Pagani member denies leadership role in outlaw motorcycle club

March 11 – The man authorities have identified as the president of a local chapter of the Pagans Motorcycle Club returned in that description Friday from inside the county jail.

Michael Allan Murphy, 49, who faces a felony count of issuing a bad check in Flathead County District Court, said the Pagans boast too few members in the area to justify a chapter.

“To have a chapter in Kalispell you have to have a certain amount of guys,” Murphy said. “There is no chapter in Kalispell; there are only two guys in Kalispell who are associated with them as well. It’s more about riding and things like that.”

Officials identified Murphy as the club’s chapter president while announcing his Feb. 28 arrest in a March 3 press release. Probation and parole officers, in conjunction with the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office and the Kalispell Police Department took Murphy into custody in the Empire Loop area. an active parole violation warrant, officials said.

Another man taken into custody on outstanding warrants at the same home as Murphy was described by law enforcement as the vice president of the local chapter.

Sheriff Brian Heino said Friday that authorities determined Murphy’s alleged leadership status while investigating the 49-year-old. They already knew he was in the organization from pictures of him wearing motorcycle club patches, Heino said.

“During the investigation, the individuals identified, during witness testimony, who was the president,” Heino said.

While disputing the title, Murphy in a phone call with Inter Lake recognized his membership in the club, which he described as much less violent or criminal than reflected in popular culture.

“A lot of things you hear about the Pagans are from the old days,” he said. “There are bad apples in every group.”

Despite Murphy’s assessment, the United States Attorney’s Office considers the group an outlaw motorcycle gang. A man described as a national club leader in Raleigh, North Carolina, earned a 900-month prison sentence in early February after being convicted of drug trafficking, firearms and money laundering.

Murphy said he got involved in the motorcycle club looking for a way to bond with other men, often with checkers, trying to help others move forward.

“We’re portrayed as being bad asses and all that,” Murphy said.

Murphy has a long criminal history, with convictions for burglary, theft, bail jumping, forgery, criminal endangerment and deceptive practices, according to records with the Montana Department of Corrections. He admitted to his previous bad behavior but said he had spent the last few years living on the straight and narrow.

“I’m done,” he said. “I’m done with that part of my life.”

Despite his ties to the Pagans, Murphy is behind bars on a probation violation, he said. His only felony charge in district court stems from the alleged passing of bad checks and, according to court documents, he was released on his own recognizance in that case.

Prosecutors said Murphy wrote checks worth $31,148.20 between October 13 and 19, which were returned for insufficient funds. Murphy described the charge as stemming from a mix-up. The checks were written from his business account and he was expecting an incoming payment to cover the costs, he said.

“They’re really trying to nail me right now,” Murphy said. “They tried to take me out because of the fight.”

The fight refers to the massive brawl that broke out during a boxing event at the Majestic Valley Arena on February 11. Officials estimated 50 people were involved in the skirmish, which left two injured and a woman — Brandi Laree Partney of Walla Walla, Washington — facing felony charges in district court. Partney pleaded not guilty to assault with a weapon and tampering with or fabricating evidence at his Feb. 23 arraignment.

The fight, which officials said involved both Pagani and members of the Warlords Outlaw Motorcycle Club, remains under investigation by local detectives in cooperation with state officials and authorities in Washington state. Deputies were joined by Kalispell Police officers and Montana Highway Patrol troopers in responding to the fight.

Murphy said he was involved in sponsoring boxing matches. The event was supposed to be a good thing for the community, he said.

“It turned out to be a completely messy situation,” Murphy said.

His understanding is that the fight broke out when a patron refused to stop touching the motorcycles at the event. Arriving in the middle of the crash, Murphy said he jumped on his motorcycle and took off.

In retrospect, the whole evening was a mistake, he said.

“It makes me look like a threat to society and I’m a pretty nice guy with a big heart,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, yes, but I’m a pretty good man.”

News editor Derrick Perkins can be reached at 758-4430 or

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