Mid-Central Rents GEAR UP Storage Unit in Rapid City; No One in Office Knows What’s Inside

From December 2012 to September 2015, Mid-Central Education Cooperative paid Outback Storage in Rapid City $105 monthly rent for storage of GEAR UP items and trailer parking. Following the deaths of business managers and now accused embezzlers Scott and Nicole Westerhuis last September, MCEC disbursed another $220 to Outback Storage in December 2015. At their April 2016 meeting, the MCEC board voted to withhold payment of a $335 bill from Outback Storage for the GEAR UP storage unit.

Now MCEC interim director Bob Krietlow (who is being paid $425 a day, per the contract approved in April) plans to drive out to Rapid City to find out just what’s inside that storage unit:

During a regular meeting of the Mid-Central governing board held Thursday in Platte, Interim Director Bob Krietlow said he’s planning a trip to Rapid City, where the shed is located, next week to seek GEAR UP answers.

He said the storage shed may contain GEAR UP supplies or Mid-Central paperwork, but no one with knowledge of its contents has been inside of it.

The shed is under new ownership, so Krietlow plans to meet the owner Wednesday for entrance.

“We’re looking at … seeing what’s actually in that shed because nobody really seems to know,” Krietlow said [Jake Shama, “Mysterious Storage Shed May Hold GEAR UP Answers,” Mitchell Daily Republic, 2016.05.12].

Given this notice that the boss is coming, Outback Storage (or whoever owns that shed now) might want to keep a close eye on the surveillance tapes this weekend to make sure no one else brings a key to that unit and hauls anything out.

24 Responses to Mid-Central Rents GEAR UP Storage Unit in Rapid City; No One in Office Knows What’s Inside

  1. The plots thickens slightly. The obvious question is the content of this storage locker but I wonder why someone would store anything 260 miles away from the office?

  2. mike from iowa

    Whatever became of the Westerhuis safe deposit box someone other than law enforcement said was gonna check the contents of?

  3. How likely is it that this storage shed escaped the attention of AG Marty Jackley whose job is to turn over every stone when rampant fraud and theft were so apparent?

    Jackley does a great job jumping on every Tea Party political gimmick bandwagon. I hope he has the same ardor for his daytime job of protecting our state from criminals and bringing them to justice.

  4. mike from iowa

    A storage unit with trailer parking could SAFEly store a SAFE sized passel of incriminating documents in relative SAFEty with parking for any collaborating trailers that may have hauled SAFEly away from the crime scene any evidence including a SAFE than can’t be SAFELY accounted for.

  5. Nick Nemec

    How in the heck didn’t Attorney General Jackley learn of the existence of this storage unit during his “extensive” investigation of MCEC? Apparently South Dakota’s version of the Keystone Cops is in charge.

  6. Paul Seamans

    Has Geraldo Rivera been alerted to this? Screw Al Capone, I want to know what is in this storage unit.

  7. Roger Cornelius

    Dang Paul, you beat me to that line.

    Storage sheds are also known to hide dead bodies, anybody missing?

  8. mike from iowa

    Lock up yer women before calling Lothari…..Geraldo. That was a good one Paul. :)

  9. owen reitzel

    I’m guessing that there is nothing useful in it.

  10. Paul Seamans

    Roger, if any bodies show up we can blame it on Scott Westerhuis. Case solved

  11. Come on u guys. West river disposes of bodies in refrigerators! (Gallows humor) but i still wanna know if there is a white pickup out here? Seriously, i still don’t doubt jackley’s detectives abilities and i am certain when emplyees in rapid city were summarily fired he knew about this rapid city storage. Be careful though because the rath-of-craig will rain down :) wrath, reign…hep me out? (Sent From bob kerry’s bed)

  12. Mark, when I saw the Outback Storage item on the financial statements, I figured it was logical that the folks running GEAR UP might store classroom and recreational equipment for the summer program in a Rapid City shed. That makes sense. But one would think that folks in the MCEC office would know that. There should be no question about what’s in a shed that their money has been paying for since 2012. If nobody knows the contents, that suggests only people who are gone knew what was in there and did not write it down anywhere… and that suggests a problem.

  13. barry freed

    Something doesn’t make sense. It takes months to lose a storage unit for non-payment, so the April payment must have been the last chance to bring payments to date. The “new owner” comment suggests the unit was sold at auction. The Cooperative doesn’t seem concerned in the least. To save $300 of taxpayer money, they defaulted on a signed contract and let potential evidence fall into the hands of a stranger. That suggests that, like other storage unit renters who let the unit go for auction, they have been through it to remove anything they think to be of value.

    A “real journalist” would call Outback, find the new owner, and arranged for himself or someone in the area to look at that persons new property before the MEC, so he could ascertain for himself, if there is any evidence to be found. It’s their property now, and until a Judge issues and Order, they can show it to whomever they please. Personally, I would charge Mr. Keitlow to look, and charge even more to remove anything. Ever since Storage Wars, units have sold for much more than they are worth and profits for the buyers are rarely seen.

    You still have 3 days, will you seek the truth or just speculate ad nauseam about what might have been in there?

  14. mike from iowa

    Nick-Jackley and others don’t seem to have any intellectual curiosity about crimes which may indicate or indict their cronies.

    Poor historians in the future will go bananas trying to pick any one year of wingnuts behaving badly.

  15. In related news, a white pickup truck was seen leaving the scene of a catastrophic early morning fire at Outback Storage. Officials say no foul play is suspected, owner of pickup was identified and confirmed to be delivering game birds to a local preserve.

  16. Barry, do you think a private business will reveal details about its private contract with a customer?

    And I hardly think I’ve reached the ad nauseam stage of speculation.

  17. barry freed

    Yes, I have done it many times myself. They are not paranoid and emotionally unstable like gun haters, but why try when you can just speculate and whistle up the conspiracy dogs.

  18. Cory is likely right as to what the contents are, but I have to admit my first thought was “I wonder if Westerhuis had some property in the Black Hills”. It sure would be convenient to store a RV and some snowmobiles or ATVs in a storage unit which the company was paying for wouldn’t it?

  19. Well then, let’s see if Outback responds to my e-mail with your spirit of openness.

  20. Barry: “The “new owner” comment suggests the unit was sold at auction.”

    No it doesn’t. The comment was that “[t]he shed is under new ownership”. That suggests the business/property were sold. When a storage unit is auctioned the new owner obtains rights to the CONTENTS… not the shed itself. They are also required to remove the contents from the site typically in a specified timeframe (24-48 hours post-auction).

    There are many legal hoops to jump through before a storage company can auction the contents of a unit. They have to send written notices to the owner at their last known address, they have to advertise the eventual auction in local newspapers for at least two consecutive weeks, and they have to wait a specified amount of time (typically outlined in the original contract) before taking any action.

    With most things related to Mid-Central it sounds like this was poorly managed, but I doubt the contents reside in anyone’s basement quite yet.

  21. Craig, thanks for those details on storage-unit management.

    Barry, so much for openness as a corporate value at Outback Storage: Beth Warden and KSOO called and got no response. But Warden says DCI will be present at the storage unit when Krietlow checks it out.

  22. barry freed

    Yes Craig, thank you for telling us what everybody knows about rental agreements. It adds an air of credibility to your other comments, ignorant and shallow as they might be.

    Outback recently had a delinquent unit sale, not a property sale. It was advertised in the Paper and On Line. Generally, you have 24 hours to have every dust bunny swept up or lose the damage deposit required to buy the unit, but that is at the individual landlords’ discretion as SD is woefully lacking in Renter Protection Statutes. The storage companies routinely make available to the buyers, an assumable lease to encourage the impulse bidder. The paperwork in question most likely went in the dumpster on site that day, as the contents were bought on speculation that there might be valuables in the unit. Boxes of papers have no retail value, so why save them? Why would there still be anything left in the unit for the Gubberment to look at?

    Cory, how is their “openness” my responsibility? I have no affiliation with Outback. Why would you insert me into your mock moral indignation? Openness as a corporate value??? Okay, Roland*… I wouldn’t talk to KSOO or you either if you showed the attitude that I “owed” you something… even if I did see you as “Journalists”. IMHO, Journalists don’t generalize and call names. I can’t picture Charlie Rose calling someone a Ammosexual.

    Outback doesn’t owe KSOO or you any “openness”. Your questions and speculations should be directed at the Government Agency that is responsible for the contents, not the landlord. If we had any Laws protecting renters, there would be an itemized accounting of the contents, subject to FOIA, for you to look at. You don’t even wonder why, in the middle of a criminal investigation, a storage unit full of possible evidence was let go to auction. You don’t why a binding legal obligation (rent contract) by The People of South Dakota, was ended, not by written notice and payment of all monies owed, but by walking away with payment overdue and unpaid like a deadbeat renter who has already high graded the contents and left the trash and used kitty litter box.

    * http://www.larryswanson.com/2008/03/zonkers-lilac-bush/

  23. Seems I struck a nerve barry – I wonder why that is?

  24. Barry, I didn’t say it was your responsibility at all. You raised the question; I thus directed my response at you. Your question seemed to suggest that we ought to ask Outback questions. So I did.

    By the way, still no response from Outback Storage.