Ramsey council memeber charged with felony embezzlement

  • Article by: PAUL LEVY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 14, 2011 - 11:12 PM

David Elvig denies accusations that he embezzled money from his employees' benefit plans for business expenses.

Ramsey City Council Member David Elvig, who allegedly owes a state-high $649,000 in unpaid sales tax, has been accused of embezzlement and charged with two counts of felony theft in connection with his custom furniture and cabinet business.

Elvig, 51, whose business was shut down by state order after its sales-tax permit was revoked in February, is accused of embezzling $19,596.83 from his employees' 401(k) and group health and dental plans, from April 23, 2009, to Jan. 14, 2010.

"Am I guilty of anything? Of course not," Elvig said Wednesday when asked whether he planned to remain on the Ramsey council. "I've never been accused of anything like this before."

According to court documents, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits and Security Administration found that Elvig kept contributions intended for E-Street Maker's employee benefit plans. Those funds were instead used to pay business expenses, the charges allege.

He declined to comment about the charges. But Elvig, who was declined a public defender and who represented himself in a Sept. 8 court appearance, did address allegations by the Minnesota Department of Revenue regarding the sales tax issue.

"The Department of Revenue has offered me a substantially different perspective after they reviewed my case," he said.

Still, according to the department's latest figures, E-Street Makers still tops the list of revoked sales-tax licenses, with $648,928.90 owed.

Elvig's legal ordeal is the latest in a tumultuous year for the Ramsey council. Council Member Jeff Wise is expected to begin a jail sentence in November after being convicted in May of misdemeanor fifth-degree assault from an incident last November. He was accused of hitting a woman in the head three times after an argument over her smoking in a car. He told the Star Tribune in July that "I should not have done what I did," but said he acted in self-defense.

Another council member, David Jeffrey, resigned his seat on May 31 to undergo chemotherapy to fight pancreatic cancer. He has since been replaced, through a special election, by Sarah Strommen, who had served previously on the council.

Paul Levy • 612-673-4419

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