Authorities: Hells Angels' rally warranted increased presence

CLOQUET - Despite complaints to the contrary, the Hells Angels spent money in the Northland during their five-day rally, law enforcement officials said Monday.

Hells Angels
Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad conductor Lynne Hall poses with a pair of Hells Angels on Saturday in Duluth. (Steve Anderson / for the News Tribune)

CLOQUET - Despite complaints to the contrary, the Hells Angels spent money in the Northland during their five-day rally, law enforcement officials said Monday.

"I know people are saying we kept [Hells Angels] from using local businesses," Cloquet Police Chief Wade Lamirande said, "but we know they did -- in purchasing gas, food and equipment and by staying at Black Bear [Casino] and renting Lost Isle. Our officers will also use their overtime pay in our community."

Significant overtime money -- from grants and local taxes -- was paid to law enforcement officers who worked more hours and longer shifts than usual during the past week, Lamirande said.

But some argue the local economy lost possible revenue because many Hells Angels were afraid to move around the area and risk harassment.

Linda Hough of Carlton, the former owner of a Harley-Davidson dealership in Georgia, said she visited with members of the motorcycle group at the Third Base Bar in Carlton on Saturday. "I felt sorry for all of them drinking O'Doul's [a non-alcoholic beverage] because they were scared to have a beer and ride back to Black Bear."


Law enforcement officials maintain that every stop was the result of a traffic violation and that it was part of their strategy to keep negative behavior at bay.

"It's very disheartening to have so many people complain," Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake said. "I have heard people saying, 'Nothing happened, we didn't need you.' But we say nothing happened because we were there."

Tim Rogentine, owner of the Carlton bar-restaurant where the Hells Angels set up headquarters, said Monday he plans to hold a community meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 11 at Lost Isle to discuss what he called heavy-handed law enforcement. He also wants to meet with county commissioners and law enforcement officials.

About 30 Hells Angels rode to Proctor Speedway to watch Friday night's races, and many rode up the North Shore, to the Iron Range and even to Bayfield, Lamirande said.

"They did scatter around the area in small groups, which is what we were hoping they would do," he said.

"They loved the area," Rogentine said. "People coming back from rides said, 'You should have seen Jay Cooke [State Park]. It was beautiful.' Some went fishing; they had a blast."

Meanwhile, business operators released a few more details about how they benefited from the Hells Angels' visit.

At least 200 rooms were booked at Black Bear Casino and Resort in Carlton, according to marketing manager Rocky Wilkinson. He said members doubled up in many of those rooms, and about a dozen were booked for families.


"They were picture-perfect guests," he said. "They tipped well, chatted with other guests. Here they were like a bunch of IBM salesmen."

Plenty of local businesses were used during the group's stay, Rogentine said, including Doucette's Party Rental of Duluth; B&B Market, Cold One Liquor, Sign Pro and Aardvark Septic Pumping, all of Cloquet.

Rogentine said he earned less than $3,000 from the group.

He answered questions Monday about his liquor license, which Carlton County Auditor-Treasurer Paul Gassert said expired last month but was extended until Monday. Rogentine renewed the license on Monday, Gassert said. The Lost Isle owner said the license cost $1,300.

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