Broadwater County DES Charged with Embezzlement
The Paradigm Connection
by Tim Ravndal
In 2012 Mr. William D. Fleiner was employed as the department head of Broadwater County Disaster & Emergency Services (DES). He also had a contract with Broadwater County under his personal company called >“Paradigm Communication and Preparedness Solutions, LLC.”
With approval from elected County Commissioners Mr. Fleiner procured tax dollars on behalf of the County DES and awarded those same funds directly to his company. The funds in question were procured from Federal Government programs. This act appeared to be a direct conflict of interest and a direct violation of law.
A “Coalition of Concerned Citizens” (Coalition) saw irregularities in the DES procurement activities and began to seek accountability. At that time County Commissioners, Sheriff, County Attorney and other officials of Broadwater County made extraordinary efforts to dismiss calls for accountability.
The coalition went public seeking transparency and accountability in 2013. The case opened an investigation by the FBI. The Montana Attorney General also was brought in to investigate the allegations made by the coalition against elected and appointed officials of Broadwater County. The coalition was told for the past (4) years that the case was under investigation. With no accountability in sight and irregular activities continuing, we were led to believe that these officials are above the law.
This all changed June 1, 2016. The coalition’s continued quest for accountability in Broadwater County, finally resulted in a federal indictment. Mr. Fleiner has been charged with three counts that as an authorized agent of the county, he embezzled and intentionally misapplied $34,329.06 taxpayer dollars. A direct violation of 18 U.S.C. § 666(a)(1 )(A).
The case brought forward by the FBI now opens the door to the Montana Attorney General to do his job and bring forward a case against current and past elected or appointed officials for knowingly violating the public trust. Corruption cannot exist with transparency and the citizens of Broadwater County expect nothing less.
Broadwater County Coalition Concerned Citizens
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