Hardin Officials Claim New Interest in Empty Jail

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.

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Really bad publicity

It's hard to keep up with Hardin without a program.

Al Peterson is obviously a man unable to keep his mouth shut despite failing having anything useful to communicate, nor might he miss his 15 minutes of fame.

The bad publicity he enthusiastically brought to town will hopefully cost him his job. Between his apparent slandering of the Big Horn County Sheriff and his efforts to convince the public that the transparently bogus claims and promises made by a California career confidence man were in fact real, he has chosen an interesting path.

His service on the TRA has made it fairly certain that the county will not be able to build a new high school for the district. Money would need to be borrowed and Hardin's credit is square in the toilet, thanks to the jail scam.

The Mercedes Benz SUVs? Well, the last of the purloined "police cars" has made its way back to the repo man in California, leaving Becky Snow with no job, no reputation and no prospects. She's even applied to be the new Hardin economic development coordinator.


This just goes to show that

This just goes to show that there is a such thing is a prison industerial complex .. A prison is a way of extracting large amounts of goverment money... People soon forget that all that money comes from the tax payer in the end.. They will get that thing open it is just a mater of time, but when they do it will come with a big fat price tag.


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