Ex-North Lee manager gets 3 years probation

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

ABERDEEN – Dan Durham, former North Lee County Water Association manager, was sentenced Thursday to three years’ probation after a 2012 guilty plea to filing false federal reports.
He also must put in 100 community service hours and pay $5,909 in restitution to the water association.
Durham, 66, was sentenced during a 10-minute hearing before U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock.
He was forced to resign in October 2011 amid employees’ allegations of corruption.
The government accused Durham of one count of intentionally making false or fictitious statements to public agencies about water samples supposedly taken at sites throughout the water district.
Tests actually were taken at one site, 551 County Road 503, which is a rural Guntown address.
He faced up to five years in prison, plus a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Mims, the restitution portion of the sentence is “for the money spent testing the false samples that were collected and sent in at Mr. Durham’s direction.”
A few years ago, the defendant in a similar case out of Calhoun County was sentenced to six months’ house arrest.
Durham was represented by Ashland attorney Anthony Farese. Mims was prosecutor.
For his guilty plea, the government agreed not to charge him with any other crimes related to the false reports.
In 2011, NLCWA employees claimed his involvement in various misdeeds, including allegations that he forced them to work side jobs for him while they were on the clock at North Lee.
Other jobs occurred on properties owned by Mitchell Scruggs, then the board’s president and a well-known farmer and agri-businessman.
Scruggs and Durham denied the allegations, and Scruggs resigned from the board.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com