Former Antelope County Supervisor Harlan Brandt was sentenced in District Court on Wednesday. Included in his sentencing was that he will not be allowed to run for public office for the next two years.
Brandt, 63, of Oakdale, appeared in court with his attorney Ron Temple of Norfolk. On March 25, Brandt changed his plea from not guilty to no contest to theft by deception, a Class I misdemeanor, following a plea agreement.
Judge Mark Johnson told Brandt, “Public trust is given to one in office and has public expectation.” He later said, "Mr. Brandt, you are one of people who know best - a good name is hard to achieve, easy to lose."
Johnson went on to say Brandt has led a law-abiding life for 63 years and would take that into consideration; however, he also said, “I’m not certain that you believe in your heart you have done anything inappropriate.”
Johnson said the state “has concerns of truthfulness and candor based on early contact and response to the investigation.”
Brandt was sentenced to 24 months of probation, fine of $1,000, restitution of $2,631.35, along with court costs and other fees associated with probation. Brandt will not be allowed to be in possession of alcohol or a fire arm during probation. Brandt cannot run or hold public office during his probation and must write a letter of apology to Antelope County residents, to be published for three weeks in the Neligh News and Leader.
According to previous court appearances, the thefts took place between June 2011 and April 2014. The initial investigation began with the Antelope County Sheriff’s office in December 2013 and then was turned over to the Nebraska State Patrol and the Nebraska Attorney General’s office.
The investigation determined that instances occurred through Brandt's supervisory duties. Fuel was charged to the county at an Oakdale gas station, and attendants confirmed the pickup was Brandt's personal vehicle, not the county's.
Items taken from the county included fencing staples and tire "stop leak" that had been purchased from Bomgaars. During questioning by law enforcement, Brandt said the staples were for road signs. However, the road signs are metal and did not use staples.