Tag Archives: oil boom in Dickinson North Dakota

Dickinson North Dakota Is In A Transition Period

It may be obvious to most of the people who are living here, that Dickinson, North Dakota is going through a transition period.  However, people who live elsewhere in the United States have no way of knowing what is happening in Dickinson right now.

Dickinson, North Dakota experienced an Oil Boom that occurred from 2007 through 2014.  This was Dickinson’s third Oil Boom.  The first Oil Boom took place in the 1950s, and it was due to the discovery of oil in North Dakota.  The second Oil Boom occurred from approximately 1978 through 1983.  This third Oil Boom was due to advances in hydraulic fracturing and directional drilling technologies that allowed more profitable oil extraction in North Dakota.

What killed this third Oil Boom in North Dakota, was the price of oil dropping from over $100 per barrel down to $40 per barrel.  When the price of oil was over $80 per barrel, it was profitable for oil companies to perform exploration, lease oil well sites, drill, and produce oil.  When the price of oil was down around $40 per barrel, oil companies didn’t even want to pump very much of this oil out of the ground because they wouldn’t be making any profit from it.

Supposed reasons for the price of oil going from over $100 per barrel down to $40 per barrel, were over-production and over-supply in the U.S.  It is more likely that the over-supply of oil and the price drop was due to intentional flooding of the oil market by OPEC producers in the Middle East.

The number of operating drill rigs in North Dakota went from over 200 during the Oil Boom, to less than 50 currently.  Many oil field jobs went away.  Less surveying, less road work, less site work, fencing, cattle guards, containment barriers, tank batteries, water hauling, sand hauling, drilling, directional drilling, fracturing, casing, wireline, work over, pump jacks, automation, controls, tanks, pipelines, welding, mechanics, electricians, roustabouts, truck drivers, less everything.

By the end of 2016, I would say that 60% to 80% of the oil field jobs had gone away.  Most of the out-of-state workers returned to the states where they came from.  It was not just that most of the oil field workers lost their jobs, could not get a replacement job, or could not get a job with overtime hours like they used to have, it was that all of the oil field workers knew that they could not afford the cost housing in North Dakota, and it was not very pleasant living in North Dakota because it was cold, there was no where to go, nothing to do, and there was a shortage of women.

Even by the end of 2014, after many new large apartment complexes and new hotels had been constructed in Western North Dakota, the cost of housing was still very high.  In Dickinson, even up until the end of 2015, there was a large extended stay hotel on I-94 that had a banner advertisement on their building for rooms starting at $700 per week.

There was a lie going around the United States that everyone working in the oil field was making over $100,000 per year.  This was far from being true.  In the more than five years that I have lived here, I have only met three people who made more than $100,000 per year working in the oil field.

The $700 per week for the extended stay hotel room, most workers in Dickinson, who worked in retail, fast food, restaurants, or service industry, did not have a take home pay of $700 per week.  The semi-skilled workers, construction workers, laborers, and roustabouts, had a take home pay of about $700 per week after taxes.  This led to people sleeping in their cars at WalMart, sleeping in a tent in people’s backyards, and sleeping in the bushes where they could.  This is not an exaggeration, I know all about this, myself and my friends lived like this.

Some of the cheapest old one-bedroom apartments, if you could even find one, rented for $1,500 per month, with one month’s rent security deposit, first month’s rent, and last month’s rent due at lease signing, that’s $4,500 due up front.  Most of the workers who came to North Dakota did so out of economic desperation, and they didn’t have $4,500, which led to them sleeping in their cars at WalMart, the truck stop, etcetera.

I am re-telling all of this now, to paint the picture of why everyone who came to work in Western North Dakota during the Oil Boom, was so ready to leave when the Oil Boom was over.  It was not just about jobs going away, it was about how unpleasant and difficult it had been living in North Dakota.

The lie had been told that everyone working in the oil field was making over $100,000 per year, in order to lure an abundance of workers to Western North Dakota, most of whom would be paid less than $16 per hour.  These workers would fill the retail, fast food, restaurant, hospitality, and service worker jobs, but they would also fill every house, apartment, basement, cabin, trailer, hotel, and motel.

When the Oil Boom was over, all of the local people, the business owners and the property owners said, “Oh, it’s coming back.  Hold on now, it’s coming back.”  The kind of lying that got people from all over the U.S. to come to North Dakota looking for work, was now being done to try to keep everyone from leaving.  But the Oil Boom didn’t come back, it was over.

By 2017, the occupancy rates at the newly completed large apartment complexes and the old apartment buildings, was approximately 50% or less.  The occupancy rates at the RV parks, hotels, and motels, was approximately 20% or less.  Rents began to decrease quite a bit, as there became competition amongst property owners and property managers to get tenants into their buildings.  Home prices decreased also.

By 2016, some of the non-oil field businesses in Dickinson that I recall closing were, Wild Cat Pizza, Hobby Artz, Superior Laundry, The Pita Pit, and Evolution Fitness.  By the end of 2017, some additional businesses that closed were Sears, JC Penny, one Family Fare grocery store location, Total Workforce Solutions, and the Elks Lodge vacated the upstairs of their own building to move into their basement.

By 2016, some of the few restaurants in Dickinson that had previously been open 24 hours, ceased staying open past midnight.  For a time in 2016, all of the grocery stores and WalMart in Dickinson no longer stayed open 24 hours.  Now WalMart does stay open 24 hours most of the time.

In 2016, many local young people who had graduated from high school in Dickinson or Dickinson State University during the Oil Boom and found employment right away, now had to move out of state to find employment in Montanna, South Dakota, Colorado, and Arizona.

By 2016, many entrepreneurs who had moved to Dickinson to start a business or a service during the Oil Boom, began closing down in order to move away and start over again in another state.  By the end of 2017, there appeared to me to be another wave of entrepreneurs shutting down in Dickinson, to move away and start over elsewhere.

What inspired me to write this particular blog post about Dickinson going through a “Transition Period” right now, are two things.  Three of the most visible and active members of the Dickinson community, three entrepreneurs, have recently announced on Facebook that they are moving away.

For these three people, I thought that Dickinson was their life-long home, they were so entrenched in everything, and so active in everything.  It wasn’t until I read that they were leaving, and I then looked into everything that they were doing recently, that I realized that they had been trying to earn money doing several different jobs outside of what they normally do, in order to make money.  I didn’t know that they were struggling, because I wasn’t paying attention.

In 2016 and 2017, I had to work at several different jobs outside of my normal job, in order to make enough money.  Some of these jobs were physical labor jobs 12 hours per day, every day, for weeks.  Some of these jobs were physical labor jobs for 15 hours per day, with an additional 2 hours of drive time each day.  So I can understand that these three entrepreneurs were having a shortfall of money in Dickinson, because I have too, but I didn’t know that it had come to the point that they have to move away.

The second thing that inspired me to write this blog post about this “Transition Period” in Dickinson right now, is the theft and crime.  In 2017, in Dickinson, there has been so much theft, crime, and drug overdoses.

In Dickinson this past year, there has been a great deal of vehicle, trailer, equipment, and tool thefts, again, and again.  Thefts from businesses, homes, job sites, garages, and parked vehicles.  Dickinson had very little theft prior to the Oil Boom, and even during the Oil Boom up until 2016.  The theft in Dickinson now, is comparable to what goes on in a very bad neighborhood in Phoenix, Tampa, or Dallas.

There have been many drug overdoses in Dickinson this past year, with several fatalities.  I can’t remember hearing about this amount of drug overdoses and fatalities during the Oil Boom, or anywhere else that I have ever lived.

What I think that the correlation is, between everything that I have described in this blog post, is that so many jobs have gone away in Dickinson, that people have coped by moving away immediately, moving away after trying to wait, moving away after trying to work additional jobs, staying and continuing to work multiple jobs, and other people cope by stealing and using illegal drugs.

For Those Of You Who Don’t Understand The Oil Boom, Read The Book, Moby Dick

This past weekend, when the HBO channels were free, I watched the movie “In The Heart Of The Sea”, about the whaling ship the “Essex” from Nantucket.  The story of what happened to the whaling ship the “Essex”, inspired Herman Melville to write the novel Moby Dick.

I recommend reading the novel Moby Dick, written by Herman Melville, and also watching the movie “In The Heart Of The Sea”, about what happened to the whaling ship “Essex”.  They both tell the same story, but in slightly different ways.

The final voyage of the whaling ship Essex took place in 1820.  The town of Nantucket where the Essex sailed from, was one of the largest docking ports for whaling ships in North America.  North America was experiencing a “Whaling Boom”, which was an Oil Boom.  The whole point of whaling, was to boil the whale blubber to reduce it down to whale oil.  Whale oil was the biggest source of oil in the world at that time.

The book and the movie portray the ship owners in Nantucket as greedy capitalists, in the middle of an Oil Boom.  In the movie, it shows that the wealthy local people, would insist and make sure that their sons were captains of the whaling ships, whether they were qualified or not.  (This scenario is similar to the Oil Boom in Dickinson.)

The First Mate, had to be highly competent, to make up for the shortcomings of the ship captain who was in his position due to his family.  The harpooner, also had to be highly competent, because they wouldn’t get any oil without a good harpooner.  The First Mate, and the harpooner, stood to make a lot of money if they produced a great many barrels of oil.  (The First Mate and the harpooner are kind of like a drill rig boss or a tool pusher in this North Dakota Oil Boom.)

All the men on the whaling vessel would be away from home for one to three years.  And there would be no good food, and no women out at sea.  (Just like going to work in Williston, Watford City, or Dickinson.)

The men who manned the whaling ships, would experience great danger on the job, and great physical hardship.  The men who manned the whaling ships, did it because they had no viable economic opportunity where they had come from.  The men had some hope and expectation that they would strike it rich.  (This is exactly the same as what happened in Williston, Watford City, and Dickinson during this Oil Boom.)

Scenes in the book, and in the movie, where a whale gets harpooned, and the whale drags the men in the whale boats, sometimes smashing the whale boats, this is the same as riding in crew trucks on Highway 85 and Highway 22 during the Oil Boom in North Dakota, it was the same thing and equally as dangerous.

In the book Moby Dick, and in the movie “In The Heart Of The Sea”, there is a great white whale that attacks the ship Essex, and sinks it.  Later, when the men are stranded in their smaller whale boats, the great white whale follows the men and attacks them again.

I like to compare this great white whale to the Catholic Church in Dickinson, the great evil beast.

Then, the men end up cannibalizing each other.  This same thing is going to happen in Dickinson when all the businesses close, and there is no money in Dickinson, the people here will begin cannibalizing each other.

Only Seven Jobs Posted This Week On North Dakota Job Services In Dickinson

On Friday April 21, I received a comment to one of my blog posts from a 31 year old local woman in Dickinson, North Dakota.  This woman was from a local family that had lived in Dickinson for several generations.  She had graduated from the private Catholic Trinity High School in Dickinson.  She later married a man who came to Dickinson from out of state to work here during the oil boom, and she later became divorced from him, though he still lives here in Dickinson.

I could not find a woman who is a more perfect representation of local women in Dickinson, coming from a family who has lived here for several generations, being Catholic, and having graduated from Trinity High School, and making the comment, “The oilfield is not dying it’s picking up.  Companies can’t find enough workers to fill all the open positions.”

No matter how many articles I write exposing the lies and misinformation in Dickinson, North Dakota, that are spread in attempt to lure people here to take advantage of them, the local people persist in spreading these lies and misinformation.  “This oil boom is going to last for the next twenty years.”  “Everyone is making $100,000 per year in the oil field.”  And, “The oilfield is not dying it’s picking up.  Companies can’t find enough workers to fill all the open positions.”

This week in Dickinson, North Dakota, for the entire week, from Friday of last week to the end of the day on Friday of this week, North Dakota Job Services posted a total of seven new jobs this week.  Seven new jobs!  For the entire week!

April is the busiest time of the year in Dickinson for new employment.  Dickinson goes through a cold and snowy winter where a lot of outdoor work is postponed, and then there is a rush in April to hire workers for companies to get their work done in the Spring and Summer.  In 2011 through 2013 in Dickinson, during the spring, there were typically thirty to forty new jobs posted each week on North Dakota Job Services.  Then in 2014 through 2015, there were typically twenty to thirty new jobs posted each week on North Dakota Job Services.  This week there were seven!  A huge drop in new job postings!

It wasn’t just North Dakota Job Services in Dickinson.  For the month of April 2017, for the entire month up until April 21 on the website CareerBuilder, there were only five new jobs posted for Dickinson, if you don’t include enlisting in the National Guard.  Only five new jobs, for the entire month of April, on CareerBuilder for Dickinson!

Several years ago on the website CareerBuilder for Dickinson, North Dakota, there would have been approximately one hundred new jobs posted during the month of April.  For most towns the size of Dickinson not any where near the oil field, these towns probably had more new jobs posted in April than Dickinson’s five new job postings.

The local Catholic people here keep lying to everyone to try to get them to come to Dickinson, North Dakota so that they can rip them off on housing, and try to take advantage of them with their evil schemes and plans.  But people will quit coming once they find out that there are no jobs in Dickinson.

The businesses here in Dickinson will begin closing, one after another.  The commercial warehouses and industrial buildings will become vacant.  People will abandon their homes in order to get out of Dickinson.  Then the Catholics will begin killing each other and practicing cannibalism.  They will all get what is coming to them.

Don’t worry about me, I will leave before the cannibalism starts.

How Excessive Land Greed Has Hurt Dickinson For Ever

I wrote about “Causes And Effects Of Excessive Land Greed In Dickinson, North Dakota” in my previous two blog posts.  In many other blog posts, I have described and explained the extremely high cost of housing in western North Dakota and Dickinson that occurred during the Oil Boom from 2007 through 2014.

Both in their behavior and in their actual statements, many business owners, merchants, land owners, home owners, real estate agents, and property developers indicated that they believed the Oil Boom would continue for much longer than it did.  This belief seemed to inspire high pricing:  If you want some place to live, you better take this, the prices are only going up;  If you want some place to live, you better take this, soon there won’t be any place left;  If you want to make this money here, you better take this, it will be worth it in the long run.

The out of state workers paid very high prices for housing because they had no choice, they believed they had to take what they could get before prices went up more or somebody else took it, and they believed with a high amount of pay it would be worth it in the long run.  The out of state workers and the out of state companies hated the extremely high housing prices.  They became aware that prior to the Oil Boom, the one bedroom apartment they were now renting for $1,800 per month, had been $400 per month.  The old three bedroom house that they were now renting for $3,000 per month, had been $600 per month.

The out of state workers and out of state companies felt like they were being gouged and taken advantage of.  They felt like if they were willing to leave their homes, families, and friends and travel all this way to work in a cold and barren environment, that that overtime pay should go in their pocket, pay off all of their debts, or build their savings, not go to their local landlord, who was not making any kind of sacrifice or facing any hardship.  This bad feeling about being gouged made both the out of state workers and out of state companies have bad feelings about working in Dickinson.

But forget about bad feelings about working in Dickinson, the reality was that workers were paying $1,800 per month for a one bedroom apartment, or $3,000 per month for an old three bedroom house.  The out of state workers and out of state companies knew all along that they could never afford to stay in Dickinson if the high paying work went away.

But it did not have to be this way.  There are hundreds of miles of barren, desolate, vacant, unoccupied grass lands stretching in every direction outside of Dickinson.  More vacant unoccupied land than almost any other place in the United States.  In other states, I have seen 1\4 acre lots in completed developments for $25,000.  To put a new manufactured home on one of these lots would have cost an additional $80,000 to $100,000.  To put a conventional home on one of these lots would have cost an additional $125,000 to $150,000.  These types of new homes would have had mortgages of less than $1,500 per month.

Everything could have turned out differently for Dickinson, North Dakota.  If Dickinson would have had new manufactured homes or new conventional homes with mortgages of $2,000 per month, thousands of skilled workers and trades people would have made Dickinson their permanent home, and out of state companies would have relocated operations here.

The truck drivers, welders, pipe fitters, heavy equipment operators, plumbers, and electricians, they are always having to travel out of state to work on big projects, no matter where they live.  If they would have come to Dickinson, expecting that they were going to be here for at least several years, they would have happily and gladly bought a home for $2,000 per month.  They had the income and job security to do it, and they would be owning something.  They wouldn’t have had any hesitation, if the oil field work went away, they could work other big projects in other states, they always had.

If Dickinson had had these new affordable homes, many trades people would have been able to pay them off in ten years if they had a wife who also worked, or room mates.  There could have been vast neighborhoods of new homes with so much equity in them, that the owners were not about to walk away from them or fail to pay their property taxes.  The workers would have had more disposable income and a place to park boats, motorcycles, ATVs, snow mobiles, and campers. Once workers get equity in a home, all the toys they want, their wife and kids, they are stuck, that is their home.  If money problems come up, then the worker has to travel out of state and send money back home.

I don’t know if any one in Dickinson ever realized, that the excessive land greed in Dickinson, where land owners would not sell vacant grass land for less than $100,000 per acre, resulted in and will result in Dickinson losing most of its workers, and causing land to be worth about $1,000 per acre because no one wants to live here.  You’ll see.

Economic Information for Dickinson, North Dakota

In several of my recent blog posts, I mentioned where I got some of my information to explain the current economic situation in Dickinson, North Dakota.  I think that my best source was the website titled “A Brief History of Oil Production in North Dakota”, because this site did not present the website creator’s opinion, instead it was a collection of newspaper articles from North Dakota newspapers going back sixty-five years that recorded events after they had just happened.  Another good source that I found was an article submitted by “Oilman2” to the website “RuralPioneer”, that explained among other things, that North Dakota oil is relatively difficult and expensive to extract, it requires deep drilling, horizontal drilling, fracturing, and can only be produced when the price of oil is high.  The first source that I mentioned above, clearly showed that there had been a boom-to-bust cycle in North Dakota in the 1950s, and the 1970s, it gave all the reasons why, what the growth was like, and what the decline was like.  The second source that I mentioned above, explained why there is always a boom-to-bust cycle whenever and wherever oil production occurs.

The two sources of information that I mentioned above, gave information that did not lead to a good economic outlook for western North Dakota.  In many of my earlier blog posts, I based some of what I wrote on information contained in the “Dickinson Press” newspaper, “The Drill” newspaper, and “The Bakken” magazine.  Though the information in these three publications has been accurate, these publications have most often tried to not say anything too negative, because they rely on revenue from advertisement sales, and they have tried to be a supporter of the western North Dakota economy.  All the businesses and business owners in western North Dakota thought that the best thing for them to do, was to keep a positive outlook going.

In my writing, I wanted to tell what I saw going on.  I got some of my facts from the two newspapers and the magazine mentioned above, but I tried to make an independent conclusion.  I discussed my thoughts on what was happening, with other people in Dickinson, many of them were long time residents of Dickinson, some had lived and worked in other states.  My goal was to provide useful and truthful information about what living in Dickinson, North Dakota was like.

In some of my recent reading, I found an economic forecaster named William Bonner, who founded a company named Agora Inc.  William Bonner founded Agora Inc. in Baltimore, Maryland in 1978.  His company does economic research and forecasting, and their findings are presented in a newsletter that is provided to 2.4 million paid subscribers.  Supposedly, his newsletter is read by more people than the Wall Street Journal.  His writing is very clear, direct, to-the-point, and unambiguous.

I have a lot of time to read because I am not busy in my two jobs in Dickinson right now.  I need to get a third job because the economy is so slow in Dickinson now.  In reading William Bonner’s forecasts recently, I found something which I believe is very important, that William Bonner is very emphatic about.  He explains in much more detail than I can repeat in this post, that there was very nearly a sudden catastrophic economic collapse in the United States in the past ten years that some very high level people knew about, that 99% of people never knew about.  There is no benefit to William Bonner in explaining it, he just believes that people should know about it, it may be inevitable that it will happen again.

As brief as possible:  All U.S. banks have lent out money in the form of loans, mortgages, and credit cards.  On banking records, individuals and businesses owe billions of dollars to the banks due to loans, mortgages, and credit card debt.  Banks have deposit holders who have placed money in the banks and have bank accounts.  We have all probably been told and have heard, that if all the deposit holders showed up at a bank on the same day and wanted to take all of their money out, they couldn’t, because it is not all there, it has been loaned out.

Before you jump to any conclusions about what I am going to say next, don’t jump to a conclusion yet, because I am not going to talk about a “bank run”, where everybody panics and runs to the bank at the same time to get their money out and it is not all there.  I am going to explain a different type of United States bank failure that nearly happened, that did not involve a “bank run”.

William Bonner writes, I believe that he said it was 2008, that some people, and some large deposit holders, were uneasy, and believed that they needed to get their cash money out of the banks, and they did.  On a particular day, the individual banks, the United States government, and the Federal Reserve realized that there was not enough actual cash on hand in the banks to complete all the pending transactions.  There was not a run on the banks, the banks were not insolvent, there was not a panic, the banks just did not have enough cash on hand to complete all the pending transactions.  99% of people never knew that this happened on a particular date in 2008.  William Bonner said that due to the emergency, the government had to make billions of dollars of cash available to the banks.  ( I don’t know if this was freshly printed money, or if there was cash held in reserve somewhere.)  A few government and Federal Reserve officials have commented and made statements about this incident, a few years after it happened, acknowledging that on a particular day, the United States nearly had a catastrophic banking failure.

What almost happened, was that people who were at the banks presenting any kind of check, business, personal, or government, they would not have been able to cash them.  Deposit checks into accounts, yes, get cash back, no.  ATM machines would have run out of cash within a day.  Many individuals and businesses would have had difficulty conducting transactions.  Once word spread that many people were unable to get cash at the bank or ATMs, panic and looting probably would have occurred.  Once stores and businesses are looted, they do not re-stock or re-open until order is restored.  The United States would have been in chaos.

To be clear about what happened, if most of the individuals and businesses with loans, mortgages, and credit card debt continued to make their monthly payments to the banks, and individuals and businesses continued to make deposits to their accounts in banks, there would have been enough cash money on hand for some individuals and some businesses to take cash out.  There would have been enough cash on hand at the banks to stock the local ATM machines.  However, there was a trend and a suspicion that the banks were not a good place for money at that time, some individuals and some large deposit holders made cash withdrawals to remove all of their money, and there became a cash shortage in the banking system.  There was not enough physical cash on hand in the banking system to continue making normal, day-to-day transactions.

William Bonner explained that there were several reasons why there became such a shortage of physical cash in the banking system.  Across the United States, many individuals were hoarding large amounts of cash at their homes or in safety deposit boxes. Individuals and businesses had moved actual physical cash dollars to locations overseas.  I will add here, that drug cartels in Mexico probably had billions of dollars in actual physical cash, probably so did China.

If there would have been some type of authoritarian referee at every bank in every town, that could have forced some people who were hoarding cash at home to make their business loan payment or mortgage payment in cash not check, and also not allow account holders to withdraw all of their money in cash at that time, there would have been enough cash on hand in the banking system to continue making all the normal day-to-day transactions.  But there is no such referee, the physical cash shortage can happen again, it probably will.

In addition to writing about the low price of oil, and how this affects the economy in North Dakota, I wanted to explain another mechanism that could cause an economic collapse.  It is believed that as the economy in the United States continues to decline for a variety of reasons, as people become more fearful, a trend to remove cash from banks could cause there to be a shortage of cash on hand at banks and cause them to be unable to function.







More About The Dickinson Mafia

The first time that I wrote about the Dickinson Mafia was in my previous post, “The Dickinson Mafia”.  I stated that the Dickinson Mafia was a group of local business owners and city leaders that had decided among themselves what they envisioned for Dickinson, that they tell themselves and each other that what they want is for the betterment of Dickinson, and in the best interest of its citizens, but what they want happens to coincide with making themselves richer, controlling citizens for their benefit, and helping them maintain power.

In my previous post I gave two examples of the endeavors of the Dickinson Mafia.  Business owners can join the Chamber of Commerce to express their views about what they see for the future, and try to get other business owners to share their view.  Business owners can express their views at City Commission/Council/Zoning meetings.  They can write Letters To The Editor of the “Dickinson Press” expressing their opinions on issues.  They can join the Golf Club, the Eagles Lodge, or the Elks Lodge in order to talk to other business owners and community leaders about their ideas.  In my opinion, when business men want to get things done in a more unseen way, they join the Masonic Lodge.  The Masonic Lodge holds their meetings in private, and they do not publicize who their members are, the rank of their members, and what things they discuss.  The Masonic Lodge is very similar to the “Good-Old-Boy Network”.

Like the “Good-Old-Boy Network” in the South, a newcomer to a city who starts a construction business might be clueless as to why he seems to be having so much trouble, with everything.  The newcomer who started a construction company might know why he is having so much trouble if he knew that his main competitor is the Grand Master of the local Masonic Lodge, and that the lumber company owner, the concrete company owner, the building inspector, the city engineer, the mayor, and the chief of police are also members of the local Masonic Lodge.  Though the Masons publicly claim that this is not the case, their primary purpose and reason for existence is to have an organization of men that secretly gain power and control, and then exert their power and control.  Men that are mayors, chiefs of police, bank presidents, attorneys, real estate agents, and insurance agents do obtain information that is private and confidential, to share some information would be a violation of ethics and illegal, however this information is shared among Masons to allow financial gain, business opportunity, and to undermine, control, and manipulate others.  In the case of the Dickinson Mafia, I do not know yet whether they ever worked within the local Masonic Lodge.  It appears to me that the Dickinson Mafia is able to achieve the same things on its own: having people gain positions of power, using that power to further enrich themselves, using their money to further increase their power, using their money, power, and influence to control what is done in Dickinson, and to control people in Dickinson.  The people in Dickinson are somewhat aware that this is being done.  They think it and they feel it, but they are not always able or willing to verbalize how they are controlled by some of the wealthy business owners in Dickinson.

The way that the Dickinson Mafia want Dickinson to be, is that they want to have mechanisms of control in place so that they can control what is going on in Dickinson during the oil booms that come and go, so that they can also have control when the oil booms go away.  It does not matter where you are from, have you ever seen more vacant barren land anywhere than what there is outside of Dickinson?  There is vacant undeveloped land as far as you can see, and beyond as far as you can see.  There is no scarcity of vacant land.  The cost of housing in Dickinson, and the shortage of housing in Dickinson is something that the Dickinson Mafia want.  Though quick, affordable housing was something that was needed starting back in 2010, the Dickinson Mafia didn’t want that.  They didn’t want out-of-state workers to come here, make a lot of money, send money back home, pay off their houses back home, get ahead financially, the Dickinson Mafia wanted the out-of-state workers to be taken advantage of, just like they have been taking advantage of the workers in their own businesses for the last thirty years.

One more thing, if you try to look up the “Dickinson Mafia” on the internet, the first six results of your search are an exact match for “Dickinson Mafia”.  You can go and look at each of these six matching websites, web addresses, or links, and they really don’t contain any content that is relevant to an entity or activity that would or could be called “Dickinson Mafia”.  It is like someone had the expectation that people would be trying to find out information about the “Dickinson Mafia” and they wanted to make sure that your internet search would be sure to turn up their six websites, that contain no information on the Dickinson Mafia.  That is one way to try to keep people from knowing about the Dickinson Mafia.

Oil Field Speculation in Dickinson, Part I

I arrived in Dickinson, North Dakota, in May of 2011, stayed for eight months, then came back in May of 2013, and have been here since.  I have become friends or acquaintances of several long time residents who are now in their 60s, “DS”, “IB”, and “CL”.  I have to use these initials to protect their identities.  Each of these individuals had business and social dealings with each other, so I have been able to cross check what each of them has told me.

In approximately the mid 1980s, there was an oil boom in Dickinson.  Many local people were making a great deal of money.  “CL” was about thirty years old, and at this time he bought a new truck, a new car, and a manufactured home in a twelve month period.  His friends and acquaintances did the same thing.  Within a few years, “CL” had to move back in with his parents, and had to go to work at a grocery store, because that was the only job he could get.  The same thing happened to his friends, they went from having their own homes and new cars, to living in apartments and driving beaters.  The oil field jobs went away, and it was hard to find even a low paying job in Dickinson.

Within a couple of years of the oil field jobs going away, property prices had fallen tremendously in Dickinson.  “IB” and a business partner were able to scrape enough money together to buy some warehouses on several acres of land for about $6,000 each, even though it was very hard to earn money in Dickinson at that time.  “IB” and his business partner had worked in the oil field and they strongly believed that eventually the oil drilling would have to come back to Dickinson.  “DS” was about forty years old, and he was able to buy 30 acres of land that nobody wanted for about $20,000.

When I got here in 2011, “IB” and his business partner were getting about $30,000  per month in rent from the different warehouse buildings that they had bought, I was told.  Once I found out which warehouse buildings they were, and what they were charging for rent, that dollar amount was approximately correct.  “DS” had his property for sale for about $3 million.

Both “IB” and “DS” were stressed individuals.  They had had to go through a lot to buy their properties when money was scarce, and hold onto their properties through bad economic times, over about twenty years.  Nobody knew when or if the oil drilling would come back.  If it would have been a sure thing, real estate prices would not have gone down, and everybody would have bought property.

Rather than this being a lesson in investment, I want this to be a warning.  The oil drilling came to Dickinson in the past, everybody was making money for a few years, and then the oil drilling went away, leaving many people broke.  Many people spent the money they had made very quickly because they thought that their jobs would last longer than they did, and that they would have the chance to pay off everything that was bought on credit: cars, motorcycles, boats, homes.  Keep in mind also that real estate prices dropped tremendously within a few years.  There were very few jobs in Dickinson then, and the jobs were low pay.  Do not fail to understand the lessons of the past, please try to remember what has happened before and plan accordingly.