by Ivan Foley
Things didn’t go exactly as planned during a court hearing for Kenneth Bozenhardt, the now-former facilities director for Platte County who had been charged with a felony count of theft/stealing last summer while still conducting his duties as facilities director.
Despite being given a reduced charge by prosecutors, Bozenhardt’s day ended with him being sent to jail after the court presumed him to be intoxicated at the time of his plea.
At the court hearing held Friday, Platte County Circuit Court Judge James Van Amburg ordered Bozenhardt to jail on a bond of $10,000 cash only. He was booked into custody and an updated mug shot was taken.
As of Landmark deadline for this story, Bozenhardt remained behind bars, with his next court appearance set for Thursday, Jan. 12 at 1:30 p.m.
He is being held in the Buchanan County Jail. Authorities told The Landmark that is because of his position as facilities director, Bozenhardt has knowledge of the intricacies of the Platte County Jail.
Before the intoxication determination, things were going Bozenhardt’s way during Friday’s court appearance. Prosecutors had amended Bozenhardt’s original charge of theft/stealing to fraudulent use of a credit/debit device (value of $500 or more), a reduction of the original charge but still a felony.
Bozenhardt, appearing in the courtroom with his attorney Jeremy Webb, pled guilty to the amended charge and the court initially accepted his plea of guilty. A sentencing assessment report was waived, the court suspended imposition of sentence and placed Bozenhardt on probation for three years.
He was also ordered to pay restitution to Platte County in the amount of $1,295 plus a $75 prosecuting attorney fee within 30 days.
But then the order for fingerprinting was conducted. While doing the fingerprinting, deputies reported an odor of intoxicants on Bozenhardt and the court ordered a blood alcohol content (BAC) test.
According to court documents, results of the BAC came back at .078.
As a point of reference, the legal limit for driving is .08.
According to court documents, “the court presumes the defendant intoxicated at time of plea and therefore sets aside the defendant’s plea of guilty.”
Last August, Bozenhardt was charged with a felony count of theft/stealing. He posted bail shortly after being charged with the crime. At that time he had been held on a $2,000 surety bond.
He was fired by the Platte County Commission days after the charges were announced in early August.
Authorities allege Bozenhardt spent nearly 15 months improperly using the county’s business account at Home Depot. Some of the items he purchased were used to build a beer garden at his home. In addition, he is accused of using a county credit card to purchase alcohol.
Authorities allege that while county facilities director, Bozenhardt used county funds to purchase several items for personal use, including a lawn mower, welder, tool cabinet, sun shade, flower pots and cedar boards.
Police executed a search warrant at his residence on Ode Road in rural Platte County and say they recovered several of the items that had been purchased with county funds.
The beer garden was effectively dismantled in the process of executing the search warrant, authorities told The Landmark.
The investigation also showed Bozenhardt allegedly purchased Sailor Jerry Rum at a local gas station using the county’s credit card. Court documents also allege Bozenhardt admitted taking $200 in 2016 after scrapping materials from maintenance jobs around county facilities.