Fans of the hit Discovery Channel series Gold Rush don’t think of veteran miner Tony Beets as a jokester. He’s about as serious and no-nonsense as they come in any industry. But he once got tied up in a “joke gone bad” that cost him thousands and landed him in legal trouble.
Anyone that’s watched Gold Rush knows that gold mining can be a dangerous but lucrative business. Crew members often work long shifts, which are sometimes 12-hour days or more. They also handle and operate enormous, heavy-duty machinery and trucks. So it’s no surprise mining bosses take it very seriously and put an emphasis on safety precautions. Yet after a long day, even gold miners can get caught up in a little downtime gone wrong.
That’s what Tony Beets learned the hard way in a previous season of the show. During one segment on Gold Rush, a crew member poured gasoline into a dredge pond. He had Beets’ approval at the time, and that was Tony’s first mistake in the situation. Crew member Mark Favron then proceeded to light the gas in the pond on fire. It might’ve seemed like all fun and games, but the Yukon courts got involved and hit Beets and Favron with major fines.
‘Gold Rush’ Star and His Crew Violated the Yukon Waters Act
Officials caught wind of the episode and Tony Beets standing proudly in front of the dredge pond fire. Not the smartest move on Beets’ part to break the law and then have Discovery film it. That’s what led the King of the Klondikes to have to appear in court.
In fact, Beets and his company, Tamarack Inc., along with his crew were in direct violation of the Yukon Waters Act. The legislation prohibits anyone from dumping gasoline into any body of water without reporting it. The act has been in place since 1992 and protects water resources in the Yukon Territory.
Although he didn’t do it himself, Beets took the brunt of the blame for the violation since he’s the leader of the mining company. The Gold Rush star had to pay $31,000 in fines to comply with Yukon territorial court. Additionally, the court made crew member Mark Favron pay $1,725 in fines for dumping gasoline in the dredge pond. According to Canadian outlet CBC, Favron said he did it since it was his last day on the job. He also admitted it was his own idea to do so, but Beets still shouldered the blame.
“Since I am the man running the show, I guess I should have been a little bit more [cautious] and told him not to do it. However, I didn’t do that,” Beets explained when addressing the incident. “So here you are in court, so take the fine. Next time, don’t go there. It’s kind of a joke gone bad, right?”