BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A sitting Fort Madison city councilman has been charged with a class C felony drug charge and was taken into custody today.
Travis Seidel, who represents Fort Madison’s 3rd ward, was arrested by the Lee County Narcotics Task Force Friday and charged with two counts of distributing hydromorphone, also known as Dilaudid, Hydrostat, Palladone, Dillies, hospital heroin, within 1000 feet of a school.
The charge is a Class C felony with an enhancement. If convicted Seidel could face up to 15 years in a state correctional facility.
According to a release from the task force, the arrest stems from an investigation by the task force into allegations that he was involved in the distribution of controlled substances in the Lee County area.
Mayor Brad Randolph said he was as disappointed as he was shocked.
“I just found out about an hour ago and my initial reaction is that I’m equally disappointed and shocked. It’s unfortunate, and he’s innocent until proven guilty, but I need to get all the relevant information and have a sit down with city staff and the council, and reach out to Travis and see what his thoughts are and after that go down a path that is best for the city,” Randolph said Friday afternoon.
“It’s not reflective of what we want from a city council member. We’re held to a higher standard. I find it unfortunate. If what they say happened, happened it’s unfortunate.”
City Manager David Varley said a city code doesn’t make the arrest an automatic removal.
“Obviously I haven’t talked with him. Any action would have to come after a fair hearing where he would be able to make his case and bring in witnesses if he wanted and things like that, but if he were convicted, upon conviction I think it takes a 2/3 vote of the full council to remove him, if that’s the action the council would want to take,” Varley said. “It’s a due process thing.”
According to the Lee County Sheriff’s office Seidel was arrested by law enforcement Friday morning at his home and was taken to the Lee County Jail, where he was given a pre-trial release.
The Lee County Attorney’s Office, Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office assisted the Lee County Narcotics Task Force in the investigation.