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East Grand Forks mayor says he was unaware of Boardwalk building's unpaid city loan

Herald Graphic

East Grand Forks Mayor Lynn Stauss said Wednesday he didn’t know anything about an outstanding loan used to help construct the Boardwalk building.

The city’s Economic Development and Housing Authority held a special meeting Tuesday to discuss the $510,000 loan the body gave to Boardwalk Enterprises LLP in 1999. There hasn’t been any payment on the loan since that time, city staff said.

City Attorney Ron Galstad said after the meeting that he wasn’t sure who exactly makes up Boardwalk Enterprises, but said he’s been in contact with Dan Stauss. Previous Herald articles refer to Dan Stauss as an owner of the Boardwalk building and the mayor’s brother.

“I knew nothing about that loan,” Mayor Stauss told the Herald, adding that he’s not involved with Boardwalk Enterprises. “I have nothing to do with it.”

City Administrator David Murphy said Wednesday that nothing he has seen suggests the mayor is involved in the loan not being paid. Stauss was the city’s mayor when the original loan was made.

Galstad said Wednesday the makeup of Boardwalk Enterprises may have changed since 1999, and it’s not clear if Dan Stauss was part of the original ownership group.

A message left for Dan Stauss was not returned Wednesday, but Galstad said it appears he still has an ownership interest in the building.

Boardwalk Enterprises is the owner of the Boardwalk building, according to county property records. The company was listed as inactive earlier this week on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website, but a renewal was filed Wednesday and the company is now listed as active. Its registered agent is Judd Stauss.

Next steps

City staff said Tuesday their next steps would involve filing the mortgage documents on the building, which houses the Drunken Noodle/Little Bangkok and Boardwalk Bar and Grill restaurants, and have EDHA board members meet with Boardwalk Enterprises officials about the loan.

Murphy, who came to the city this fall, said he can’t find any sign that the city attempted to collect loan payments. Payments were supposed to begin in 2003 and finish in 2019.

Murphy said it appears the Boardwalk Enterprises loan is the only one that has gone unnoticed. He said it was brought to his attention by EDHA Executive Director Jim Richter, who signed the original loan in 1999. Murphy said he wasn’t sure how Richter discovered it.

Former City Administrator Scott Huizenga, now a budget officer for the city of Kansas City, Mo., said Wednesday he doesn’t recall the loan ever coming up during his tenure, which began in 2008.

Murphy said a couple EDHA board members will meet with Boardwalk Enterprises officials next week, and a report will be made during the next regular meeting May 13.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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