Clingman pleads not guilty to 9 Sublette criminal charges
by Joy Ufford
Original post March 30, 2013 | Updated April 4, 2013
Former Sublette County waste management supervisor Bradley D. Clingman, of Laramie, appeared in Pinedale’s Ninth District Court March 28 before Judge Marv Tyler and pleaded "not guilty" to nine criminal charges that he wrongfully kept county recycling proceeds and misused county property.
It was Clingman’s first court appearance since his Feb. 9 arrest, after the Sublette County commissioners fired him as waste management supervisor on Feb. 8. (Editor’s note – Correction, 4/4/13: Mr. Clingman was arrested on January 9, 2013, and terminated by the Commissioners on January 9th, after his arrest.) He was hired for that position in March 2009.
Clingman is accused of keeping $5,133.77 belonging to the county, misusing a county vehicle and fuel and failing to deliver checks to the county. The charges stem from Clingman allegedly continuing a recycling incentive program he created with Marbleton landfill employees, after he was told to stop the unofficial program, records show.
Clingman faces seven felonies – three of larceny by bailee and four of failure or refusal to pay over property - as well as a misdemeanor of wrongful appropriation of public property and a misdemeanor of larceny by bailee, according to Ninth District Court records.
On Dec. 18, 2012, Sublette County commissioners asked the county attorney’s office to begin an investigation into Clingman’s alleged activities, court records show.
Clingman reportedly told Sublette County Sheriff’s Lt. Lance Gehlhausen that he had been caught with his "hand in the cookie jar" in the past and should have learned his lesson, according to the affidavit filed with the Sublette County criminal charges.
After the February charges were filed, Sublette County commissioners and the county clerk told the Sublette Examiner in Pinedale that when they hired him, they were aware of Clingman’s past criminal history for misappropriating public funds as the Albany County fire warden.
Clingman’s employment as Sublette County waste management supervisor began March 9, 2009, and the Examiner reported that Sublette County Clerk Mary Lankford said officials were aware of Clingman’s 2005 convictions.
"He had several local references and the board was fully aware of Clingman’s issues in Albany County. They discussed them with him, before they decided to give him a second chance," Lankford told the Examiner in February.
Sublette County Commissioner Joel Bousman also said, "We … expressed our concern in a lengthy discussion with him at that time (of hiring). He convinced us that he had learned his lesson and we hired him. He had several references that reinforced that he would be a good choice."
In 2005, Clingman was charged with one felony of writing fraudulent checks as fire warden totaling $19,145 and he subsequently accepted a plea agreement in Second District Court, court records show.
He then pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor counts of wrongful appropriation of public property; the felony charge was dismissed and he served 30 days in jail, one year of probation and 80 hours of community service, records show.
After being hired in 2009, Clingman discussed ongoing trash equipment repairs that were needed due to recyclable materials going through the county’s landfill system in Marbleton, according to Gehlhausen’s affidavit.
He had suggested that county landfill employees be paid from an "incentive fund" for volunteering to sort recyclables from other trash, from proceeds for selling it to a Salt Lake City recycling company, commissioners said, and they agreed to give it a try.
Clingman told Gehlhausen that he was surprised to find out how much money could be made by selling recyclable materials, according to court records.
Bookkeeping statements in the court file from Wasatch Metal Recycling show that Clingman requested one check made out to him and the other to the county’s recycling program,. The affidavit states Clingman said he would cash the check written to him, keep some cash and give some to landfill employees participating in his recycling incentives program.
The statements show that between Dec. 3, 2009, and Dec. 11, 2012, Wasatch Metal Recycling made out checks to Sublette County Recycling totaling $26,790.51, and that checks to Clingman came to $150,047.14.
County commissioners asked Clingman for more details about the recycling income several months before his arrest, records show. When they learned much money the recyclable sales brought in, they approached Clingman in late 2012, told him to end the program at the end of the year and to turn all further proceeds over to the county, according to the affidavit.
However, after Jan. 1, Clingman allegedly made three more trips to Wasatch Metal Recycling and kept $5,133.77 after being told to stop the practice; he also allegedly admitted to using 300 to 400 gallons of fuel from county pumps to travel to and from Laramie with county equipment, records show.
Thursday after Clingman’s not-guilty pleas to all counts, Judge Tyler set a July 8 jury trial date. Also at the March 28 arraignment, Clingman’s attorney Michael Schilling asked to ease his client’s bond-release restrictions.
"He considers the access to firearms part of his tool chest (on his ranch), Your Honor; there are predators, there are reasons for him to possess a firearm," Schilling said, adding Clingman’s daughters are in 4-H and use firearms.
Judge Tyler agreed to allow Clingman to possess firearms "for ranching and legitimate purchases."
As for travel outside of Wyoming for more than one night, attending a high school rodeo in April at the Sublette County Fairgrounds and carrying firearms away from his ranch, Judge Tyler stated that Clingman could likely get court approval with prior notification.