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Montana AG Probing American Police Force Deal

Zachary Roth

Could the party be over for American Police Force?

Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock is investigating the
mysterious security contractor's deal to run an empty jail in the tiny
town of Hardin, reports the Billings Gazette. And he doesn't appear to be messing around.

In a nine-page letter sent late yesterday afternoon to Becky Shay -- the former Gazette reporter
who recently signed on as APF's public relations director -- Bullock
said he's probing whether APF may be violating Montana's Unfair Trade
Practices and Consumer Protection Act.

Specifically, Bullock wants proof for many of the statements on
APF's website which have been called into question by media reports in
recent days -- such as the claims that the company frequently has
contracts with the U.S. government, and has operations in all 50 states.

Bullock also has asked for a copy of the contract between APF and
Hardin, which the town has so far declined to make public, and has
asked that APF disclose any lawsuits filed against it or Michael Hilton
-- the APF official who led the negotiations with Hardin, and whose lengthy criminal record
and alleged history of alcoholism has intensified concerns about the
deal. Bullock also wants any correspondence between APF and any
government agency that has accused the company of being deceptive.

Bullock sent a separate letter to Al Peterson and a second official
with the Two Rivers Authority (TRA), Hardin's economic development
agency which signed the deal with APF. Peterson didn't respond to the Gazette's request for comment, but asked yesterday by TPMmuckraker about the deal, he replied: "What have we got to lose?"

More on this to come...

Late Update: We've now obtained the letters from Bullock to APG to TRA. You can read them here.

The letter to TRA asks for all documents relating to the APF deal,
and also, for information on "[a]ll direct or indirect interests
Authority board members or their immediate families
in American Police Force (including without limitation its officers, affiliates, or agents)."

In a conciliatory note, Bullock adds: "In writing, I also wish to
express my understanding of your concern for your community and the
pressure you are under to fill the unoccupied facility."

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