APF drops troubled Hardin jail deal

by TOM LUTEY
The Gazette Staff
Friday, October 9, 2009

The Hardin jail deal is off, said a spokeswoman for the cryptic California company contracted to run the for-hire hoosegow, now two years empty.

Becky Shay, spokeswoman for American Police Force, said Friday that her company is withdrawing its offer to operate the 464-bed facility. The announcement comes after investigative reporters revealed that APF’s president has a criminal record and that some APF claims about its jail proposal were bogus.

“TRA deserves a less controversial partner,” Shay said. Shay also said the jail needed infrastructure improvements, including medical equipment, and said “we just cannot make infrastructure investments at this time.”

“It’s been a pretty arduous process,” she noted.

The 10-year deal was presented by local economic developers last month as Hardin’s best chance to profit from the $27 million jail built two years ago to house inmates under contract.

APF has been extremely secretive about its dealings. Shay, a former Gazette reporter who hired on with APF two weeks ago, has declined repeated requests for information about APF, its backers and proof of government contracts that the company states are its bread and butter. What is known about APF has undermined its jail bid.

Nine days ago, reporters for The Billings Gazette and the Associated Press revealed that APF frontman Michael Hilton has 17 aliases, a record of felony convictions and a history of moneymaking schemes gone bad.

The complete article is here.

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