State authorities further probe East High School hockey booster club’s finances

A warrant authorized Wednesday is the third in an ongoing probe into the East End Hockey Booster Club that began in June.

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St. Paul — State authorities sought the financial records of the head of an East Duluth hockey booster club as part of an investigation into the club’s finances.

At the request of agents at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, a Ramsey County judge on Wednesday approved a search warrant seeking a bevy of transaction data, balances, monthly statements and other information about the seemingly defunct East End Hockey Booster Club’s account at Capital One bank, as well as the account of its president.

In his application for the warrant, BCA Special Agent Dan Michener claimed it’s clear the booster club paid for some items and helped the district financially, but a lack of receipts and a discrepancy between checks issued by the club president and withdrawals to their personal credit card account lead him to believe funds from the association were not used for their intended purpose.

A search warrant approved in December could mean a report detailing investigators’ findings about longtime coach Mike Randolph becomes public.

Michener said he believes the booster club’s president “improperly benefited” from their position with the club. The News Tribune is not naming the president, or using pronouns that might reveal their identity, unless they’ve been formally charged with a crime.

A new booster club with a different name and different leaders has since been formed.


Wednesday’s warrant is the third in a police probe into the club that started when a former East High School parent alleged to Duluth police in June that he may have been defrauded by the club.

The parent told Ryan Temple, an investigator in the police department’s financial crimes unit, that the club allegedly charged parents for items that are already paid by Duluth Public Schools, and that the club had fallen out of compliance with state and federal regulators.

In December, Temple obtained from the school district a copy of an investigation leaders there had commissioned regarding Mike Randolph, the now-former boys hockey coach at East High School.

Justin Terch, who heads the HR consultancy that conducted the district investigation, told Temple there might be “useful information” pertaining to the Duluth Police Department's investigation in the Randolph report.

Complaints against Randolph prompted the district investigation, but their nature and origin is unclear. The coach resigned his post shortly after that investigation was completed, but before district officials were scheduled to consider potential discipline against him. Because there was no “final” discipline imposed on Randolph, the report is presumably not a public document under Minnesota law.

Duluth East boys hockey coach Mike Randolph resigned from his position and would not take any questions from media members who were present at a news conference Friday.

The Duluth Police Department, wary of a conflict of interest, eventually forwarded its investigation of the booster club to the BCA.

On Feb. 22, a district court judge approved a second warrant, allowing Michener to obtain records from the consultancy that conducted the district’s investigation into Randolph. From the consultants, Michener sought recordings, transcripts and other records regarding the club president, district finance staff, Voyageur Bus Co., the Duluth Heritage Sports Arena and several current and former East hockey parents.

In the application for that warrant, Michener claimed he reviewed the 117-page Randolph report obtained by Duluth police. That report was the result of more than 50 interviews conducted over several months, plus hundreds of pages of documents.


That report, Michener relayed in his application for the February warrant, indicated that the booster club president exercised sole control over the club’s bank account, and excluded other club officers from seeing financial statements.

The warrant filed earlier this week in Ramsey County is the third such court order sought in the probe of the club’s finances. In his application for that warrant, Michener claimed that the consultant the district hired to investigate Randolph “did uncover financial mismanagement that could possible (sic) rise to the level of a crime in Minnesota.”

Michener claimed that the booster club president transferred $104,023 to a Capital One credit card account between 2019 and 2021. He also noted transfers and withdrawals to an “unknown” American Express card and Venmo account.

The club president told school district investigators that the Capital One card was their personal credit card.

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Joe Bowen is an award-winning reporter at the Duluth News Tribune. He covers schools and education across the Northland.

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