BREAKING: Adler strikes plea deal over charges of embezzlement, misconduct
ANACONDA – Granite County Commissioner Scott Adler, who has been under indictment for the misdemeanor charges of Theft by Embezzlement and Official Misconduct, entered a plea agreement Friday in District Court in Anaconda, thus nullifying his pending trial January 28, 2019 in Philipsburg.
The plea agreement, on file with the Granite County Clerk & Recorder and attached by clicking HERE, states that Adler plead guilty to an amended charge of Misdemeanor Theft and that the other charges – Theft by Embezzlement and Official Misconduct – were dropped by the court. The agreement was filed with the court January 11, 2019.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Varns agreed to the plea agreement. Varns provided the Flint Creek Courier with a confirmation and verification that the agreement was in place. He was unavailable for further comment Monday.
Adler was also ordered to pay restitution, which is outlined by the agreement as follows:
Defendant to pay $640 restitution to Granite County for the cost of wages for workers utilized in the project; and
Defendant to pay $560 restitution to Granite County for the use of county equipment; and
Defendant to pay $250 restitution for a second estimate that was obtained by the State (for prosecution of this case) and paid for by Granite County;
Defendant shall receive credit against this restitution for the sum of $1,450 that he paid Granite County in September 2017.
Defendant shall commit no violations of federal, state, county, and local laws for the term of deferral. For purposes of this agreement a violation shall be established by a finding of probable cause by any court.
Defendant shall also attend and successfully complete, at his own expense, the next available MACO Commissioner training course.
Defendant shall also pay all statutory costs, surcharges, and fees to include:
$10 Court Information Technology Fee;
$15 for each misdemeanor conviction;
$50 court costs (misdemeanor).
The sentence is deferred for a term of one year if Adler meets all of the above listed criteria.
Adler originally paid the county $1,450 dollars in September 2017 when public outcry demanded that he be held accountable. But since the agreement stipulates that his payment can be used as credit against the restitution, Adler’s only additional fees are the $75 for statutory costs, his MACO training and court costs.
The dismissal of the Official Misconduct charge means that Adler can remain in his elected position as the District 1 Representative to the Granite County Commission.
Adler confirmed via text message to the Flint Creek Courier Monday that there was a plea deal in place, but that he had not yet signed the final paperwork despite his signature on the document provided by the Granite County Clerk and Recorder.
The original charges stemmed from work that was allegedly done at Adler's home on September 6-7, 2017, which saw Granite County Road Superintendent Paul Alt use county road heavy equipment and employees to haul millings to Adler's home and pave Adler’s personal driveway. The project, as outlined in the affidavit filed by Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Varns, states that Adler allegedly had "... two dump trucks ... a county roller, a grader, a water truck and the millings mulcher" on his property that were used to complete the project. This also included the use of four county employees and Alt, as Adler stated October 3, 2017 during a Granite County Commissioner's meeting on the subject.
After that October 3 meeting, the Montana Attorney General’s Office performed an investigation into the matter and officially indicted Adler February 15, 2018 with the charges of Theft by Embezzlement and Official Misconduct, both misdemeanors.
Adler is in his second term as a Granite County Commissioner, having been reelected in 2016 with no opposition. He is up for reelection in 2022.