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Investigation closes on actions of Granite County Commissioner

GRANITE COUNTY - The investigation surrounding the actions of Granite County Commissioner Scott Adler has closed, with the evidence collected now in the hands of the State Attorney General.

In a November 29, 2017 email from Granite County Attorney Blaine Bradshaw, it was stated that the Montana Department of Criminal Investigation's agent had completed his investigation into the allegations that Adler had committed fraud and misused county funds, equipment and personnel for his own personal gain. Bradshaw stated in his email that he had spoken with Brant Light, Bureau Chief of the Montana Attorney General's Office Prosecution Services Division, asking him to review the case to determine if charges should be filed.

Light and Criminal Investigation Bureau Chief John Strandell had not returned phones calls to QSPNLive as of Wednesday.

Any possible charges that may be filed, as well as associated jail terms or fines sought by Light's office, will be determined in the coming days and weeks.

The investigation was initiated when Granite County residents became concerned that Adler was abusing his authority as a county commissioner Sept. 6-7, 2017 when he had a crew of four county workers and eight county vehicles (nine including a loader at the county yard to put materials into two belly trucks) at his home to perform work on his driveway. According to Adler and fellow commissioner Bill Slaughter, the project was allegedly a test of old millings and a mulcher that they said could be used to pave and repair county roads.

Adler did not pay for the work that was done until residents started questioning Adler and the other commissioners about the project and why it was done on Adler's personal property at no cost to him. The Granite County Commissioners posted an apology with QSPNLive and other local media, but many county residents did not see that as an appropriate end to the matter.

During the October 3, 2017 Granite County Commissioner's meeting one of the agenda items centered on the project at Adler's home. Residents and media questioned Adler and the Commissioners about the project and its expense to taxpayers. Adler showed those in attendance a quote for work that he said was similar to that which was done at his home from Shadow Asphalt in Missoula which totaled $1,450.

But attendees questioned that amount and the area of the work quoted, which was a roadway 150 feet long, 15 feet wide and three inches deep. When looking at pictures of Adler's home on Google Maps, QSPNLive compared it to the pictures taken of the work at Adler's home and found that the area was potentially much larger.

Shadow Asphalt owner Jeremy Ogilvie told QSPNLive that he had not been to Adler's home to actually see the work that needed to be done when he produced the quote.

During that October 3, 2017 meeting, Adler admitted to using county equipment on other occasions for personal use. When questioned by QSPNLive at the end of the meeting as to who was responsible for sending the county's equipment and personnel to his home to perform the project that is under investigation, Adler simply stated, "It was me."

Adler is serving his second term as a Granite County Commissioner, having been re-elected to a second six-year term in November 2016.

NOTE - This story originally ran on November 30, 2017.


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