Former Stevensville mayor Brandon Dewey appeared in Ravalli County District Court last week to answer a summons alleging three counts of theft and three associated counts of official misconduct. The charges allege an attempted misappropriation of $12,020.20 as reimbursement for his personal legal fees incurred in an attempt to stop a recall petition against him while in office, making a retroactive payment to himself without council approval as well as making a duplicate payment to himself in another instance, and illegally shelling out $19,863 in “severance pay” to five employees also without council approval.
Dewey appeared in court temporarily represented by a public defender who indicated that Dewey intended to obtain his own legal services.
County Attorney Bill Fulbright agreed to Dewey remaining free on his own recognizance but asked District Court Judge Howard Recht to bar Dewey from entering the Stevensville town hall and accessing files. He said he was aware that it is a public building, but said it was a very small one.
“The reality is that any time an individual would be in there they would be in close proximity to people who are witnesses or potential witnesses in this case,” said Fulbright.
Ryan Archibald, the temporary public defender representing Dewey, responded that excluding Dewey from entering town hall was inappropriate. He said “directing the defendant not to talk about the case with anyone would be appropriate, but exclusion from city hall would be an issue.”
Judge Recht agreed to releasing Dewey on his own recognizance and directed him to have no contact with the staff, witnesses or town officials and no access to any town records, except through the court. Dewey was allowed to attend public meetings. He is due back in court in two weeks to make a plea to the charges.
“These allegations are malicious, and I will continue to defend myself,” said Dewey as he left the courthouse.