Former Faribault Brewer Getting Public Financing in St. Paul
Former F-Town Brewery operator Travis Temke left the City of Faribault and Rice County in 2018 after his M.O.E. Craft Company agreed to pay a settlement. The settlement was negotiated by the Rice County attorney's office. It was never paid.
Now, according to the Star Tribune Temke is slated to receive public financing from St. Paul for the purchase of the city's oldest former fire station. Temke wants to restore the building and open a taproom. $695,000 in public financing is being used.
The sale is scheduled for completion Monday.
In April 2018 the Rice County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted not to amend a loan agreement with F-Town, actually M.O.E. Craft Company LLC. Temke told Commissioners the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, City of Faribault and Faribault Industrial Corporation loans had all been renegotiated. He was planning to leave the community and go to St. Paul after about three years operating F-Town Brewery. The Faribault Economic Development Authority loan was for $75,000.
The vote came following a presentation before the County Board meeting as the Rice County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) Board. County Commissioner Jeff Docken made the motion following a closed door session with the county attorney to discuss possible litigation. Docken moved to deny the amended loan agreement and, "Authorize HRA to take whatever means necessary to collect the debt." Commisioner Jake Gillen seconded the motion.
HRA Executive Director Joy Watson outlined specifics of the requested agreement.
After Temke asked commissioners if by any means necessary included litigation Rice County Attorney John Fossum said it would not be the place to start but could be a means of "last resort."
The original loan papers were signed in August of 2014 and M.O.E. Company President Temke repeatedly told Commissioners moving to St. Paul and amending the loan would be the best way for the company to be able to repay the debt.
Temke said that $50,000 loan was for F-Town brewing equipment. Commissioner Jake GiIlen told Temke , "That equipment is going, as far as we're concerned, the board is concerned here, is going to stay in Faribault."
Temke said, "No." Gillen responded, "No. But when you get to the point that you're going to move that equipment out of Faribault there is going to have to be, I think at that time, our negotiations are going to be over. When you take that equipment out of Rice County I think we expect to be paid for it at that time."
The loan included a 3 percent interest rate.
In May of 2019 the commissioners "reluctantly agreed" to pass a motion writing off debt owed by the former F-Town brewery. HRA Executive Director Watson reminded commissioners in November 2018 they authorized the county attorney's office to negotiate a settlement.
The settlement called for the payment of $14,500 of the $50,000 loan Watson explained, "If they paid it in full by December 31, 2018. As you know that did not happen. The county attorney's office did file suit based on your authorization of that to collect that debt through the district court. On March 1, 2019 the suit was dismissed because that debt was uncollectable. There was nothing as far as collateral that could be gained by that, so that suit was dropped."
The City of Faribault also wrote off debt after F-Town was liquidated following about 3 years of operation in Faribault.
The Star Tribune article is very thorough and states, "St. Paul officials say they are aware of Temke's previous financial troubles, but that this new venture has no involvement with F-Town Brewing or it's debt."