Archive for Friday, May 27, 2005

Reno County settles with ex-attorney for $35,000

May 27, 2005

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— A now-disbarred attorney accused of bribing a former sheriff to get a contract to run the Reno County jail annex will pay $35,000 to end the county's efforts to recover profits from the scheme.

County commissioners had been seeking to recover about $800,000 in profits from the operation of the jail annex but agreed Wednesday to settle with the bankrupt Gerald Hertach for $35,000.

"It's more than we would have received if we had gone to trial," said Dan Forker, the attorney representing commissioners.

Hertach and former Sheriff Larry Leslie each pleaded guilty in October 2003 to two misdemeanor counts of participation in a prohibited contract. Prosecutors accused Leslie of taking almost $285,000 in bribes from Hertach in exchange for persuading county commissioners to contract with Hertach's company, MgtGp Inc., to run the county jail annex.

Senior Judge Michael Barbara ruled in January 2004 that Leslie and Hertach did not have to pay restitution, saying the year each spent in jail fit the crime. Reno County also tried to recover the money through a civil lawsuit, but Leslie and Hertach filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2003 and Forker said Leslie had no recoverable assets to pursue.

However, the county is likely to receive most of the money held by a court trustee after MgtGp declared bankruptcy. Reno County should receive just under $120,000 of the approximately $154,000 in that account, Forker said. Other funds are expected to go to another creditor and to pay administrative costs.

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