PORTER COUNTY - The official misconduct felony case against former Portage Clerk-Treasurer Chris Stidham got underway Tuesday, but came to an abrupt pause when the judge recused herself from the case over a past confrontation she had with Stidham.
When Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary DeBoer was serving as a court magistrate, Stidham, then an attorney, failed to show up for a family law case, which left his client without representation.
The judge told the "Times" that she was not happy with that and she called Stidham into her office to let him know that she did not want to see that happen again.
DeBoer said she had no further run-ins with Stidham, but she thought it would be best for her to recuse herself from the current misconduct case. The defense and prosecutors agreed.
The case has been transferred to Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford's courtroom, across the hall, and his acceptance of the case is still pending.
A plea of not guilty was entered on Stidham's behalf and further hearing dates are scheduled for December 11th and January 8th.
The 37-year-old is accused of misusing his position as the city of Portage's top fiscal officer to illegally pay $70,000 in city money to companies registered to his then-girlfriend, who is now his wife.
The wife, Rachel E. Glass is not accused of any wrongdoing.
Stidham served as Portage’s clerk-treasurer from 2013 until 2019. He has denied all wrongdoing in the case.