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Thu, June 27

Former Prescott developer, state senate candidate gets trial delayed - again

Les Stukenberg, file/The Daily Courier<br>
Former developer and state senate candidate Elise Townsend and her attorney Albert Freeman arrive in Judge Thomas Lindberg's courtroom in January 2010.

Les Stukenberg, file/The Daily Courier<br> Former developer and state senate candidate Elise Townsend and her attorney Albert Freeman arrive in Judge Thomas Lindberg's courtroom in January 2010.

A Yavapai County Superior Court judge late Thursday granted Elise Townsend's request for a trial delay.

The trial was scheduled for July 7-9 and July 13-16 in Judge Warren Darrow's court in Camp Verde. Darrow agreed to delay the trial at least 60 days and a new date has not yet been set. This is the third delay.

Townsend is a former Prescott-area construction company owner and state senate candidate.

The Yavapai County Attorney's Office charged Townsend last fall with two Class II felonies, fraud schemes and theft by converting services or property. Each Class II felony can produce three to 12.5 years of jail time.

Townsend's motions for at least a 60-day trial delay stated several motions are pending, and new disclosures contain thousands of pages.

The Yavapai County Attorney's Office countered that the delay is not necessary.

Yavapai County Attorney's Office (YCAO) investigation reports allege Townsend took money from her company's bank account despite knowing it would cause numerous subcontractors' checks to bounce.

The investigators concluded that Townsend went to her bank in January 2007 and withdrew $180,000 from her Prime Excavation company's bank account shortly after her business partner Don Nahrgang deposited the money and wrote seven checks to subcontractors and suppliers worth a combined $174,395.

Townsend then immediately shut down the company, according to YCAO reports.

The YCAO concluded that Townsend's actions caused her business partner and nine businesses involved in a Prescott Lakes subdivision construction project to lose $308,585.

At least 34 people filed Arizona Registrar of Contractors complaints about Townsend Construction Co., which filed for bankruptcy in 2007. The bankruptcy filing listed at least 72 individual investors. Some were friends and employees of Townsend. That case is ongoing.

Townsend subsequently filed for personal Chapter 7 bankruptcy this past December in Mississippi, where she currently resides. A trustee filed a notice in that case stating there is no property available to cover $7.6 million worth of claims against Townsend.

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