An executive assistant to Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor Randy Garrison pleaded guilty Monday to one charge of tampering with a public record, a Class 6 felony.
Brandi Bateman, 46, appeared out of custody at the Yavapai County Superior Court in Camp Verde. Garrison, who is also chairman of the Board of Supervisors, was present at the hearing.
Presiding Judge Michael Bluff said on March 18 that Bateman’s felony could be redesignated as a Class 1 misdemeanor, following the successful completion of probation.
According to her indictment, Bateman is accused of forging a letter addressed to the Office of the Arizona Attorney General Civil Litigation Division and purporting it to be authored by former Mingus Union Superintendent Penny Hargrove in January 2018.
According to a Sedona Police Department report, Bateman filed a complaint against the Mingus school board in October 2017, accusing board members of multiple Arizona Open Meeting Law violations. In January 2018, the board received a registered letter from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office regarding the complaint. Bateman obtained the letter and never gave it to Hargrove or anyone else on the school board, according to the police report.
The report stated Bateman had a “strained relationship” with Hargrove at the time. She agreed that her actions were setting up the district to fail, according to the police report.
Bateman currently serves on the Beaver Creek School Board as well as the governing board of the Copper Canyon Fire and Medical District.
Copper Canyon Fire Chief Terry Keller said he received a text from Bateman Monday night saying she wanted to fill him in on what happened.
“Without consulting our attorney, I am not sure how this proceeds,” he wrote in an email to the Verde Independent. “While it appears she plead guilty to a class 6 felony, this may well have been a legal strategy employed by her legal counsel to receive a reduced sentence.”
Keller continued, “I need to consult with our legal counsel to determine the ramifications of this. It may well be the judge might reduce the conviction to a misdemeanor, which might remove the requirement for resignation.”
Garrison could not be reached for comment.