BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Bismarck Event Center Building Director Charlie Jeske has been fired.
According to spokespeople from the City of Bismarck, Jeske (who had been with the establishment since 2008) was let go this month as a result of an investigation that began when he was placed on paid administrative leave on September 22nd.
The case began when a former Event Center employee contacted the city with two complaints regarding the director — one relating to overtime and the other concerning a trip Jeske took in 2015. So, the city took a closer look.
The investigation says Jeske and his marketing manager accepted a trip from the company Etix back in 2016 — when the Event Center was still under contract with Ticketmaster. Under city policy, a Bismarck employee may not accept a gift over $25. The city attorney also asked Jeske about a boat he had brought from Moritz Marine. Jeske told the city he had bought a boat in 2019 along with doing a trade-in, but couldn’t say if he had received any special treatment. The city says Jeske received over $34,000 for the boat and paid just under $61,000 for the new one, leading the city to ask Jeske if Moritz in turn got a discount on rent for events happening at the Event Center.
KX News spoke to one of Moritz Marine’s owners on Monday, who denies that Jeske received any special treatment compared to any other customer. He says the Moritz family separately owns CAPSCO, which provides liquor at all BEC events — but a Moritz family member says Moritz Sport and Marine is separately owned and has no affiliation with CAPSCO. Investigators say there was no alcohol contract signed.
Another company, T2 Promotions, provided alcohol at both Beerfest and Whiskey and Wine Fest. T2 was owned by David Moritz, who passed away last year. A city of Bismarck spokesperson says a further look at the numbers says that the Rec and Leisure Show was charged half the rent price last year compared to competing vendors. A Moritz family spokesperson says the boat dealership pays rent to a separate company, but not to the Event Center. The city forwarded their findings from Jeske to a special agent with the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations for possible felony charges. A BCI spokesperson tells KX news that right now, the investigation is still open, and the city has not started the search to hire a new director at the Event Center.
Jeske now has the option to appeal his firing to the city’s civil service commission. KX News left a message with Jeske’s attorney on Monday morning but haven’t heard back yet.