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U.P. Football All-Star Game organizer sentenced to prison

Todd Goldbeck, the Wisconsin man who has organized the U.P. Football All-Star game since 2008, was sentenced to 366 days in federal prison for committing perjury.

Goldbeck, 46, of Middleton, Wisconsin, was sentenced after committing perjury during a brankruptcy proceeding. The proceeding was about a sports complex Goldbeck was building in Jefferson, Wisconsin.

Goldbeck pled guilty during a combined plea and sentencing hearing Aug. 7. He was sentenced to one year and one day in a federal prison.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Wisconsin said in an Aug. 10 press release that U.S. District Judge William Conley ordered Goldbeck to pay restitution in the amount of $2,466,550.46 to Summit Credit Union.

The complex went over budget and was never completed.

The future of the U.P. Football All-Star Game is not clear, but Goldbeck released a statement last week, saying the future of the game “will continue, with or without me.”

The United States Attorney’s Office Western District of Wisconsin said Goldbeck received a $2.4 million government-backed loan from Summit Credit Union in 2015 to build a sports complex in Jefferson. Summit and the Small Business Administration approved the loan based on documents Goldbeck submitted including a construction contract that estimated the project’s total cost of the building at $2.5 million and a signed lease agreement between Goldbeck and a regional medical center showing the medical center agreed to rent a portion of the completed building.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office press release said after construction began, Goldbeck contacted Summit and requested an additional $2.5 million to finish the project. Goldbeck claimed Summit knew the sports complex was a two-phase project. Goldbeck supported the request with a second construction contract estimating the total cost of the project at about $5 million.

The new loan was not approved and the building was not completed. Summit filed a civil suit against Goldbeck in Dane County Circuit Court and obtained a money judgment of approximately $2.5 million.

After the judgment was entered, Goldbeck filed for bankruptcy in the Western District of Wisconsin. During proceedings, Goldbeck told the bankruptcy trustee, under oath, that Summit knew the building was a two-phase project when they closed the loan. Goldbeck also told the bankruptcy trustee he did not forge the lease with the medical center.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said law enforcement officials obtained documents and emails during a subsequent investigation showing Goldbeck intentionally misrepresented the cost and scope of the project. Law enforcement officials also received sworn affidavits from employees at the medical center stating they never signed a lease agreement with Goldbeck.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the investigation was conducted by the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assitance from the Office of the U.S. Trustee for the Western District of Wisconsin. The press release said the prosecutor for Goldbeck’s case is Assistant U.S. Attorney Chadwick M. Elgersma.

The 13th annual U.P. Football All-Star Game was postponed and was scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 1. It was canceled in mid-July, with Goldbeck citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Goldbeck released the following statement:

“In 2014, I decided to build a sports complex in my hometown of Jefferson, Wisconsin. It was my intent to promote health and wellness throughout the entire community with this new facility. After construction began, costs were more than expected and the lender eventually decided to stop the project before it was completed. Throughout the planning and construction process, there were many people involved and moving parts. Ultimately, when a project such as this fails, it can, and did, come to rest on my shoulders. As the owner, I take full responsibility for its failure, as well as the punishment I was given.

“I apologize to my family, friends and the community in which this facility was to be built. Many relationships have been damaged beyond repair, and for that, I am sorry. Once this sentence has been served, I will move on with my life in a positive way. I will live a life of service, helping as many people as I can in the world with the skills that I have been blessed with. This process has been extremely difficult, but it has reinforced the importance of maintaining resiliency and faith during life’s inevitable trials and tribulations. I am grateful for those people in my life who have stood by me through this.

“For the past 13 years, I have organized the U.P Football All-Star Game. In that time, I have met many wonderful people and developed many new friendships. The game has become an integral part of mine and my family’s life. It was there before, during and after the turmoil. To put it simply, the U.P. Football All-Star Game saved my life. In times of my personal darkness, the people of the U.P., whether they knew it or not, showed me that there is goodness in the world, and that clearer skies were on the horizon. For that, I thank each and every player who has ever participated, as well as every coach, family member, fan and business who supported the game. Your kindness and passion for all things U.P. have provided the fuel to keep me going each year. I have enjoyed every moment.

“The U.P. Football All-Star Game has grown into something that is now part of the U.P. culture, and is much bigger than any one individual, including myself. It will continue, with or without me.”

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