Weimar goes to prison; Montana spread for sale

Lisa DemerAlaska Dispatch News

Bill Weimar, once king of Alaska's halfway houses, this week began serving a six-month prison sentence in Arizona for two federal felonies.

And back in Montana, where he's lived for years, his estate overlooking Flathead Lake is on the market for $5.25 million.

Weimar, 68, reported to U.S. Penitentiary Tucson on Monday, a spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Prisons said. The prison is high security, but he's at the nearby minimum-security prison camp, said his attorney, David Bukey of Seattle.

U.S. District Judge John Sedwick had recommended that Weimar serve his time at a federal prison in Sheridan, Ore., the closest one to Alaska. The prison bureau assigned him to Tucson; Weimar never requested to go there, Bukey said.

Weimar pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy and a financial charge related to his funneling money in 2004 to a political consultant for a state Senate candidate, knowing the candidate would back a private prison if he won. The candidate hasn't been named in court documents but matches the description of former Sen. Jerry Ward, who in 2004 made an unsuccessful bid to regain the seat he lost two years before.

In November, Weimar was sentenced to six months in prison, followed by six months of home detention and two years of probation. Sedwick also ordered Weimar to pay a $75,000 fine, noting he had "substantial annual income and net worth." A court filing summarizing his finances was sealed.

Weimar's spread in Big Arm, Mont., includes a six-bedroom home, two-bedroom caretaker's cottage, indoor shooting and archery ranges, equestrian center, two-lane bowling alley, heated swimming pool, racquetball and tennis courts and helipad, all on 60 acres.

"It's definitely an amazing property," said Missoula-based broker Jennifer Bertland, one of the listing agents. "It's set up to be your own little world, which is great because in this part of western Montana, you kind of need that."

Weimar had been living in Montana awhile and was ready to move on, Bertland said. Beyond that, she said, she couldn't talk about his personal life.

The estate has been on the market since early 2008, she said. They originally priced it at $9.75 million but with the economy in a slump, they reduced the price a few weeks ago. It usually takes a few years to sell a multimillion-dollar property, she said.

The Weimar place is at the end of a road with a top-of-the-world view of Flathead Lake, Wild Horse Island and the Mission Mountains.

"People that have these properties, they want to be tucked away," Bertland said.

In Alaska, Weimar was a leader in an effort to build a private prison here. The private prison group said the project would bring home hundreds of Alaska inmates being housed in Arizona because of crowding in state prisons. The project never happened.

Find Lisa Demer online at adn.com/contact/ldemer or call 257-4390.

Contact Lisa Demer at LDemer@adn.com or on