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Candidate responds to theft charges


Special Deputy Sanders County Attorney Steven Eschenbacher has filed two counts of felony theft against Naomi Leisz, a private attorney and a current candidate for Sanders County Attorney. The theft charges center around a piece of heavy equipment.

According to Naomi, this case has no business being a felony charge and is simply a “civil dispute between my ex-husband and myself.”

Naomi feels this is an unethical, tactical decision to discredit her as her runningmate Bob Zimmerman, Sanders County Attorney, could have filed this one year ago, but instead waited until now, just before election.

Eschenbacher’s affidavit claims that Leisz sold a Bobcat 783 Skid-Steer when she was not authorized to do so. He claims the equipment belonged to Leisz’s ex-husband, Gregory Leisz, who then sold the Bobcat to Richard Reedal after their divorce.

Reedal then loaned the Skid-Steer back to Gregory until Gregory left Montana. At that point, Reedal loaned the Bobcat to Jared Leisz, the Leisz’s son, to use for side jobs throughout his high school career.

The affidavit claims that Jared used the equipment to perform various jobs such as snowplowing, gravel spreading, and foundation work spanning over 3 years, until he moved to Missoula in 2016 and left the Bobcat at Naomi’s residence.

One weekend (the affidavit did not state a specific date), Jared returned to his mother’s home, and noticed the equipment was gone, the claim states. Upon asking his mother where it was, it is reported she said, “I sold it.” The document claims she said that since it was in her possession for over 6 months, she had rights to do so. Jared commented that he did not give her authority or permission to the Bobcat, the Affidavit positions.

Reedal located the Bobcat, by serial number confirmation, at Forefront Equipment LLC in Belt, Montana in September 2017 and gave this information to Deputy Wheeldon, who contacted the now-owner of the Bobcat in October and asked for a copy of the Bill of Sale. Tim Davey, of Forefront Equipment LLC, provided the Bill of Sale dated June 23, 2017, signed by Naomi, for $13,000.

Forefront Equipment had sold the Bobcat, which was located in Butte, Montana by authorities in mid-February 2018. It was arranged by Reedal to pick-up the Skid-Steer on March 8, 2018. Gregory went and picked-up the Bobcat and returned it to Trout Creek. Upon returning, Gregory then contacted Reedal and bought back the Bobcat from him for $20,000, the prosecution stated.

Naomi claims she represented Reedal, who happens to be her ex-husband’s close friend, 13 years ago in a realty case which they lost, costing Reedal over $1 million. “He now has a personal vendetta against me, and is a disgruntled ex-client of mine,” she stated.

“There is a lot more to this story,” Naomi commented, of which will be forthcoming. She has hired John Smith, of Smith & Stevens Law Offices in Missoula, to represent her. In addition, she is filing a formal complaint with the Commission of Political Practices against Zimmerman for what she feels as mismanaging this case, for his benefit.

“I have a very good relationship with my son. Our relationship is the most important part of all this,” Naomi stated. “The worst is that this is tearing my family apart,” she said, adding that her son is being forced to testify against her.

Zimmerman declined to comment on this case.


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