Here’s a nice get by the Billings Gazette, which went to court to pry another document from the hands of Hardin, MT, officials on the town’s deal with the shadowy American Private Police Force.
The August 18 agreement, signed by APPF’s Michael Hilton and Hardin economic development chief Greg Smith, who resigned this week, makes clear that Smith wanted APPF to provide a police force for the town, which doesn’t have its own department. Read the whole thing here.TPMmuckraker previously reported that the September contract signed by APPF and the Two Rivers Authority — but never OKed by the trustee on the bonds used to build the Hardin jail — gave APPF the option of providing law enforcement services for the town.
The earlier agreement that emerged today says that Two Rivers would submit a proposal for APPF “to provide a police force” and the ‘City of Hardin will pay the sum of $250,000 to American for the police force.” It’s not clear if that was the annual rate, and it’s even less clear whether Two Rivers, an economic development agency, had the authority to make promises on behalf of the city of Hardin.
Company Mercedes SUVs rolled into town a few weeks ago with “City of Hardin Police Department” decals, causing worry among residents and drawing national attention. They were removed within the day.
Smith, the Two Rivers official who signed the agreement, was put on leave after the September 4 contract was signed. He resigned this week, and town officials have been mum as to why he left. But the August agreement may go a long way to explaining what happened.