Frequently Asked Questions

                                                 
 
 Frequently Asked Questions #1

“How much money is Crow Wing Power Management Making?”
 
Despite the fact that Crow Wing Power is a non-profit co-operative with requirements to share that information with members, that question can’t be answered completely.  This is one of the reasons why we support a forensic audit. 

What we  know:

Reported compensation information
Based on information reported on required non-profit tax forms: 
https://www.cwpaccountabilitygroup.com/links

CEO Bruce Kraemer was paid $343,318, with benefits adding another $29,917 for a total compensation amount of $373,235. 
  • CFO Steve Smolke was paid $203, 974, with benefits adding another $28, 186 for a total compensation amount of $232,160.
  • COO Eric Quale was paid $153,099, with benefits adding another $35,201 for a total compensation amount of $188,300. 
  • Public Relations Manager Char Kinzer was paid $168, 854, with benefits adding another $18,732 for a total compensation amount of $187,586. 
  • Board Member pay varied, with a maximum of $15,640 (Gert Roggenkamp).
We believe that CWP executive pay is the highest of any Co-op in the state-- and not in line with expectations for a non-profit organization.  CEO Kraemer alone has taken in over 1 million dollars in the last three years. 

Board member pay varies by member from year to year, but we believe it is reasonable and in line with other non-profit board compensation.

Unreported concerns:
  • The 1.9 million dollars CWP finally acknowledged that Bruce Kraemer took from the Hunt Technologies sale is NOT listed on the following year non-profit tax return.  In fact in that year CWP did not file a non-profit tax return.  They filed a standard corporate tax return that year and have NOT made that return public. 
     
  • The $70,000 that 7 out of 9 board members took from the Hunt Sale is not noted on tax returns either.  
  • Last year we became aware that CEO Kramer and two other executives have a royalty agreement in place regarding the Emily Mine.  If the mine is developed, we estimate that agreement will pay each of them millions more over the years.  CEO Kraemer has publically stated that royalty agreement is not in effect.  Other signers of the contract involved have disputed that—that agreement has NOT been officially revoked.  
  • It appears that CWP executives have deliberately attempted to separate out business they declare “for-profit” from the business specific to electric utility work which they declare as non-profit. 
 
Despite publically telling members it all is being managed for our benefit, the “for-profit” side is enriching executives with money that should be used to reduce our energy costs or be returned to us in the form of capitol credits.
 
We believe a forensic audit would expose this abuse, but so far CWP executives and the board have refused to approve such an audit.

Check out our Links page for more details: 

https://www.cwpaccountabilitygroup.com/links?utm_source=mailchimp&utm_campaign=03005393e1f0&utm_medium=page
 
Frequently Asked Questions #2


Crow Wing Power & Hunt Technologies

 

The current public position by Crow Wing Power management regarding what happened in their role with Hunt Technologies is a simple one that gives great credit to CWP management.  
 

The reality is more complex and less flattering; it involves personal enrichment of CWP executives and most CWP board members--and there are still many unanswered questions!  
 

Hunt Technologies was formed in the mid-1980s by the Hunt Family in Pequot Lakes.  They produced remote meter reading technology that was very successful. The company grew rapidly until a combination of equipment issues and Y2K related problems led to a shortage of operating capital.  
 

In an effort to look for investors or buyers, Hunt eventually approached Crow Wing Power to assist in raising capital.  In 2000, CWP entered into an agreement with Hunt to help raise money and co-sign Hunt’s operation loan. In exchange for doing so, CWP was granted a slight majority in ownership and executive management control. 
 

CWP executives were not able to raise money as was required by their agreement with Hunt.  Due to this failure, the Hunt Family began efforts to sever their agreement with CWP unless CWP provided the money they had agreed to raise for Hunt.  
 

One effort to find a potential partner was a success, but the offer was not accepted by CWP management due to concerns CWP’s stake in Hunt might not be valued appropriately.  This led to an offer from the Bayard group to buy Hunt outright, which was eventually approved. 
 

Details:

  • The announced price for the sale of Hunt was $129 million dollars; our group has obtained credible insider information that the actual sale value may have been $150 million dollars. 

  •  Crow Wing Power has told us it received 42 million dollars in the $129 million dollar sale—that’s less than ½ of the reported sale value when we know Crow Wing Power had a majority ownership position.  Was more money given to Crow Wing Power than publicly announced?  
  • Also, if it in fact was a 150 million dollar sale that was reported as 129 million, what happened to the $21 million dollar difference?   

  •  We understand Hunt had been split into two companies before the sale; one for meters and the other for processing of data.  We understand both were sold but have not seen a breakdown of price or where the money went.   
  • Announced distribution of money from that sale:

    • $5.2 million dollars was sunk back into Co-op operations;

    • Approximately $12 million was split up and distributed back out to the 30,000+ members of the Co-op (most members received a few hundred dollars or less);

    • The biggest announced portion of profit—a reported $24.8 million dollars—was used to purchase a potential manganese mining operation near Emily. 

  •   Following persistent rumors and questions regarding CWP executives and board members personally profiting from the Hunt sale, in early spring of 2019 CWP admitted that 7 out of the 9 board members present at the time of the sale of Hunt Technologies took $70,000 apiece  link: https://www.startribune.com/undisclosed-70-000-payments-to-crow-wing-power-directors-come-under-scrutiny/509029892/
 
    • Note:  Two of those Members—Gert Roggenkamp and Bob Kangas—are still on the board.  Gert is up for election this year.  

    • Two other members still on the Board—Dwight Thiesse and Gordon Martin—did not take the money.  But they did help keep news of the payment from members for 13 years. Dwight is up for election this year.   

 
  • In June of 2019—just one day before the annual meeting and after the vast majority of members had already voted in the board member election—CWP took out a full page ad in the Brainerd Dispatch: https://www.cwpower.com/letter-our-members  acknowledging that CEO Bruce Kraemer personally pocketed 1.9 million dollars in the Hunt sale.  Link: https://www.startribune.com/ceo-s-bonus-sparks-anger-in-crow-wing-power-members/511024201/

  • Official CWP power response to criticism that these hidden personal payments to Board Members and executives conflicted with CWP‘s non-profit by-laws was that they “deserved” them.  

  •  A Non-disclosure agreement was blamed for not telling members about this compensation earlier.  CWP management says such agreements are typical—they are not, especially for non-profits like CWP.  Even with that--the sale occurred in 2006. The non-disclosure agreement expired LONG before the spring of 2019 when payments were finally disclosed!
  • In response to questions at the 2019 annual meeting regarding transparency in executive compensation, members were told that compensation information can be found in the publicly available tax returns CWP files each year.  Checking up on that assurance told a different story:

    • Crow Wing Power did not file a non-profit tax return in the year of the Hunt Sale.  

    • We were able to discover that Crow Wing Power filed a corporate tax return in the year of the Hunt Sale. 

    • When a Co-op member asked for a copy of that tax return, CWP refused to provide a copy. 

    • That member was eventually allowed to see a copy of the tax return, but only after board approval and conditions:

      • portions were redacted;

      • no pictures of the return could be taken;

      • No notes could be taken while viewing the return.   

      • One board member—Gert Roggenkamp—voted against allowing the Co-op member being allowed to see the tax return. 

 
    • The tax return filed for the year of the Hunt Sale made no mention of the $1.9 Million dollars CEO Kraemer took.  

    • The tax return filed for the year of the Hunt sale also made no mention of the $70,000 that 7 out of 9 board members took.   Executive compensation was noted to be less than the year prior and the year following the Hunt Sale.  

 






















































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CWP Accountability Group
13021 Evergreen Drive
Baxter, MN 56425

Email: CWPAcctGroup@gmail.com