This is an open letter to Crow Wing Power Cooperative Board, 38,000 published members and citizens of Crow Wing County.

As a member of the co-op for 30 years and in light of recent Dispatch articles Jan. 13, Jan. 17, Jan. 18, and former Representative Dale Walz's Jan. 25 letter, I submit the following. If there is even a modicum of truth to the articles, I as a member am deeply troubled and concerned that a CEO, president, board members (save one, Bryan McCulloch), co-op attorney could draft, agree to, support and sign an agreement that a royalty for the officers in perpetuity was done. Additionally incriminating is the nondisclosure agreement signed by all board members except Brian McCulloch. A shining example of reason, responsibility and decorum is new board member Paul Koering.

Koering stated in the Jan. 13 Dispatch article, "It's not my understanding, as a board member, that the royalty agreement ended if the borehole mining agreement didn't work. ... I've been on the board 2 1/2 years. This (2008 royalty agreement) happened years ago. With the little bit I know now, I would not have been in favor or sanctioned or endorsed any management getting any royalty agreement. We've always got to remember that this is a co-op. It's owned by the members.".

Kudos to Koering and McCulloch for doing their job. I intend to continue, along with many other members of the co-op, our investigation of this charade and through due process leave no stone unturned. I and many others demand a full and independent complete forensic audit of the co-op and its subsidiaries going back at least 15 years to include all tie-ins and dealings with Cherry Tree Financial.

Gary Bakken

Breezy Point