Former Becker County sheriff gets stayed jail sentence
DETROIT LAKES, Minn. - Former Becker County Sheriff Tim Gordon, who was accused of swindling the public by selling the sheriff’s office a used boat and passing it off as new, was sentenced Tuesday in the case.
Under a plea agreement struck last week and approved Tuesday in Becker County District Court, two felony charges of theft by swindle and making false claims were dropped. Gordon pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor charge of misconduct of a public officer.
Gordon was sentenced to a year in jail with all but 10 days of that stayed for two years. In lieu of the jail time, Gordon will perform 80 hours of community service.
Gordon admitted to misleading county officials into believing a boat that he was purchasing for the county was owned by a recreational dealership, when in fact it had belonged to Gordon. But he denies claims that he sold the boat for an inflated price.
Gordon's attorney, Paul Thorwaldsen, said the reason the two felony charges were dropped is that there was no theft or swindle going on.
He said although the initial appraisal of the boat and equipment came back roughly $4,000 less than what Gordon was paid, a second appraisal done by more qualified boating experts came in right around the amount paid out.
"And if this would have went to trial, the state would have had a difficult time proving (the felony charges) because of those values," Thorwaldsen said.