PITTSBURG — As part of an agreement with prosecutors, former Frontenac city administrator Doug Sellars pleaded guilty to one count of misuse of public funds in Crawford County District Court Tuesday morning.
Misuse of public funds is a level 9 non-person felony and carries a potential sentence of from 5 to 17 months in prison.
As part of the plea agreement, charges of felony making false information, felony official misconduct, felony theft and misdemeanor stalking were dropped.
Crawford County Attorney Michael Gayoso, said Sellars has no criminal history, and so will likely be given an underlying sentence between five and seven months in the Kansas Department of Corrections. As part of the plea agreement, that will likely be suspended and he will be placed on probation for 12 months. Additionally, Sellars will be required to make full restitution — approximately $8,000 and pay court costs.
“Mr. Sellars … was held accountable with his felony conviction,” Gayoso said Tuesday. “He will have to repay the city for its losses.”
The charges stem from an investigation by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation which uncovered the thefts on the city credit card following accusations of stalking against Sellars.
Shortly after his abrupt resignation in Sept. of 2016, Sellars was arrested by the KBI.
The affidavit said that between Oct. 10, 2014 and Sept. 21, 2015, Sellars made 155 purchases with a city-issued credit card totaling some $11,831.77. Of those purchases, only 25 appear as legitimate city business.
Sellars spent in excess of $8,000 on personal expenses — including a pair of Global Positioning System tracking devices and monitoring services.
The misdemeanor stalking charge, which was dropped as part of the plea, arose from the use of those GPS devices to track his former mistress, after hiding them inside the bumper of her car.
According to the affidavit, submitted by KBI Special Agent Robert K. Jacobs, the entire matter came to light in August 2015, when Sellars allegedly told the former mistress’ supervisor he had placed the devices on her car.
Officers with the Pittsburg Police Department were informed by the former mistress at the time, but were unable to find the tracker.
It was discovered a day later in a bumper by technicians at Creative Car Audio, in Pittsburg.
Purchases made by Sellars include three firearms, ammunition, Under Armor clothing and fireworks components, among other items.
Of the more than $8,000 worth of personal purchases made by Sellars, he reimbursed the City of Frontenac for $856.37 between November 2014, and April 2015.
According to Jacobs’ affidavit, in order to hide the personal purchases, Sellars “notated on his UMB credit card statement, different city accounts, to which each individual charge on the credit card statement should be attributed.”
He then presented those to the Frontenac City Council for approval.
The financial crimes were discovered during a subsequent investigation regarding the stalking charges.
Sellars sentencing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Feb. 13, 2018 in Crawford County District Court.
— Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. He can be emailed at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter @PittEditor.