BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Officials in Hardin say they've received new interest in their empty, 464-bed jail in the wake of collapsed deal with a California company run by a man with a history of fraud.
Saying there's "no such thing as bad publicity," Al Peterson with the city's economic development agency says at least four corrections corporations and agencies have asked for more information about the facility.
Peterson acknowledges the city's two-year effort to fill the jail suffered a major setback from its dealings with Santa Ana-based American Police Force. The company's lead figure, ex-convict Michael Hilton, convinced city officials he had the financial wherewithal to take over the jail and fill it with prisoners. One of Hilton's last connections to Montana - a pair of Mercedes SUVs he once offered to Hardin for use by law enforcement - were returned to California this week.