In a 12-minute hearing Monday afternoon, Morgan County District 3 Commissioner Don Stisher of Falkville agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of receiving gifts and was fined $2,000 plus court costs and given a year’s unsupervised probation once the fines have been paid.
State prosecutors initially charged Stisher with a felony of receiving campaign contributions and not reporting it. A Morgan County grand jury indicted Stisher in October on the charge presented by Assistant Attorney General Kyle Beckman.
The Morgan County Sheriff's Office executed the warrant for Stisher's arrest. He turned himself in about 10 a.m. today, was booked and released on his own recognizance, sheriff's spokesman Mike Swafford said.
In Morgan County Circuit Judge Jennifer Howell’s courtroom today, Stisher acknowledged accepting $2,000 in unreported campaign contributions and placing the money in his personal account rather than his 2016 campaign account.
“It wasn’t intentional on my part,” said Stisher, 63. “It was an oversight on my campaign that I’m responsible for. I’ve been upfront with authorities when the mistake was discovered and I haven’t tried to hide anything. I apologize to the people (of this county) and thank them for their past support and hope they’ll continue to support me.”
Stisher was accused of accepting campaign contributions of $1,000 each from the Decatur/Morgan County Chamber of Commerce and Mobile-based Volkert Engineering firm in late 2015 and not reporting it.
The Secretary of State’s Office in Montgomery found the discrepancy in 2018 and forwarded the information to the Alabama Ethics Commission. The ethics panel investigated and turned the case over to the Attorney General’s Office.
Stisher’s attorney Jacob Roberts said the word "intentional" was pivotal in the plea deal.
“Intentional is the key word and the difference between a felony and misdemeanor. My client’s actions were unintentional,” Roberts said.
A Morgan County grand jury indicted Stisher, saying he “did intentionally convert to personal use contributions to an office holder, a candidate or a public official’s inaugural or transitional fund.”
Ray Long, County Commission chairman, said Stisher’s case “is a personal matter and has no effect on the County Commission and its business.”