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Hardin, Montana update: Jail deal in limbo

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By Michelle Malkin  •  October 6, 2009 05:41 PM

Because so many of you have e-mailed asking about the status of the weird Hardin, Montana, jail deal with the shadowy American Police Force outfit, here’s the latest. The arrangement is on hold, per the AP:

Officials in this remote Montana town have placed plans for a California company to take over a never-used, $27 million jail on hold.

The Hardin economic development authority’s decision to step back from an agreement with the newly minted American Police Force, of Santa Ana, Calif., came as town leaders on Monday announced the resignation of both the attorney and the economic development official who helped craft the jail deal for the city.

The decision also follows revelations that Mike Hilton, the lead figure of the American Police Force, has a history of fraud that includes several years in jail and three civil judgments against him for more than $1.1 million.

“We won’t move forward. I don’t think any of us want to be on the chopping block,” said Gary Arneson, president of Hardin’s Two Rivers Authority, which owns the jail…

…On Friday, a California judge ordered Hilton to appear in court Oct. 27 over an outstanding judgment in a fraud lawsuit. In that case, Hilton lured investors to sink money into an assisted living complex in Southern California that was never built. An attorney for the plaintiffs, Cris Armenta, said the $340,000 judgment awarded in 2000 has grown to about $700,000 with interest factored in. Armenta said she planned go after any and all of Hilton’s assets, including his wages, property and three Mercedes SUVs that Hilton had once offered to donate to Hardin.

This is an object lesson in citizen vigilance. If you see something, say something.

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