless check.

Stillwater police have launched a felony investigation of the organizer of for unpaid bills.

In recent months, police received complaints from three businesses, and the Stillwater area hockey booster club, claiming they weren’t paid by Dave Eckberg of St. Croix Events following this year’s festival.

“This is an active investigation,” Stillwater Police Chief John Gannaway said Tuesday night. Police will not comment on the case until a charging decision has been made by the Washington County Attorney’s Office.

When asked what impacts the investigation may have on Lumberjack Days, Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki said he had "no comment" while the police investigation remains active.

Per the contract for Lumberjack Days between the city of Stillwater and St. Croix Events, Eckberg reimburses the city $20,000 for police and fire services during the event and the city receives 35 percent of gate receipts.

But those bills have not come due yet, according to City Administrator Larry Hansen.

Per the contract, the reimbursement for police and fire services is due Dec. 31, Hansen said. The 35 percent of gate receipts is due before the next Lumberjack Days event.

There is, however, an unpaid bill for police and fire services from the Stillwater Marathon, Hansen said. But that is a separate contract from Lumberjack Days.

The amount owed to the city for police and fire services during the Stillwater Marathon was not immediately available. But it is far less than the cost of public safety services during Lumberjack Days, Hansen said.

To have another event, St. Croix Events would have to get the approval from the City Council, Hansen said.

According to complaints filed with the Stillwater Police Department on Oct. 18, Needham Distributing Company, based out of Grant, and the Woodbury-based were issued checks for beer and liquor purchased by St. Croix Events, but there was no money in the accounts to cover the checks.

Icabod Productions of North Mankato has also filed a theft by worthless check complaint with the Stillwater Police Department.

According to a KSTP report, Eckberg owes the Stillwater Blue Line Boosters $10,000 after a group of hockey players helped set up the festival grounds last summer in the midst of a heat wave.

That complaint was filed with Stillwater police on Nov. 29.

"I'm frustrated more than anything," Stillwater Area High School hockey coach, Phil Housley told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. "I'm very, very frustrated."

The money was to go for hockey equipment and travel expenses, Housley told KSTP.

Eckberg reportedly told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that he signed the checks to four organizations—including the hockey booster club—even though there were not funds in the account to immediately cover the amounts. Eckberg reportedly said the organizations and companies agreed not to cash the checks until he told them the money was available.

"This kind of thing happens on festivals," Eckberg told KSTP. "We're not happy about it but we're working to get everybody paid."

St. Croix Events also produces Drum Beauty Minnesota, the , the and the Osceola Duathlon.

Jerry Weiss December 07, 2011 at 04:03 PM
This doesn't surprise me at all. What's worse, is that it is not as if there was never any money to pay the bills either. The fees St. Croix Events charges vendors alone are exorbitant amounts of money. Did Eckberg ever bother to tell KSTP why there wasn't money available?
Stillwater Resident December 07, 2011 at 04:53 PM
B Dog, Your comment, "it is not as if there was never any money to pay the bills either" begs the question, Are you the accountant for St. Croix Events? You imply that you are intimately aware of its bank balances and transactions. If that's true, how come you didn't do a better job with all that money you say was there? Perhaps you are a vendor at Lumberjack Days and other area events. You indicated the vendors pay exorbitant amounts. Please define exorbitant. Is it more than other event companies charge their vendors for the same type of event? You have been quick to judge St. Croix Events and Mr. Eckberg. In the spirit of Minnesota nice and the upcoming holidays, maybe you could reserve judgment until all the facts (not opinions and suppositions) are provided.
JVP December 07, 2011 at 06:24 PM
This isn't a surprise to anyone in town who's had their ear to the ground.
stillwaters finest December 07, 2011 at 07:51 PM
St. Croix events is a terrible company, stillwater resident. I am also from stillwater and know dave eckberg personally and am not overly impressed. I think what the other guy was trying to say is that lumberjack days and other stillwater events bring in millions of dollars. While bringing that money in david eckberg made sure that the fireworks are paid for (they are some of the most expensive in the country) the portapottys are taken care of and a number of other things that would grind the whole thing to a halt but he doesn't have money for some group of kids. Sounds petty, pathetic and money grubbing if you ask me.
Barbara Arney December 09, 2011 at 04:07 PM
Is this the same Dave Eckberg that was charged and admitted embezzlement from the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce in the late 1970's....Yes, I believe it is. Guess I am getting old and the only one that remembers it? Fortunately for him he had good representation from the Eckberg Law firm and got a slap on the hand instead of a kick in the behind. Well, the "old" saying still stands: (Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.) This time let's make sure he can never get his hands in our pockets again. Heh???
Scott H December 21, 2011 at 01:44 PM
Is that you Dave??

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