Eckberg, wife file for bankruptcy

LJD organizer and spouse owe 100 creditors more than $2.37M

By ERIK SANDIN – Stillwater Gazette

Lumberjack Days festival organizer Dave W. Eckberg and his wife filed for personal bankruptcy Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Minneapolis.

In their filing, Eckberg and his wife, Stacy A. Einck, said they have more than $707,700 in assets and $2.378 million in liabilities to more than 100 creditors.

Eckberg and Einck own St. Croix Events Inc. in Stillwater. Their company put on the city’s Lumberjack Days festival, Fourth of July fireworks show and Stillwater Marathon, in addition to some smaller community events.

"First, the bankruptcy filing is personal and does not affect any claims anyone may have against Lumberjack Days or St. Croix Events," Eckberg said in an email today.

The bankruptcy filing comes as the Washington County Attorney’s Office investigates allegations that the Lumberjack Days Festival Association issued worthless checks for more than $35,000 last fall to three vendors and the Stillwater Area High School boys hockey booster club.

Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said today his office should finish its investigation into the worthless check allegations against the LJD association "in the next couple of weeks."

"We did find some follow-up items that we asked our law enforcement partners to look into," he said.

Orput said he expects his office to file felony charges in the case.

"We’re tying up some loose ends," he said. "There’s a lot of documents to go through."

Eckberg said in his email that he and his wife have cooperated in the investigation.

"Second, regarding the ongoing investigation, we continue to believe in the legal system," he said. "At this time we have not been invited to meet with the Washington County Attorney’s Office or any of the county investigators. We’ve cooperated fully so far and intend to do so until this is resolved."

The Stillwater City Council cancelled Lumberjack Days and ended the city’s contract with the Lumberjack Days Association in March, citing the check allegation investigation, unpaid bills and public disapproval.

The council also instituted a moratorium on new festivals and plans to survey residents about their feelings about resuming Lumberjack Days or starting a new festival. Several individuals have indicated their desire to organize a new festival to replace Lumberjack Days.

The 98-page bankruptcy filing lists the couple’s monthly expenses as $7,182 and their monthly income as $4,065.

In the filing, Eckberg said he had no income last year, but received distributions used to pay company debt. Einck lists 2011 income of $80,793 and Eckberg lists 2010 income of $99,647 in the court documents.

The filing also shows the couple surrendered their 2008 Mercedes S550V4 in March and sold their 2005 Porsche to a Maplewood auto dealer in April for $26,000.