Vacation rental manager cited for burning garbage in Cook County near Lake Superior
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Vacation rental manager cited for burning garbage in Cook County near Lake Superior

The co-owner of a vacation rental and property-management company in Cook County is being charged with illegally burning garbage during Labor Day weekend.

Erik Engler, a Nebraska resident and the co-owner of the Tofte-based Moonlight Vacation Homes, was cited Sept. 2 by the Cook County Sheriff’s Department for burning garbage illegally on Aspen Ridge Road near Tofte.

Engler, a former collegiate wrestler at the University of Nebraska, owns Moonlight Vacation Homes with his business partner, Mitch Maginnis, who also wrestled for the Cornhuskers several years ago.

The duo owns and operate Moonlight Vacation Homes from Nebraska. The business coordinates cleanings for short-term rentals in Cook County, and manages at least one rental property locally. WTIP spoke with Maginnis Sept. 5 about the situation involving the burning of garbage in Cook County. Maginnis said any claims about his company intentionally burning garbage from a vacation rental property are false.

“We haven’t done anything wrong,” Maginnis said.

According to a law enforcement report from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, on Saturday, Sept. 2, dispatch received a report from a local resident about trash and recyclables being burned illegally at a trailer located near a number of vacation rentals in the Tofte area. A deputy visited the location and discovered what appeared to be burned garbage. The deputy advised the individuals present, listed as Nebraska residents Davey Reynolds and Deana Churchill, that burning garbage was illegal. The deputy also spoke with Engler on the phone throughout the situation. Engler told the law enforcement officer he instructed Reynolds and Churchill to burn the garbage, claiming he didn’t know it was illegal.

In Cook County, as it is everywhere in Minnesota, it is illegal to burn garbage.

After issuing a citation to Engler, the sheriff’s deputy warned the group about the high risk for starting a wildfire during the warm and windy conditions in Cook County over Labor Day weekend. According to the law enforcement report, Engler said he would get a dumpster to keep on the property.

WTIP attempted to contact Engler for comment. He did not respond to requests for an interview.

A website for Moonlight Vacation Homes was apparently shut down Sept. 5, just hours after Maginnis spoke with WTIP.

Meanwhile, officials in the Cook County Land Services Department told WTIP this week that an investigation will take place regarding the business, which includes the license status of any properties managed by Moonlight Vacation Homes and a site visit.