Former Dilworth fire chief sentenced, wants city sanitation job back
MOORHEAD – Dilworth’s former fire chief who also was a city sanitation worker was sentenced Monday in a case in which he drunkenly threatened to burn down the homes of his former fellow firefighters.
Kurt Vernon Kennedy, 50, was sentenced in Clay County District Court to a year of supervised probation, according to the terms of a plea deal on a single count of misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
The terms of the deal, under which prosecutors dropped a felony charge of making felony terroristic threats, allow Kennedy to avoid jail time.
His attorney, Lisa Borgen, said Kennedy is involved in litigation with the city of Dilworth to get his old job back as a city sanitation worker.
“It should help in his quest to get his job back with the city,” Borgen said after court.
City officials fired Kennedy in February following the revelation that he threatened to burn down the homes of his former fire department colleagues as part of a plan for vengeance, according to a criminal complaint.
Kennedy had resigned from the fire chief’s position in September 2013.
At his sentencing hearing Monday, Kennedy told the court that the previous year had been a difficult one for him.
“I want to apologize to the people I’ve hurt – my family mostly, the city of Dilworth,” he said.
Since the events laid out in the criminal complaint, Borgen said, Kennedy has sought help for alcohol addiction and therapy for anger management.
She characterized the threat incident as a disorderly conduct event that got out of hand, and was blown out of proportion.
“I didn’t handle it well,” Kennedy said during the hearing. “I’m trying to change my life.”