Tag Archives: Dickinson Mafia

The Dickinson Mafia And Bank Owners In North Dakota

It has been a while since I have mentioned the Dickinson Mafia in one of my blog posts, probably more than a year.  There may come a time, when circumstance arise that may cause me to identify the members of the Dickinson Mafia by name, there are about eight of them.  But at this time, it would be more trouble than it is worth.

For the newcomers to Dickinson, the Dickinson Mafia are a group of business owners, land owners, and political office holders who try to control what goes on in Dickinson.  They tell themselves, and each other, that what they try to accomplish is good for Dickinson, but these things coincide with what benefits them.

A reader may think, so what, what is wrong with this, what is the problem?  I will give you a couple of examples.  One of the ways in which Dickinson is controlled, is by controlling who is hired.  Often times, hiring in Dickinson is not a matter of selecting the most experienced and qualified applicant.  Hiring involves selecting the applicant that has been selected ahead of time due arrangements being made on the basis of family connections, seeking to win favor with someone, promise of being compensated, threat of being punished, or outright being told to do so.

Another way in which Dickinson is controlled, which people learn when they live here, is by:  who gets stopped by the Police and who gets let go;  who moves forward with being criminally prosecuted and who has charges dropped;  who gets a long sentence and who gets a short sentence, or no sentence;  who gets a building permit and who does not;  who receives building code violations and who does not;  who receives a bank loan and who does not;  who keeps their job and who gets laid off;  who gets awarded contracts and who does not;  who gets good publicity in the newspaper and who does not.

Myself, and other people who live in Dickinson, would like to be treated fairly, but sometimes that doesn’t happen.  It is upsetting, when steps are taken to interfere with your being hired, your work, being stopped by the Police, attempted entrapment by the Police, or not being able to get a bank loan.

For the readers who still don’t know what I am talking about, you can read my previous blog posts titled “They Hide Jobs In Dickinson, North Dakota”, “The Disputed Termination Of David Armendariz”, “Not Being Paid By Employers In Dickinson”, “Being Stopped By The Police In Dickinson, North Dakota”,  “Almost Getting Caught By The Drug Task Force In Dickinson, North Dakota”, “Legal Entrapment Of Manish In Dickinson, North Dakota”.

In understanding Dickinson, it is like pealing back layers of an onion.  After studying things for a while, you may think that you understand Dickinson, but then you realize that there is another layer below what you have already found.

Here is one way to look at these layers of Dickinson:

The first thing that a newcomer to Dickinson will likely experience, is contact with their employer and the Police in Dickinson.  This is what is on the surface of Dickinson.  If you have any sense, you will quickly realize that you are better off saying very little to your employer, your co-workers, and the Police in Dickinson, because they are all trying to find fault with you, and something to charge you with.

The next layer down, the socialization in Dickinson, will be the people that you meet and interact with at grocery stores, retail stores, businesses, restaurants, bars, school, the West River Community Center, etc.  You may come to understand that the socialization in Dickinson is heavily influenced by the German, Ukranian, and Catholic ancestry of the local people.

The next layer down, the economy in Dickinson, you may find out about the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd oil booms in Dickinson, the history of the settlers and agriculture, the history of the poverty and wealth, the historical prices of land, success and failures of businesses and industries, coal mining, Uranium mining, etc.

The next layer you may come to in understanding Dickinson, is the Dickinson Mafia layer.  You may begin to learn about the influence and control of the Dickinson Mafia, what businesses they own, what they are involved in, who they are related to, what they are trying to accomplish.

Unfortunately for me, the next layer that I came to understand about Dickinson, is the crime and illegal drug activity.  Someone a little older than me, who moved to Dickinson twenty years ago said to me, “If everyone in Dickinson knew the truth about the crime and the illegal drug activity in Dickinson, 80% of the people would leave Dickinson.”  You would probably leave Dickinson, if you knew the truth about what is going on.

The furthest layer down, that I have seen, is the Bank owners in North Dakota.  They are invisible, they were invisible to me, until a couple of things made me realize that they were there.  This is funny, and embarrassing, because ultimately, they own everything, far surpassing anyone else or any entity in control and importance.

I read this factual statistic recently, and I have heard and seen this statistic about five times previously, that was uncovered by economists and financial experts, and reported by journalists:

1% of people…………..own or control 80% of the wealth in the U.S.

19% of people…………own or control 12% of the wealth in the U.S.

80% of people…………own or control 8% of the wealth in the U.S.

The two most important things to see, are that the top 1% wealthiest people own 80% of the wealth in the U.S., and that the vast majority of people, the bottom 80% own only 8% of the wealth in the U.S.

I had thought that the Dickinson Mafia control things in Dickinson.  It is true, that they try to control things in Dickinson.  But the Bank owners in North Dakota, have much more control.  However you don’t see, hear, or read very much about the Bank owners in North Dakota, and that is the way that they want it to be.

In Dickinson, there may be griping, complaining, debate, lobbying, protesting, and politicking over such things as:  the permitting of man-camps, people sleeping in their cars, shortage of housing, arrival of street gangs, drug trafficking, prostitution, new housing developments, new business developments, damaged roads, end of the oil boom, people leaving, low occupancy rates, fewer jobs, lower wages, Sears closing, JC Penny closing, Herbergers Closing, new refineries, etc.

Out-of-state workers have their opinions about what they want, which may not be the same as the opinions and what the local people want.  The Dickinson Mafia, have their opinion about what they want, which usually they are able to persuade the local people that this is what they want too, which inevitably is what gets done in Dickinson.

It appears to me, that the Bank owners in North Dakota, do not waste their time and energy paying attention to the daily, weekly, or monthly squabbles and goings on in Dickinson, as if they are of no consequence to them, though they are the biggest land and resource owners in western North Dakota.

I don’t know if the Bank owners figure that whatever gets decided, whichever way things go, either way they will make money.  Or, if when something matters to the Bank owners in North Dakota, when something affects them, that they decide to intervene.  If they do intervene, I have never seen, heard, or read about it.

Re-Evaluating What The Police And The Dickinson Mafia Are Doing

I am now re-considering and re-evaluating what the City of Dickinson Police and the Dickinson Mafia are doing.  Rather than continuing to complain, I may have to acknowledge that some of their practices, are necessary in Dickinson, North Dakota.

I have written several blog posts in the past complaining about the City of Dickinson Police always being so eager to follow everyone and pull them over.  I know that they were stopping people in order to check driver’s licenses and vehicles, to see if anyone had warrants, were driving under the influence, had illegal weapons or drugs, stolen property, or anything else illegal.  But I was sick and tired of being surveilled and stalked by the Police, when I wasn’t doing anything illegal.

On Thursday night of this past week, when a vehicle ran up over the curb, across the grass strip, and through a chain link fence where I usually park my vehicle, for the third time in the past six months, I wished that the Police in Dickinson could round up all the White Trash in Dickinson.

It’s not just that a vehicle crashed over the curb and through a chain link fence in this 25 mph zone for the third time in six months, or that another vehicle crashed into my equipment trailer in this spot, or that one of my vehicles got stolen during this time, or that my neighbors’ vehicles have had property stolen from them, it’s that this is happening all throughout Dickinson.

I don’t know if things were ever this bad in Dickinson before, or if this happened following the second oil boom in 1983, but Dickinson now is just full of White Trash and hoodlums.  I think that 50% of this is poor White Trash from out-of-state, and 50% of this is locally born White Trash.  I do think that poor drug addict people from out-of-state have had a negative effect on poor locally born people, making them much worse.

What I hated was the Dickinson Police following, surveilling, and stalking everyone in Dickinson, but I guess they have to.  Apparently, if the Dickinson Police let up for one minute, the White Trash take this opportunity to crash a vehicle, steal a vehicle, or steal property out of a vehicle, garage, or business.

I had written blog posts in the past complaining about the Dickinson Mafia.  For those of you who don’t know, the Dickinson Mafia are a group of business owners, property owners, and leadership in the City, that have tried to control what goes in Dickinson in the past:  Development, ordinances, hiring, firing, wage rates, promotions, marriage, who succeeds, and who fails.

I felt that it was wrong for a group of prominent and successful men to try to determine and control so much, what happens to other people.  Now, at this time in Dickinson, when I see so many people running amock, the White Trash problem, the misbehavior, theft, and drug problems, I wish that the Dickinson Mafia would get Dickinson back under control.

Here is how the Dickinson Mafia used to work:  If someone got arrested in Dickinson for DUI, illegal drugs, assault, domestic violence, burglary, or theft, within a day or two, they would no longer have a job in Dickinson, nor would they be able to get another job.  Their spouse may also lose their job within a day or two.  Not being able to pay rent within a month or two, they would be evicted, and would be unable to find replacement housing.  They would have no place to work or live in Dickinson.  They would have to leave Dickinson.

I wish that the Dickinson Press newspaper would begin again to publish the names of people in Dickinson who are arrested for DUI, illegal drugs, assault, domestic violence, burglary, and theft, and publish this in the Dickinson Press Police Blotter every week.

The owners and the managers of every business in Dickinson would read the Police Blotter every week, to see if anyone working for them had been arrested.  And if they didn’t read it for themselves, one of their friends, relatives, or customers would telephone them and let them know.  Once these people’s names were made public, the Dickinson Mafia, the public, customers, friends, and relatives would be saying to them, “Why do let criminals work for you?  Why are you helping criminals?”

Back when the Dickinson Mafia was more active and involved, they did not tolerate or allow White Trash in Dickinson.  I would like to see the Dickinson Mafia, the City of Dickinson Police, and everyone else begin to force the White Trash, hoodlums, drug dealers, and drug addicts out of Dickinson.

Exposing Some Bad Things In Dickinson, North Dakota

I have lived in Dickinson, North Dakota for five years now.  Ever since I came to Dickinson, I could tell that there were things going on that were wrong.  There were things that were adversely affecting me, my friends, and other people that I met.  I wanted to know what was going on, what were the reasons, what was behind all of this.  Eventually I created this blog website, and here are some of the things that I wrote about:

  1. The gouging and taking advantage of out of state workers on housing.
  2. The deliberate creating of a shortage and not alleviating the shortage of housing in order to keep prices high to benefit local property owners.
  3. OSHA refusing to investigate the work site death of Eric Haider.
  4. No one being charged with manslaughter over the work site death of Eric Haider.
  5. Public and private businesses violating EEO laws in order to hire friends and relatives.
  6. Failure of the Department of Labor to hold employers accountable for non-payment of wages.
  7. Long history of companies and employers in Dickinson attempting to keep wages low in order to prevent employees from ever getting ahead or being able to leave.
  8. Not allowing prostitution though the ratio of men to women varied from 3:1 to 30:1.
  9. Newspaper reports of multiple occurrences of local men resorting to sex with cows and horses in this area.

One of the causes of the injustices that I have listed above, appears to be the Catholic Church in Dickinson.  The Catholic Church in Dickinson has encouraged the Catholics to believe that they are better than everyone else, has encouraged anything that brings money to the Church, and has not discouraged or spoken out against the mistreatment or taking advantage of others.

A second cause of some of the injustices in Dickinson, appears to be the Dickinson Mafia.  The Dickinson Mafia are a group of men who own businesses, who hold public office, who are on boards of directors, and who manage some of the large companies in Dickinson.  They sought to keep wages low so that workers could never get ahead, would have to work their whole life for low wages, and could never leave.  The Dickinson Mafia also sought to control Dickinson by giving jobs as favors or rewards to people who did what they wanted, and not giving jobs to people that were independent, regardless of education, skill, and qualifications.  The Dickinson Mafia was greatly responsible for the Nepotism and Chronyism that goes on in Dickinson.

A third cause of some of the injustices in Dickinson, appears to be the failure of the police, the judicial system, and the press to hold people accountable for wrong doing.  I have come across situations in Dickinson, where individuals should have been arrested but were not, should have been prosecuted but were not, should have received long prison sentences but did not, and should have been fully covered in the Dickinson Press newspaper but were not.

Some of the really bad bad things that have been done by prominent people and businesses in Dickinson have been covered by newspapers outside of Dickinson, such as the Jamestown Sun, the Grand Forks Herald, and the Bismarck Tribune.  This is one way to handle it, and leave the Dickinson Press newspaper out of it.

The Bismarck Tribune newspaper did publish an article approximately one year ago, that described the failure of the North Dakota Department of Labor to hold employers accountable for non-payment of wages to workers.  There had been a two year wait after a worker complaint had been filed, before a case worker was even assigned to the complaint.  75% of the Department of Labor complaints were against oil field companies in western North Dakota.

I myself was shorted wages by an oil field company in the Dickinson area, so were some of my coworkers, so were some former employees of this company.  I called the North Dakota Department of Labor, and there were four other complaints against this company by former employees for non-payment of wages.

The Dickinson Press newspaper writes glowing newspaper articles about this company and the owner.  How can that be?  I began asking many local people about this company and the company owner.  I wanted to know why was he doing this, how did he think that he could get away with this, and what kind of person is he?  I found out more and more.

In high school, in the seventh grade, this company owner raped a boy in the gym locker room.  It was a very severe sexual assault.  He should have been arrested, convicted, sent to a juvenile detention center, and been registered for life as a convicted sex offender.  None of those things happened.  I asked why this didn’t happen.  I was told because of his family name, who his family was, and because his family had money.

In a previous blog post that I wrote titled, “Summary Of Wickedness And Perversion In Dickinson, North Dakota”, I wrote about a very similar incident to the one that I just described above, where a member of a wealthy and prominent local family was convicted of molesting an 8 year old girl.  His prison sentence and restitution was extremely lenient, unbelievably lenient.

In that blog post, I wrote that one of the problems in Dickinson, is that some people in Dickinson think that they are so much better than other people, that they can take advantage of other people with impunity.

As long as the Catholic Church continues to teach that Catholics are better than other people, there will continue to be people trying to take advantage of others, and mistreatment of others in Dickinson.  As long as the Dickinson Mafia continues to practice Nepotism and Chronyism, there will be corruption, collusion, injustice, unfairness, and mistreatment of people in Dickinson.

As long as the police, judicial system, and press do not hold all people equally accountable, there will be corruption, injustice, unfairness, underhandedness, crime, and mistreatment of people in Dickinson.

Trying To Change Things In Dickinson And Watford City, North Dakota

In my blog posts I have written about: The Dickinson Mafia, Dickinson State University, Dickinson Police Department, Dickinson Chamber of Commerce, Watford City Chamber of Commerce, Watford City Police Department, Belfield, Gladstone, Catholics, Bohemians, Black People, Mexicans, Real Estate Agents, Property Developers, Property Investors, White Trash, Jessie Veeder, Dan Porter, Kristi Schwartz, Bill and Kamal Patel, Outlaw Sippin Band, Codi Miller, Marinna Marsh, Eric Smallwood, Bigfoot, UFOs, women, bartenders, prostitution, restaurants, and that arrogant Mexican who owns that Mexican restaurant.

Many people are mad at me.  I will suffer some negative consequences as time goes by and people figure out that it is me who wrote these things about them.  There are at least three things that I accomplish when I write about Dickinson and Watford City:  I give the readers from out-of-state a better understanding of what is going on in western North Dakota; I point out things to the local readers that they might want to think about, consider, and change; and I cause the local people who are directly involved to think about what they are doing and maybe change what they are doing.  It is worthwhile to me to give truthful information to people from out-of-state to save them from having problems, and to try to cause some things to change in Dickinson and Watford City that will benefit everyone.

There are some things that I write about, that no one else addresses in public, and the Dickinson Press newspaper will not write about.  There are some things that I write about, that no one thought needed to be written about.  The following are some subjects that I have written about that I still think are important:

  • The Dickinson Mafia.  The Dickinson Mafia exerted beneficial control over development in Dickinson.  The town of Dickinson is very organized and clean, even though it just went through an Oil Boom.  However one of the things that the Dickinson Mafia should have done was grab hold of all the Real Estate Agents and Property Investors by their necks and said, “You are not going to fuck up this beneficial growth of Dickinson by ripping off all these people so bad, that they can’t wait to leave here when this boom is over!  Do you understand that you are going to ruin the whole economic future of Dickinson for years to come with your short-sighted gouging that is only going to last a couple of years?”
  • Dickinson State University.  I quit going to the West River Community Center in 2013 because of all the hoodlum street thugs, which were here in Dickinson because they were brought here by DSU.  Everybody in Dickinson noticed this, where did all these inner city street street thugs come from?, my God, it’s DSU that is recruiting them here!  In about 2015, I think that Dickinson State University quit doing this, because I don’t see as many hoodlum street thugs in Dickinson as I used to.
  • Dickinson Chamber of Commerce and Watford City Chamber of Commerce.  At first, the Dickinson Chamber of Commerce and the Watford City Chamber of Commerce did not want to allow my blog on the first page of Google search results, but now they don’t fight with my blog as much.  Probably, the Chamber of Commerce wants people from out-of-state to know that housing prices are very high, that most people who come to North Dakota to work will not make $100,000 per year, that it is very cold for about seven months each year, and that there is no homeless shelter.
  • Jessie Veeder.  Jessie Veeder is a singer, writer, and photographer from Watford City.  I wish that she would write about Watford City and North Dakota exactly how it is, not how she wants it to be.  She should know from her grandparents, parents, and old people in Watford City how hard life in North Dakota had been, how poor people were, and how much of a struggle it was to survive.  It is very important that people in North Dakota know and never forget how hard and difficult it was for people up until this most recent Oil Boom.  People here need to know this so that they conserve everything they have, don’t waste anything, and don’t live foolishly.  There has been about a twenty-five year gap between Oil Booms in North Dakota.
  • Women, bartenders, restaurants, and prostitution.  It took me a while to catch on, but I am now 100% certain, that the single women who came to North Dakota to work had something wrong with them.  There are jobs in human resources, nursing, administrative assistant, banking, retail, hotel, bartending, and waitressing, everywhere in the United States.  A woman could make more money in these occupations in Florida, Texas, New York, Arizona, or California and live in a more comfortable and better social environment.  With the cost of housing in western North Dakota, there was no financial advantage to women in these occupations to move to North Dakota.  The thing was, they were so fucking crazy, that they could not get a job in Florida, Texas, New York, Arizona, or California, a background check or even just talking to them for five minutes would reveal that there was something wrong with them.  In North Dakota, there was a shortage of workers, so employers didn’t do much of a background check or much of an interview to exclude crazy people.  In addition to the extremely cold weather, very high housing prices, lack of things to do, and shortage of women, when you did go to a restaurant or a bar, the women servers were crazy and had something wrong with them.  I argued and argued in this blog that prostitution should have been allowed in western North Dakota due to the shortage of women.  I argued that housewives didn’t want truck drivers, construction workers, and oil field workers trying to solicit them everywhere they went.  But I was wrong about prostitution, if all the waitresses and bartender women had something wrong with them, I can’t even imagine how horrible the prostitutes would have been.

 

How Businesses Treat People In Dickinson, North Dakota

I want to write a brief, to-the-point post about how businesses in Dickinson treat people.  In addition to giving out-of-state people some information, I would like for the Dickinson Mafia to think about this.

The following businesses in Dickinson that I have dealt with have been fair:

Dan Porter Toyota, Charboneau Dodge, Parkway Ford, R&R Repair, have all been fair, their prices were only 10% to 15% higher than ordinary towns not in the oil field.  The personnel were reasonable.

Ace Hardware, Macs Hardware, and Runnings have a good selection of quality merchandise.  The prices are not high.  Mostly, the personnel were O.K.

Most of the stores in the Prairie Hills Mall have normal priced merchandise, the personnel are O.K.  The Prairie Hills Mall Cinema is O.K.  Herberger’s has nice clothes.

The West River Community Center is one of the nicest indoor recreation centers in the United States.  It is moderately priced.  In the summer, Patterson Lake is a nice large outdoor recreation area that is moderately priced.

There is a large selection of fast food restaurants that are not high priced, McDonalds, Burger King, Wendys, Arbys, Taco Bell, Subway, Dominos, and the King Buffet.  There are a few inexpensive restaurants with good food, like Don Pedros.

There are more than enough grocery stores now, three Family Fares, Cash Wise, Wal-Mart, and the Family Dollar.  These stores have normal prices.

Having just written the list above, it would seem like everything is O.K. in Dickinson.  Most of the things that people want or need, are readily available in Dickinson, at reasonable and fair prices.  Except for housing.

What I want to point out to the Dickinson Mafia, is that everyoneeveryone who moved to Dickinson felt like they were being taken advantage of, and they were very angry and resentful about it.  I explained in several previous posts, that the property owners, property managers, and property investors, had cost increases of approximately 50% after 2007, but they increased the housing prices by 400%.

Even though most of the businesses in Dickinson had fair prices and were reasonable, everyone who moved to Dickinson felt like they were being taken advantage of.  If it would not have been for the property owners, property managers, and property investors, many of the people who moved to Dickinson for work would have thought that Dickinson was as good a place as any to stay, buy a home, and raise a family.  Instead, most of the out-of-state workers planned on staying here only so long as the oil field work lasted, because they felt like they were being taken advantage of.

Dickinson would have been better off if people thought of it as a place to settle down.  Many people made up their mind that they weren’t going to remain in Dickinson because the price of housing was just too high.  All of the oil field workers who left Dickinson will remember for the rest of their lives, how cold it was, and how they got ripped off.

Facebook in Dickinson, North Dakota

I hesitated to write this blog post, I didn’t want to give this secret away.  On Facebook, I have found so much information about people in Dickinson in a short time, that would have otherwise taken me about fifteen years of living in Dickinson to find out.  I have written in about 40% of my blog posts, that there had been a shortage of women in Dickinson.  During the first year that I lived in Dickinson, I thought that there was some genetic reason why nobody here had attractive daughters.  Later I found out that the attractive women were just hiding.  I found out that if you went to the grocery store before 5:00 p.m., before the oil field workers got off work, you would see some attractive women shopping.

In Dickinson, I wasted probably two years of my life trying to look for women to date on internet dating sites.  I found out, that if a nice looking woman has to advertise on an internet dating site to get asked out, she is probably driving men away in person.  This is an understatement.

One day in Dickinson, I met an attractive young waitress, and I later looked her up on Facebook.  On Facebook, she had all of her “friends” listed.  I could not help looking at some of her attractive “friends” profiles on Facebook.   I was just viewing Facebook profiles, when I started to realize, this is telling me a lot.  It was like someone was taking the time to tell me who everybody was in Dickinson.  I could see who everyone’s friends, family members, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives were, where they worked, where they went to school.  A tremendous amount of information.

I still to this day don’t know where all of these good looking women in Dickinson hide most of the time, but I know a lot more about their behavior.  They like to list other good looking women as “friends”, they do not like to show ugly “friends”.  Good looking women like to go places.  It seems like for them, the point in going to some of the places they go, is to take pictures of them being there.  It appears that the young women in Dickinson most often date people that they went to high school with, or people that they work with.

I suppose if a guy wanted to, he could look on Facebook, pick any young woman he wanted to date, look at her pictures, read where she works, read what her interests are, and then go see her at her job at Ace Hardware.  “Yes, I’m here to buy some sealant for my turtle’s aquarium.”.   “Oh wow!  You have a turtle too?”.  “Yes, I got him after my bar mitzvah.”. “Oh wow!  You’re Jewish too, so am I.”

Anyway, as I mentioned in a recent post, I have more than enough young women around me now that 80% of the oil field workers have left the state, and I don’t want any more.  I look at some young women’s profiles on Facebook in order to see how bad an idea it would be for me to date them.

I don’t want to talk about looking at women on Facebook any more right now, in order to talk about some other important things.  I have written about the Dickinson Mafia in about eight of my blog posts.  They are a group of men who have had a great deal of control over what goes on in Dickinson, for many years.  They are not all bad, they have accomplished some good things, but they had a hand in keeping wages low in Dickinson up until this most recent oil boom.  Just as the pretty women on Facebook like to show other pretty women as “friends”, the Dickinson Mafia like to show other connected people, and their minions as “friends”.

Just as I met one pretty girl, and then found her “friends” on Facebook, I looked at the Dickinson Mafia “friends”.  It’s funny, none of the Dickinson Mafia friends have hard labor jobs, or even difficult jobs.  Most of the Dickinson Mafia friends have gone to college, which is not typical for Dickinson.  Though their male offspring sometimes look weak and not sharp, they still have good looking wives.  I’m not too interested in criticizing the Dickinson Mafia right now, I am trying to point out that they look after their own.

If I hadn’t known before, I know now, that I will never get very far in Dickinson.  I am not from here, I didn’t go to school here, I didn’t marry the right person’s daughter, and I didn’t curry favor with the Dickinson Mafia.  Like I started out saying at the beginning of this post, Facebook showed me what it might have taken fifteen years of living in Dickinson to find out: who is who, who knows who, who is related to who, and that’s how that works.

Before some readers go and get depressed, and other readers gloat that everything is as it should be in Dickinson, I want to point out that Dickinson is changing.  There is a likelihood that those who mistreated and took advantage of other people during the past several years will reap what they have sewn, especially the landlords, property managers, and property investors.  Keep me posted on Facebook when you go bankrupt.

That other thing about not being successful if the Dickinson Mafia don’t want you to be, if Dickinson is prohibitive to people making money, there won’t be many people staying in Dickinson. The Dickinson Mafia could end up owning a bunch of failed businesses and property that is worth nothing if too many people move away.

 

 

 

 

Eric Smallwood, Dickinson, North Dakota

Today, in this post, I write about Eric Smallwood, the Alive @ 5 event organizer, music promoter, business promoter, and community advocate living in Dickinson, North Dakota.

Eric Malone Smallwood was born September 11, 1979.  He was raised in the small town of Buhl, Idaho, population 4,000.  After high school, Eric studied agriculture and biosystems engineering at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

In approximately 2007, at the age of 28, Eric moved to Dickinson, North Dakota, after hearing from a friend, Nick, about the build-up in Dickinson, indicating what could be an oil boom.  Not long after moving to Dickinson, Eric and a Nick bought the old Dickinson Press building.

At the time Eric Smallwood moved to Dickinson, a very good way to make a lot of money was to work in the rapidly expanding oil field, to work a lot of overtime, at one of the highest rates of pay, directly on an oil rig.  At that time, oil companies were looking for quick well completions.  Drilling companies were pushing their workers to go, go, go for more than twelve hours each day.  Work conditions were very dangerous, and in 2009, Eric lost half of his right index finger while working on an oil rig.  After that, Eric worked in the oil field as a crane operator.

The location of the old Dickinson Press building which Eric and Nick had bought, was on 1st Street, directly across from the historic old Elks Lodge building.  Within 1-1/2 blocks, were several historic buildings, the American Bank Center building, the Park Square building, the Odd Fellows Lodge, the Jessen building, the Masonic Lodge, and the Brickhouse Grille.

The historic Elks Lodge building renovation had been going on since approximately 2004.  Jacob Siewart, the owner of the old Masonic Lodge building, had been working on his building renovation for more than ten years.  In 2012, Adam Metzker moved to Dickinson and purchased the Park Square building and the Jessen building, and began their renovation.  Eric worked on the remodeling of his building, helped with work on the Odd Fellows Lodge building, and visited Jacob Siewart and Adam Metzker during the work on their buildings.  One of Eric’s favorite things was the stamped tin metal ceilings in several of these buildings, popular in the 1800s, and early 1900s.  Eric took an interest in the downtown Dickinson historic district building preservation, and he became a supporter, activist, and organizer.

The first report that I could find about the Thursday evening street parties in Dickinson, was a June 2012 article in the Dickinson Press written by Kevin Holten.  The Alive @ 5 event was at 1st Avenue & 1st Street, from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm, and organized by the Odd Fellows Lodge.  I believe that the event was also supported by the Dickinson Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Dickinson Business Owners Association.

In 2014, Eric Smallwood became the lead organizer for Alive @ 5 in Dickinson.  As the summer went on, the street parties got bigger and bigger, and went to 8:30 pm or 9:00 pm.  Some of the crowds in 2014 were probably 2,000 to 3,000 people.  Hundreds of people remained downtown after Alive @ 5, and continued to drink at the Rock Bar, Bernie’s Esquire Club, and the Brickhouse Grille.

Eric Smallwood was able to bring increasingly bigger and better performers to Dickinson.  The highlights in 2014 were Gwen Sebastian and Kat Perkins.  The work had begun months in advance by Eric, selling advertising, selling VIP tickets, getting donations of money, material, equipment, and labor from local companies.  For every Thursday event, stage set up took all day.  Stage tear down and clean up took all night through to dawn.

Eric Smallwood got a lot of donations and cooperation from the Dickinson Mafia.  I don’t think that there was anyone else accept for Eric that could have gotten so much cooperation from the Dickinson Mafia.  Eric was persistent, high energy, enthusiastic, and he got results in the form of successful events, bringing performers that people wanted to see, creating good publicity for Dickinson every week.  With the Dickinson Mafia’s favorable opinion of the event, the Dickinson Police absolutely left everyone alone at Alive @ 5, the Dickinson Police were 100% helpful during the event.  The Dickinson Fire Marshal was cooperative with the event.  Probably one hundred businesses in Dickinson contributed to the events.

In 2015, the Alive @ 5 events were even bigger.  Eric Smallwood not only got Gwen Sebastian and Kat Perkins to come back, he got them to come back together!  Because of the growing enthusiasm in Dickinson for the event, and because of rumors “to expect something big”, the attendance at this concert was close to 6,000 people, on a Thursday night!  This was probably the highest attendance ever at a concert in Western North Dakota.

Other big performers in 2015 were Firehouse and Aaron Tippen.  Eric also booked performers that were not well known in Dickinson, such as Corb Lund.  Many people had not heard of Corb Lund before, but when they heard him at Alive @ 5, everybody recognized that this was something different, and very good.  Other performers that were well liked at Alive @ 5, were the two sister band, Tigir Lilly, who had as many autograph seekers afterward as the more famous Nashville bands.

Most people in Dickinson were positive about Alive @5.  Many people looked forward to going, downtown business owners were happy about thousands of people seeing their businesses every Thursday, the Chamber of Commerce and the City of Dickinson were happy about the publicity.

In addition to the summer street parties in Dickinson, in 2014 Eric Smallwood began bringing performers to Dickinson during the winter.  Eric would have liked to have used the large ballroom in the old Masonic Lodge building to hold events, but it wasn’t ready yet, so Eric used the Odd Fellows Lodge theater to have performances with people like Mitch Malloy.  There were so few seats in the theater, guests were limited to the major donors of the summer Alive @ 5 events.

In the winter of 2015, Eric continued to bring entertainment to Dickinson, organizing a formal Christmas dinner party with two hundred guests at the Astoria Hotel ballroom, where Kat Perkins was the performer.

At the end of the summer in 2015, Eric Smallwood was working on a business plan, to create a very large, indoor, year-round, event center in Dickinson.  In order to bring big, famous performers to Dickinson, the idea was to be able to seat at least 10,000 people.  From what I heard, this business plan was presented by Eric to the biggest donors and supporters of the Alive @ 5 event, and his plan was well received.  As I have mentioned in several previous posts, there are a group of men in Dickinson who own businesses, own properties, are on board of directors, are involved in city government, who control what goes on in Dickinson.  These men had the money, and the power to have a large event center built in Dickinson, and they wanted one.  This was probably the last and only thing that was missing, to put Dickinson on the same level as Bismarck and Fargo.  Too bad the price of oil went down so low when it did, or Dickinson would have become the Fargo of western North Dakota.