Eckberg faces charges

Former Lumberjack Days organizer David Eckberg was charged today with five counts of theft by check and five counts of issuance of dishonored checks by the Washington County Attorney’s Office.

The complaint alleges that Eckberg, 61, failed to make good on checks he wrote for services rendered at the 2011 Lumberjack Days festival.

The complaint said the checks in question were written to Needham Distributing Company, and Hohenstein’s Inc. for the purchase of beer valued at $22,680 and $2,179.25 respectively. Other alleged bad checks from Eckberg include to the Blue Line  Boosters and Icabod Productions. Blue Line is associated with Stillwater Youth Hockey and was owed $10,000. Icabod Productions provided staging and lighting for the event valued at $20,000.

The complaint alleges that other individuals, companies and organizations also reported to Stillwater Police investigators that they had received insufficient fund checks from Eckberg.

The complaint alleges that when Eckberg wrote the checks in July 2011 that there were insufficient funds in the accounts to cover the checks. The complaint alleges that Eckberg and his attorney told police at a meeting  that he knew there were not sufficient funds in the account to cover the checks and said he was solely responsible for issuance of the checks drawn on the Lumberjack Days Festival Association Inc. account. The total value of the checks was more than $35,000.

The complaint adds that officers executed a number of search warrants for the Eckberg’s banking information and other businesses attached to his name. Officers determined that the defendant did not have sufficient funds contained in the various bank accounts to cover the checks.

The complaint states that between Jul. 27, 2011, and Nov. 1, 2011, Eckberg deposited more than $40,000 from the Lumberjack Festival and St. Croix Events accounts into his wife’s personal account. He repeatedly told the businesses listed above not to cash their checks because there weren’t sufficient funds though the sum in his personal account was enough to cover the debt.

“This has been a careful, painstaking investigation that has required the issuance of multiple search warrants and the review of boxes and boxes of documents,” said County Attorney Pete Orput.

“Frankly, the victims deserve more than the criminal justice system can provide them,” Orput added. “However, my office will do all in its power to bring some amount of justice to the victims of Mr. Eckberg’s duplicity in his business dealings. I want to especially thank the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Stillwater Police Department for an extraordinary effort in putting together this investigation. They have devoted great resources to produce this successful product.”

Eckberg directed all questions to his attorney.

“After a year long investigation that my client fully cooperated with, we’ve learned the case only involves 4 bad checks written in 2011.  We look forward to explaining in court what went wrong with those checks.  Dave never intended on this happening.  Dave’s intent in 2011 was to run a festival like he did successfully for the past 18 years.  Unfortunately, the economy and mother nature had other ideas,” said Eckberg’s attorney, Eric Thole.