Two years after losing his election bid, former Stevensville Mayor Brandon Dewey is occupying a jail cell instead of an office at Town Hall.

And even when he finishes serving his time, he'll still have to pay back tens of thousands of dollars which he admitted to diverting from city coffers.

Dewey was sentenced this week in Ravalli County District Court, following his guilty plea and a controversial term that rocked the Bitterroot Valley town.

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Dewey took office in 2017 after narrowly winning in a town that has become infamous for political upheaval. And while he pledged to take a more business-like approach to the job, he found himself under attack almost immediately in disputes over budgeting and the application of state and local laws and ordinances.

Dennis Bragg photo
Dennis Bragg photo

At one point, all but one member of the Town Council resigned, forcing the panel to go through continued re-boots and adjustments. Dewey's opponents even started marching through the streets to show their displeasure with city operations, and limits on meetings during the pandemic. He survived a recall vote later that year.

Dewey confidently ran for re-election in 2021 but lost decidedly to Steve Gibson.

Dewey talks with me about the '21 campaign; Dennis Bragg photo
Dewey talks with me about the '21 campaign; Dennis Bragg photo

Then Dewey's real problems began

Auditing after Dewey's departure uncovered a number of financial questions. That included efforts to have the town reimburse his legal fees for the recall defense, being paid for "filling in" for open staff positions, providing severance pay for staff without the Town Council's approval, and retroactive compensation for the council. He faced three felonies and three misdemeanors in the original filing when he appeared in court in July last year.

A guilty plea, and sentencing

With Dewey agreeing to plead "guilty or no contest" to the three misdemeanor counts, this week Judge Jennifer Lint sentenced Dewey to serve 14 days, in the Ravalli County Jail, with his incarceration starting Tuesday, waving a 6-month total. Further, Dewey has agreed to $28,196 in restitution to the Town of Stevensville.

No more politics

Under the plea agreement, Dewey has also forfeited his right to "even again file: as a candidate "or hold any public office."

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