NU councilor investigated for impeding underage-drinking case

NEW ULM – A New Ulm City Council member was investigated by authorities this past summer – accused of impeding an underage-drinking case, according to a report Wednesday from KEYC-TV.

Les Schultz, who is director of the Brown County Probation Department, wasn’t charged criminally.

The incident occurred on July 20, during Bavarian Blast. Two 19-year-olds visiting from Germany, Shearif Bydekarken and Felix Mehrens, were drinking alcohol at the festival. Somehow they had received the required “21 and older” wristbands.

They were issued citations. Bydekarken and Mehrens were staying with Schultz during their visit to New Ulm.

According to a Brown County Sheriff’s Office investigative report, retired state trooper Kevin Guggisberg, who was working security for the event, received information that both Bydekarken and Mehrens were underage. So Guggisberg approached Les Schultz, according to the KEYC report.

“Reading the reports that they provided, he (Schultz) had told Kevin Guggisberg, who is the retired state trooper, that they were 21, and one of them had just turned 22,” Cmdr. Dave Borchert of the New Ulm Police Department told KEYC.

But according to the birth dates on their citations, both Mehrens and Bydekarken were 19-years-old at the time.

To avoid a potential conflict-of-interest, New Ulm brought in a detective with the City of Marshall to investigate. The detective concluded there was no evidence supporting the fact that Les Schultz purchased the “over 21” wristbands for the Germans.

The investigator also said there is no proof that Schultz bought alcohol for the 19-year-olds, but an Obstruction of Legal Process charge might be brought, the report said.

To prevent a conflict of interest, the information was forwarded to the Blue Earth County Attorney’s Office for possible charges. Assistant County Attorney Steve Kelm concluded Schultz’s actions didn’t warrant prosecution.

The City of Marshall billed New Ulm approximately $1,900 for the investigation, KEYC reported.

Schultz released a statement on the issue saying: “I am surprised that KEYC would run this story. This festival was filled with loud music, chatter and libations. What was said by whom and to whom is always a debatable topic. I strongly oppose underage drinking and have worked hard in my career to support policies on this concern.”

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