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Monday, May 11, 2009

Another Jail With No Inmates and Bond Default

Two Rivers Detention Facility in Hardin, Montana is another brand new jail sitting empty with no money to operate the place and a city in default on $27 million in bonds. Hardin, Montana passed a bond measure to build this $27 million state of the art facility thinking they would be able to house state inmates and create 100 new jobs locally to operate the facility. It didn't happen as a new governor took office and refused to use the place. Citizen of Hardin have defaulted on the bonds and the place sits empty since 2005.

The latest plan is to try and get the Fed's to house Guantanamo Bay inmates in the facility. The congressional delegation from Montana is fighting this plan to the death. They don't want Arab terrorists on Montana soil. Meanwhile the locals in Hardin are trying to figure out what to do with the empty jail and are pitching the Two Rivers facility as beyond "shovel ready" to "turn key ready" to the Obama Administration.

Costs of housing inmates far exceeds the cost of the structure. These people found out too late. We are more than likely be asked to approve a bond measure for a new jail this August. Study this carefully and understand what happened at Two Rivers in Hardin, Montana and Wapato in Portland, Oregon. Brand new facilities and no money for operations.

1 comment:

  1. Somewhat different things happened in Portland and Hardin. In Portland, the Wapato jail facility was constructed without proper consultation and coordination between government agencies and the community in which it was located. There have never been any allegations that anyone personally profited from its approval and construction.

    In Hardin, the Music Men from Texas drove up to Two Rivers City and convinced them that money would rain from the skies if they placed their trust in these hustlers. The "team" as they call themselves (think Newman and Redford, in "The Sting") skimmed millions off the top in architect fees and commissions. The construction itself may never have been subjected to any sort of an audit. The city attorney, for instance, was not able to tell how much it had paid the architect/rainmaker. The tax-exempt bonds expect to pay credit card-level interest were sold on the basis of a flaky economic feasibiity study by a "team" partner, after an earlier study may have questioned its viability. In fact, the facility should have never been built in the first place, since the question of whether or not it could actually import prisoners was of dubious legality. Before the operator, CEC/CiviGenics, pulled out its last and almost only employees in January, 2009, it had tried to attract hundreds of sex offenders for "treatment," though most such in-prison treatment has been found wanting and therapists would have been required to be recruited to a town almost 50 miles from the nearest city with any urban amenities. The bond sellers' commissions were about 6% of total cost of the jail and the architect's fees might have been half that figure.

    Greg Smith, the city's economic development coordinator, persists in inappropriately blaming the current Montana governor for the problems, rather than on Hardin's Texas "friends" who brought this plague, and rather than city officials such as mayor Adams taking a long hard look in the mirror.


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