A candidate for Missoula County commissioner who was fired twice as a criminal investigator by the Montana Department of Justice says politics were at play in his recent dismissal from a local investigation company.
“They’re saying it’s for work product. I’m saying it’s political,” said Mark Brady, the Republican challenger to incumbent Jean Curtiss in the Nov. 6 election.
Brady was fired by Equity Investigations six weeks ago and says he’s now running his own investigation business in town.
Beth Koch, owner of Equity Investigations and its parent company, Equity Process Management, confirmed that Brady worked for her company from 2006 until Aug. 28, 2012.
“Due to the privacy considerations I really have no further comment regarding Mark Brady’s employment at Equity Management,” Koch said Thursday. “But I will say Mark Brady’s political aspirations did not play a part in the situation.”
Brady spoke freely this week about his checkered employment past with the Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation but wasn’t ready to discuss in detail his departure from Equity.
“That’s in conflict right now, so we really can’t talk much about it,” he said.
Brady did say he refused to put his private investigator’s license in jeopardy by carrying out certain assignments that he couldn’t specify.
“We were just going round and round, and it got to the point where I was being asked to do stuff and I said, ‘Naw, it ain’t going to happen,’ ” he said.
Legal action is pending, and “I’ll have the last say eventually,” he added.
Brady, 56, grew up in Missoula and graduated from Loyola High School before serving four years in the Air Force. He cites his long career as a criminal investigator on his campaign website.
He spent seven years with the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office – the last three as a property crime detective and then a narcotics detective – before beginning work with the Department of Justice’s Criminal Investigation Division in 1985.
Brady’s time with the state agency was marked by a fast rise to the position of agent in charge of the Missoula region and a demotion in 1992 that Brady appealed, unsuccessfully, to the Montana Supreme Court.
He was dismissed from the department in 1996 after being charged with perjury, then was reinstated a year later under orders of an arbitrator.
Six years later, in May 2003, he was fired from the Department of Justice again, this time for using state time and resources to conduct an unauthorized investigation into a Missoula Police Department case that involved a relative of Brady’s. Brady appealed but lost, and he chose not to pursue the matter further.
“I was still paying off legal bills on my first (appeal) when I was demoted in 1992,” Brady said. “I didn’t have money to fight them, and my wife said, ‘I don’t think God wants you to be there any more.’ ”
After spending the next couple of years helping wife Bobbi in a business venture, Chocolate Necessities, he joined Equity Management in 2006 as a process server. Brady said at the management’s behest he renewed his license in order to open up the company’s private investigation department.
He believes he was one of only three licensed private investigators with the company when he was fired.
Brady’s dismissal from Equity came in the heat of the political campaign season.
He’s seeking public office for the first time, on a platform of improving Missoula County’s economy, limiting government and lowering property taxes.
Brady said he expected his past employment issues to come to light as the campaign winds down, and said he welcomed the chance to talk about them.
“It’s too bad that we’ve got to go this route instead of the issues, but I am not surprised,” Brady said. “Like I’ve said in my stump speeches, my biggest thing is I question rules and regulations, I question if I think what I’m told to do is wrong. I question authority.”
He’s never been a well-liked employee, he allowed, “because I wouldn’t play politics, I wouldn’t play those games, I wouldn’t do certain things that they ordered me to do, and that’s what has happened.”
“What I’ve told people,” Brady added, “is maybe as county commissioner, where I can’t get fired except for by the people, I can question everything.”
Reporter Kim Briggeman can be reached at 523-5266 or at email@example.com.