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Theft charges filed against former Stevensville mayor

Posted at 3:23 PM, Jul 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-20 11:19:33-04

STEVENSVILLE - The Ravalli County Attorney's Office is filing several felony and misdemeanor charges against former Stevensville Mayor Brandon Dewey, accusing him of theft and "official misconduct" while he was in office.

The filing by County Attorney Bill Fulbright comes after the Town of Stevensville launched an investigation into the town finances after Dewey lost his re-election bid last November.

While Dewey was a continued target of his critics during much of his four years in office, the turmoil reached a peak in 2020, when opponents launched a recall campaign. He survived that recall later in the year, but the firestorm continued, with a constant turnover on the town council and political infighting over his management style and handling of finances.

The charges stem from key points in the dispute, specifically Dewey's efforts to have the town reimburse him for hiring a Missoula legal firm to defend against the recall. That fight over reimbursement, retroactive compensation for council service, and filing in for vacant staff, as well as providing severance pay for departing staff after the election loss, without council approval, form the basis of the charges.

Dewey faces three felony counts, and three misdemeanors and is being ordered to answer to the charges during a court appearance on July 27. Stevensville Police Chief Mac Sosa told MTN News earlier Tuesday that the town had asked for the investigation after "several issues drew red flags that prompted the review."

We've reached out to Dewey for comment and will share any statements if they are made.