Richard Dasen made headlines in northwest Montana again last week when his attorney filed appeals on a misdemeanor charge and five of six felony sex charges, for which the formerly prominent Kalispell businessman was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with 18 suspended.
While Dasen's sex cases continue to get press, other legal issues appear to have dropped off the public's radar.
Perhaps the most notable is the case of Chad Emery, an 18-year-old who was severely brain damaged when he choked on a marshmallow when he was 2. In 1995, a product liability settlement with the marshmallow maker netted $1 million for Emery. Of that, $500,000 was put into a trust managed by Dasen. Funds could be withdrawn only with Dasen's consent. Five years later, in 2000, Dasen filed a one-sentence letter with the district court in Kalispell saying the money, which was supposed to provide care for Emery over his lifetime, was gone.
When allegations that Dasen had spent millions procuring favors from women surfaced in February, the Montana Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) demanded an accounting of Emery's money from Dasen. The MDHHS expects to release a full report on the case in the near future.
When Winnifred Storli, who was in charge of disbursing money from a similar trust belonging to Russell Mosbarger, heard about the missing $500,000, she decided to request an accounting by Dasen of approximately $60,000 of Mosbarger's money which Dasen was entrusted to invest.
All but $1,433 of the money was accounted for, according to Mosbarger's attorney's report, but it was also found that Dasen had been investing it into his own businesses. In a report to the court, Storli was advised not to pursue a formal investigation into the accounting or profits made by Dasen's businesses using Mosbarger's money. Mosbarger's attorney stated that the investigations would only deplete the trust fund.
Instead, the report, filed May 31, recommended that Mosbarger simply seek reimbursement for the $1,433. According to court records, Mosbarger has yet to pursue that avenue.
The Independent was unable to reach Dasen's attorney for comment before press time.