Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey announced in an Aug. 6 press briefing the Republican politician has been charged with first-degree property theft, according to WSFA-TV. Prosecutors claim Dismukes stole thousands of dollars from Montgomery-based Weiss Commercial Flooring between 2016 and 2018.
State Rep. Will Dismukes arrives at the Montgomery County Jail to turn himself in on felony theft charges. His attorney said he did not have any comment at this time. #alpolitics pic.twitter.com/u2aBSj7Z0c
— Todd Stacy (@toddcstacy) August 7, 2020
The company’s owners filed a May complaint with the district attorney’s office, alleging the state legislator had stolen a large sum of money during his employment.
“The warrant is signed for an amount exceeding $2,500. I will tell you the alleged amount is a lot more than that,” Bailey told reporters in a WSFA-TV recording.
Dismukes turned himself in on Thursday and was later released on bail, the Washington Post reported.
If convicted, the legislator would automatically be removed from office, according to AL.com.
“After countless hours of investigation, which consisted of witness interviews, obtaining bank records and gathering other evidence, a decision was made by myself and prosecutors in my office, along with these investigators, that probable cause existed that a crime had been committed,” Bailey expressed to reporters in the WSFA-TV-streamed meeting.
Here’s what you need to know about Will Dismukes:
1. Dismukes was Born in Alabama & Attended Faulkner University
At 16, he served as a page in the Alabama House of Representatives, the Advertiser added.
Dismukes earned his undergraduate degree in 2013 from Faulkner University, with a major in political science and government, his LinkedIn page reads.
He now shares a young son with his wife, Amber, the Advertiser continued.
2. Dismukes Suffered a Stroke at 22, Ending His Dream of Playing Professional Baseball
The Montgomery Advertiser reported that Dismukes was a “standout, All-America senior pitcher at Faulkner University” in November 2012.
The Milwaukee Brewers were scouting him at the time when he suffered a “massive stroke at 22,” the newspaper added.
Although he made a “remarkable recovery and even returned to the diamond that season,” he missed his shot at competing in the Major League Baseball draft, the Advertiser said.
3. Dismukes Was 28 When He Was Elected in 2018, Making Him the Youngest State Legislator at the Time
According to Ballotpedia, Dismukes assumed office in the Alabama House of Representatives on November 7, 2018. He was 28 at the time, making him the state’s youngest legislator , the Montgomery Advertiser added.
The Alabama native represents District 88 and his current term ends in November 2022, Ballotpedia indicated.
In August 2019, Dismukes ran for election to represent Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House, AL.com reported. He withdrew his campaign two months later, citing insufficient funds.
“Unfortunately, I was not able to raise the funds necessary to make this a viable effort. I have commitments to my family, my business, my community, my church, and House District 88 that proved too much to fulfill by staying in the congressional race,” he said in a press release obtained by the outlet.
“Gathering the resources necessary to win meant sacrificing each of those to an extent that I did not expect when I got in the race.”
4. Dismukes Came Under Fire After He Publicly Celebrated the Ku Klux Klan’s First Grand Wizard
Rep. Will Dismukes (R—1865) spent today honoring a KKK founder rather than a giant of the Civil Rights Movement. Both events were in Selma, but there really aren’t two sides to this.
— Alabama Democrats (@aldemocrats) July 26, 2020
On July 25, the freshman legislator posted on Facebook a now-deleted photo of himself giving a speech at a birthday celebration for Nathan Bedford Forrest, a former Confederate army general and the Klan’s first Grand Wizard, according to the Washington Post.
The celebration fell on the same weekend that former Georgia congressman, Alabama native and civil rights leader John Lewis was memorialized in Selma, the newspaper added.
Dismukes refused to resign after leaders on both sides of the aisle called for his removal, the Post said.
5. Dismukes Became an Ordained Minister in 2013
The aspiring politician was ordained in 2013, serving as a youth minister during his first campaign for office, the Montgomery Advertiser disclosed.
Although Dismukes was elected in 2019 as pastor of his Southern Baptist church, he resigned this July following widespread criticism surrounding his Forrest appearance, the Washington Post reported.