This is the submission of Tim Allen for the 2018 EPPY Awards in the category of Best Investigative/Enterprise Feature on a Website.
In September 2017 Granite County Commissioner Scott Adler (R, second term) ordered the entire contingent of the county's road crew and heavy equipment to his home to use road millings to pave his personal driveway. This action caused a tremendous uproar among residents who felt that Adler was abusing the power of his position.
In reporting this story, I was able to uncover a number of facts that have furthered this story and the Attorney General's investigation of the matter. Aside from Commissioner Adler's ever-changing account of trucks and personnel, I was also able to ferret out the actual number of people and vehicles used in this project (which increased from one in the initial story to nine later on) and proved that the estimate received for the work was not only inaccurate, but was given without the company ever coming to the property to collect data for the estimate.
At present, Commissioner Adler will be tried on misdemeanor charges of Official Misconduct and Theft by Embezzlement Oct. 22, 2018 in District Court in Philipsburg, Montana. A conviction on the former charge would mean him being required to immediately and permanently vacate his post as commissioner.
The complete catalogue of story links for this submission are all found below and are divided into Major and Minor sections. The Major section consists of relevant pieces where new information was revealed or significant actions were taken. The Minor section has some of the more mundane stories relating to hearings, changes in court dates and the like.
Major Story Links
The Road to Nowhere, Sept. 27, 2017
County Commissioners face angry residents over charges of fraud, abuse, October 3, 2017
Granite County Commissioner's Meeting: October 3, 2017 (Video), October 3, 2017
Eyewitnesses say Commissioner's not being truthful about Adler's Driveway, October 9, 2017
Attorney General's office opens investigation to look into allegations of Commissioner Fraud, October 19, 2017
Adler pleads 'Not Guilty' to Misconduct, Embezzlement charges, February 15, 2018
Investigator's Affidavit sheds more light on charges against Adler (Analysis), February 18, 2018
Adler trial moved again, now set for Oct. 22, August 1, 2018
Minor Story Links
Attorney General's Office declines to release communication, October 10, 2017
State sends investigator to look into fraud, abuse charges of county commissioner, November 9, 2017
Investigation closes on actions of Granite County Commissioner, November 30, 2017
Adler charged, will appear in District Court Feb. 15, February 5, 2018
Hearing cancelled, Adler jury trial set for late June, March 12, 2018
Pre-=Trial Hearing cancelled in Adler case, May 2, 2018
Continuance granted in Adler trial, June 5, 2018