The Idaho Attorney General’s Office investigation of allegations against the Plummer mayor is underway.
Mayor Bill Weems and the former public works director, Leonard Johnson, confirmed that they were interviewed as of Dec. 17, 2020.
The investigation by the Attorney General’s Criminal Law Division stems from unspecified charges of embezzlement alleged by city councilmember Leticia Kennar and deputy clerk Tammy Montague. The AG took up the investigation after the Benewah County Prosecutor’s Office requested the AG to act as a special prosecutor.
Mayor Weems has previously refuted the claims.
No evidence supporting the charge has been made public.
Mayor Weems and Mr. Johnson said they were unable to share details until the investigation was concluded. Both men expressed a desire to be transparent.
“It’s still an ongoing investigation until he issues his official findings. Leonard or I can still get in trouble if either of us gives any impression of trying to influence the outcome…so you will have to wait until then,” Mayor Weems said.
“They did interview me, and once the investigation comes out, I will love to talk to you about it and give anything you need to know,” Mr. Johnson said.
Interviews with city councilmembers and staff are also underway. To what extent is unknown. Asked to confirm if they were interviewed, city councilmembers have not responded. City Treasurer Sara Allen declined to comment.
Whether the investigation will be concluded prior to a March recall election is unknown.
“Our office policy is to refrain from commenting on pending investigations, including their respective timelines,” AG Public Information Officer Scott Graf said.
The recall was triggered by a petition circulated by Ms. Kennar, Ms. Montague, former councilmember Stacey Sonder, and former mayor Tim Clark.
The petition alleged unsubstantiated misconduct by the mayor. Petitioners obtained 109 signatures. State code required 93 signatures, based on a percentage of voters as defined by state code.
In a multipage email to this newspaper, and a subsequent Facebook post, Mayor Weems said that the petitioners each have personal motives for seeking his recall.
Efforts to find wrongdoing by Mayor Weems and Mr. Johnson began after Ms. Kennar’s son was fired from the city crew, by Mr. Johnson, for cause.
Mr. Johnson subsequently resigned from his position as public works director citing harassment from individuals he knew to be associated with Ms. Kennar.
Ms. Kennar and Ms. Montague have refused to comment publicly regarding the petition or investigation.
The mayor’s recall election is expected to take place in March 2021.