Shawn Kluver of Killdeer appeared in Southwest District Court on three class A felony charges related to activities investigators say began as far back as 2015, when Kluver became connected with Environmental Driven Solutions — a company specializing in hydro-excavation and oilfield services and has a history of spill response and remediation services.

According to court records, Kluver has been charged with exploitation of an eligible adult, theft by deception and theft over $50,000. The most recent arrest and charges are the latest in a series of lawsuits he and the company have levied at one another concerning the funds.

Jeff Bennett, general manager of Environmental Driven Solutions, started auditing the company’s finances following his assuming the position in the summer of 2017.

“It took no more than a day to become absolutely convinced that we had some serious issues,” Bennett said. "A lot of back and forth has happened in the matter and to be honest we’re happy that the new sheriff in Dunn County was willing to do what others before were not by pursuing this matter."

Bennett and company claim that Kluver intentionally and knowingly engaged in actions that deceived the 82-year-old owner of EDS of money through the engagement of multiple schemes, including cashing checks and purchasing assets in the company’s name without authorization.

According to Bennett, the ramifications of Kluver’s actions not only hurt the company financially, but damaged their reputation within the industry.

“We take pride in being environmentally sound and providing the best waste removal services around,” Bennett said. “It burned a lot of bridges.”

State regulators became involved in the dispute in 2016 following noncompliance issues at an oilfield waste treating plant near Killdeer.

Kluver, who became a part-owner in January 2015 and a manager of the company, relinquished his ownership rights according to documents but remained an active employee at EDS. According to the affidavit in the case, Kluver used several bank accounts to “steal and defraud” the business including selling oil through the company while “profiting on the sales” through the use of separate company accounts established.

While Bennett believes that the funds actually stolen by Kluver were “significantly larger” than authorities ultimately charged him with in the matter, he and the company were content with the $5,379,921.63 amount listed in the affidavit and charges.

“It cost us greatly,” Bennett said. “We appreciate all the hard work of all the parties involved and are happy that we can clear our name of some of the less scrupulous endeavors Mr. Kluver undertook in the name of the company.”

Bennett said that while he hoped that EDS would be given an opportunity to improve its reputation on the merits of its current employees and quality of work, an industry as small as the oilfield cleanup one could leave EDS scrambling to mend reputations for months or years.

“For us our priority remains to improve the image of EDS, which was seriously damaged by a rogue employee who will now face the justice system for his actions,” Bennett said. “We hope that we can recover even a portion of the damages caused, but are more concerned with mending our relations with other companies, contractors, auctions and state officials.”

In January of 2018, Kluver filed a lawsuit against Environmental Driven Solutions and others seeking to “recover money that was taken from Mr. Kluver, secure title to the land where he lives, and obtain damages for defamation, among other causes of action.” Kluver's lawsuit claims that Environmental Driven Solutions and other parties owe him and his company in excess of $800,000 of unpaid funds for services rendered.

A trial in that mater has been scheduled for July 2020, but Kluver will first appear in Southwest District Court on June 18 for a preliminary hearing and arraignment in the recent theft case.