A North Dakota man who promoted a 2010 country music festival in Aberdeen admitted Wednesday to a misdemeanor bad check charge.
An attorney for Michael McClain, 51, also known as Michael Greene, entered a guilty plea on McClain's behalf to a count of petty theft by insufficient funds check.
McClain is from Wheatland. Through his company, RTC Productions, he organized Country Jamboree USA at old Swisher Field on Independence Day weekend 2010. The charge against him stems from a $6,708 bill from Rotor Rooter Sewer Service of Aberdeen. Restitution on the bill has since been made, said Gina Rogers, McClain's court-appointed attorney.
Roto Rooter provided portable toilets at the music festival, according to court paperwork.
Originally, McClain was charged with a count of felony grand theft by insufficient funds check. Lori Ehlers, chief deputy state's attorney for Brown County, said she agreed to let McClain plead guilty to a misdemeanor instead, so he could continue to work and repay other unpaid victims in the case. A felony charge would have threatened his radio industry license, Ehlers said.
McClain was sentenced to 30 days in jail and a year on probation. He must pay a $250 fine.
Ehlers said that while there were other bad checks, only the one to Roto Rooter could be charged criminally.
The charge McClain pleaded guilty to is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine. Felony grand theft by insufficient funds check is punishable by as muny as 10 years in state prison and a $20,000 fine.
At least two unresolved civil cases have been filed by Brown County residents against McClain and RTC Promotions. One claims that McClain borrowed $110,000 for the country music festival. The other claims he borrowed $100,000 for the event. In both instances, McClain promised a 35 percent return on the loans, according to court paperwork. McClain hasn't repaid the principle or the 35 percent return, according to the lawsuits.
Country performers JoDee Messina, Jack Ingram, Sara Evans and others were booked for the event, which was hampered by a thunderstorm and poor attendance.