Organizer of popular Stillwater event leaves trail of debt

The Lumberjack Days Festival organizer wrote tens of thousands of dollars in bad checks to vendors and a high school hockey booster organization. He blames bad weather for the lack of funds to cover the debts. Police are investigating.
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The Lumberjack Days Festival organizer wrote tens of thousands of dollars in bad checks to vendors and a high school hockey booster organization. He blames bad weather for the lack of funds to cover the debts. Police are investigating.

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After months of investigation, David Eckberg, 61, was charged with 10 felony counts -- five of theft by check and five of issuance of a dishonored check -- in Washington County District Court on Thursday, the Star Tribune reports. Eckberg, the former organizer of Stillwater's now defunct Lumberjack Days festival, is accused taking $41,000 from the festival and writing nearly $55,000 in bad checks.

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The Lumberjack Days Festival Organization has failed to pay $20,000 to the city of Stillwater, the Pioneer Press is reporting. This comes just weeks after the city decided to suspend the festival's contract to run the annual riverside celebration. Festival organizers have been accused of writing thousands of dollars of worthless checks by a variety of organizations.

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The future of the city's two biggest summer festivals is in question after the City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to suspend the events. Investigators are looking into a batch of bad checks allegedly penned by festival organizers.

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According to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy court, Dave Eckberg and his wife, Stacy Einck, owe a list of more than 100 creditors nearly $2.4 million. Eckberg had coordinated the summer festival along the St. Croix River in Stillwater since 1994 and could also face criminal charges.

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