NEWTON — Halstead City Manager J.R. Hatfield was arrested Monday morning on a felony charge of perjury.
Former police chief Steven C. Lewis was arrested in Stevens County with a felony charge of misuse of public funds and two counts of misdemeanor theft.
The Harvey County Sheriff’s Department arrested Hatfield at about 10 a.m. at Halstead City Hall, according to Sheriff T. Walton. The arrests of both men came at the conclusion of a nine-month inquisition led by County Attorney David Yoder.
Hatfield, who has been city manager since 2003, allegedly committed perjury on or about Dec. 8, according to the complaint.
"The charges stem from actions taken while he was in an official capacity as city manager of Halstead," Yoder said during a 3 p.m. press conference Tuesday.
Yoder said the perjury charge was not related to statements Hatfield made to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, which began its investigation into activities at Halstead Police Department at Yoder's request in late November.
"That has to do with documentation," Yoder said. "I will go that far."
Hatfield was released at 12:55 p.m. after posting $2,500 bond in cash. Three Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents, an employee of Kansas Commission on Peace Officers' Standards and Training, former police officer Jennifer Motes and Police Chief Josh Orem are listed as witnesses for the state.
Lewis, who retired as police chief last December, allegedly authorized the use of city funds to purchase ammunition for use by private individuals, according to the complaint. The felony charge alleges the purchase of more than $1,000 worth of ammunition between May and October 2011. Yoder said the amount of money involved in the allegation was "not much over the threshold" of $1,000.
The two misdemeanor theft charges against Lewis are related to the purchase of ammunition on or about June 11, 2012, and on or about April 30, 2013. Lewis was released after posting $3,000 bond. State witnesses against him include two KBI agents; Nick Holzrichter and Lonnie Martin; and Boyse [sic] Moses, with BVAC, an ammunition supplier.
Yoder said the investigation was prompted by multiple people reporting "abnormalities" in Halstead to his office. He said he relied on "one particular source" at the city of Halstead. He also noted that Halstead officers have been cooperative and have communicated regularly with his office.
"I filed what I believe I can take to a jury," he said.
Yoder said he couldn't say whether more charges might be forthcoming, but the investigation is ongoing. During a phone call with KBI Senior Special Agent Chris Bumgarner this morning, he learned of three additional reports that had not yet been completed.
"There may be some follow-up my office may be looking at," Yoder said. "I don't anticipate any other persons being charged."
Yoder confirmed that the three additional reports had to do with Lewis and Hatfield.
"I think those are follow-up reports to matters we've already been looking at," he added.
Yoder also said it was a fair assumption that the two cases were related.
Halstead City Council put Hatfield on paid administrative Monday evening after meeting in closed session to discuss personnel. Hatfield did not attend the meeting.