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Saturday
Mar282015

Town of Palisade: Not so Peachy these days!

VetTheGov over the past few weeks has spent some time focusing on the Town of Palisade government.  Palisade is one of those communities still small enough that any mishaps from within and everyone knows what happened before the story hits the local papers.  Yes the rumors are still floating around town about certain town officials but no one really wants any more press since the marijuana operations have already divided the town.

VetheGov will lead off with the most recent CORA request made on Monday March 24, 2015 at 9 AM for the mayor, town manager, and town clerk's calendars from the last 12 months along with any special meetings called by the board of trustees but especially any private meetings called between the mayor and the town manager.  The reason for these specific request is that the town manager and the mayor have been spending lots of time together lately and there are specific Colorado state statutes C.R.S. 24-6-401C.R.S. 24-6-402 that get violated when these special secret meetings occur.  In addition to the open meeting statute violations the town government also missed the 72-hour window regarding the specific CORA request on open meetings.  The town requires all employees to sign an Oath of Office to support the Colorado Constitution, the Constitution of the United States, and the Colorado State Statutes.  It's the typical we are immune syndrome of not following the law and having unchecked power beholden to the town leaders from the board of trustees.  This happens when the taxpayers within the town limits become too lazy to keep their elected in check!

Another event not on the radar was a recent poaching incident involving an elk near the secured Palisade watershed.  No hunting is authorized in this area yet a dead elk was discovered this last November in which the Dept. of Wildlife were called to investigate.  Cameras were installed after the fact and photos obtained pointed to Mike Littleton being seen in the photos but gave no indication he committed the crime.  However public works director Frank Watt and town manager Rich Sales took the investigation into their own hands and tried to force a confession from this public works employee.  Interesting that Frank Watt was involved in a DOW investigation when he himself has had a recent run in with the law.  What was just a another town rumor of a DUI arrest was confirmed by VetTheGov in a CBI report obtained via the internet.  Has Frank Watt been driving a town provided vehicle since the arrest?  Were the board of trustees made aware of the arrest?  How about the town manager knowing?  Maybe the town citizens need more answers on this specific situation!

Next up are the 13 current sex offenders located in Palisade.  VetTheGov located eight sex offenders registered very near Taylor Elementary School on the Colorado Bureau of Investigation website mostly for Sex Assault on a Child.  One of the them even shows Taylor Elementary as their registered address.  Is it no wonder the Town is having issues with repeat offenses.  Here is a KKCO story of a recent arrest. http://www.nbc11news.com/home/headlines/Sex-offender-charged-with-sexual-assault-in-Palisade-220531561.html  2014 had approx. 12 re-offenses by sex offenders all from Palisade.  Must be the socially progressive board of trustees mindset of creating the utopia for anything goes.  Mayor pro tem Dave Edwards could very likely speak to these ideals as he is on many LGBT-GLBT boards and committees and pitched the slogan he wants to be the socially progressive voice in Mesa County when he ran for Commissioner seat back in 2012. 

Since sex seems to be a theme in Palisade these days let's look at a few internal issues that have been rumored or actually had complaints filed.  In 2005 a complaint was filed against former public works employee Rick Hodson in which after the investigation the entire town government were required to take sexual harassment training.  What's interesting in this specific case is that the town along with their retained attorney Ed Sands has replied in a letter that these are confidential issues not to be made public.  But wait aren't these the exact situations taxpayers should know about since they usually end up in lawsuits that the taxpayers are told to settle???  So much for transparency! 

Moving forward to 2012 when then Chief Carrol Quarles resigned under allegations of sexual harassment.  EEOC complaints filed around every corner and CIRSA is called to come in and provide an independent investigation.  But are they truly independent?  Well they only represent the Town of Palisade not the employee involved in the accusations.  Then comes Mike Nordine to save the day in Palisade as the interim appointed police chief yet even he got caught up in the sexcapades in Palisade.  Rumor on the streets were the town clerk and the interim chief were spending lots of time together in the office and away from the office.  By April of 2013 the two of them both filed for divorce within 24-hours of each other and within two case numbers of each other.  During these early months of 2013 the town clerk even had town police called to have her removed near town hall for being intoxicated and out of control.  VetTheGov requested the cell phone records of the town clerk for the past two years in which the town pays $50.00 per month towards the personal phone yet when reviewing the phone records provided over 99% of the calls or text were redacted!  Sounds like great fiscal discipline by the town manager.  VetTheGov also requested emails between the town clerk and interim police chief and only seven were provided.  Maybe the communications in Palisade are done using private phone text messaging but no one will ever know.  The payoff for this behavior was awarded the Deputy Chief rank at the Grand Junction Police Department and continued employment as clerk in Palisade. 

Fiscal discipline and servicing the taxpayers and businesses within the town lately seem to be sold out for marijuana and alcohol but only for winners in the governments eyes.  But take Inari's restaurant in Palisade, Inari's sells liquor in the restaurant and needs a license to do this.  In the past the town clerk has always made it very easy for Inari's to renew.  Yet under the new watch of the newly appointed town clerk there was no longer this type of service provided.  Inari's, due to the lack of service provided from the clerk's office, lost his license for approx. four months almost having to move the business away from the town.  Inari's protested by posting a message in their restaurant business for town incompetence and was publicly called out by trustee Penny "citizen of the world" Prinster to not get his liquor license until he publicly apologized to the town and the town manager.  Trustee Prinster voted no for the renewal liquor license proving the point they have the power based on emotion to pick winners and losers within their community.  Listen to the brow beating here.  So often businesses that pay more than their fair share of taxes must also wax the behinds of those in power in order to make a living.  So it goes in the Town of Palisade. 

Back in 2007 the town was handed the old high school from District 51 school board.  Since then newly installed solar panels and A/C units remain unused and not connected however serviced four times annually.  The building itself is used very little but for whatever fiscally conservative reasons the town continues forth with grants and expenses of a building the town loses on.  But again they get to pick the winners and losers and if they are losers the more money gets thrown that way in order to save face and in order to grow the trophy building collection.   In the meantime the town will continue to hear all the budget shortfalls and needed funds to continue their poor over-spending habits and audacious salaries. 

Since the progressive thought has entered into the equation in Palisade it seems each and every trustee board meeting offers a needed change in either an ordinance or resolution.  Each and every time this happens there is a reason behind the needed urgent change yet these changes often go unchecked.  Lately it seems that marijuana and money are the main driving force behind so many of the changes.  The children within these recreational marijuana retail buying locations will place many of them within school zones and within child care locations causing conflicts with federal and state laws.  So remember Palisade, the trustees and town officials are only looking out for the best interest of themselves and not the kids.  They will make it all sound nice and wonderful but at the end of the day watch the progressive transformation of a non-transparent government taking care of their winners and trashing the losers!   

Stay tuned as more to come from the wonderful Town of Palisade non-transparent all-powerful government!

UPDATE:  Received this email on 3/29/2015

Subject: Palisade not so Peechy
Message: To follow up, the town manager recently placed the Police Chief on admin leave because he was looking into all these allegations. I have to wonder if it was because he was getting to close to finding out the truth.

As a former board of trustee of the town when I asked or inquired into these allegations I was quickly informed that personnel issues where not my concern. I informed them that the town clerk and town manager was hired directly by the board. I was then informed I would be violating the sunshine laws.

Great article, I hope it goes further than a web site the common citizen doesn't know exists

Thanks,
David Adams

Wednesday
Feb252015

Undersheriff Rebecca Spiess signed off on several Senator Steve King's 2013 Time Sheets!

VetTheGov finally received former Senator Steve King's time cards from Mesa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) after several request last year.  Now that former Senator King has plead guilty to felony embezzlement and misdemeanor misconduct, VetTheGov performed an audit of 2013 MCSO time sheets submitted and compared them to the Colorado Mesa University time sheets submitted.  See the 2013 audited time sheets here

MCSO Undersheriff Rebecca Spiess signed off on Four of Six 2013 Senator King time sheets.  These time sheets placed Senator King at both MCSO and CMU at the same exact times and in many of the overlaps were at least Five hours each of these days. The grand total of 196.5 hours at $25.00 per hour rate or $4912.50 were allowed directly by the Undersheriff or by her command staff.  How does a command staff lose track of a Senator leaving for over Five hours or simply not know that King was hanging out at CMU?  One has to wonder at the complete and utter incompetence from behind the MCSO thin green line command staff.  Yet under newly elected Fourth Amendment violator Sheriff Matt Lewis, Rebecca Spiess is still the MCSO Undersheriff!  

VetTheGov believes the Undersheriff and then Sheriff Stan Hilkey allowed the embezzlement to occur because as the Senator mentioned to the Arapahoe County District Attorney investigator during the interview the Senator has always been allowed to embezzle the taxpayers over the years!  Surely many insiders at MCSO knew this very well. VetTheGov wonders what really happened in May of 2014 that caused the Sheriff and Undersheriff to turn on the Senator and his time card madness?  Many questions will forever persist from this event along with the timing and release of the internal affairs investigation performed by Undersheriff Spiess which has never been investigated.  It also leaves open the question as to how many hours since 2007 were signed off as valid worked on duty hours with a missing in action elected representative?  Mesa County citizens can't have access to what should be the most transparent agency in the county because discretion reigns with the Sheriff and Undersheriff.

The same amount of hours 196.5 were also embezzled from CMU by super cop Senator King, who often could be in two places at the same exact times, for a grand theft total of $4170.00 additional taxpayer dollars.  However Steve King only plead to an amount noted in the Grand Junction Sentinel of $4862.00.  Based on the VetTheGov audit the total theft in the 2013-2014 time card scandal was actually $9082.50.  Who at CMU is responsible for allowing this criminal activity to persist?  Don't snoop to close as many have a very clear idea of the inner circle connections in this valley that manipulate the masses for personal gain.

VetTheGov also audited Senator King's legislative calendar for conflicts that include lunch breaks or meetings during on duty MCSO or CMU billed hours.  See the 2013 legislative audited calendar here.  Calendar time sheet shows 29 conflicted hours billed for another $657.50 of your tax dollars!

This is why Mesa County citizens have lost complete confidence in our local government officials for incidents such as these but for whatever reasons they continue forth in their day to day's with ZERO ACCOUNTABILITY!!!  VetTheGov in the very near future will push forth the placing of a Citizens Review Board as it is way overdue in Mesa Valley governments.  Thanks for reading and enjoying VetTheGov and stay tuned as more corruption coming to light in the very near future!  

Sunday
Feb012015

Broad Discretion or Rubber Stamp Corruption?

VetTheGov in previous stories laid out evidence of a corrupt politician caught up once again in ethical reporting requirements and theft of tax payer dollars.  Since VetTheGov has been involved in supplying evidence to the Arapahoe County District Attorney which led to a guilty felony plea bargain by former Senator Steve King, it is apparent the Denver District Attorney has broader powers based on the recent court dismissal of Civil Case 14CV630.

In this case of 14CV630 VetTheGov just wanted the Denver DA to perform his duties under the rule of law but is apparent now that true independent investigations are necessary when public elected officials are suspected of criminal and ethical behavior.  If there is such broad discretion given to district attorney's which allow them to play judge and jury and give very poor reasoning for not pursuing justice for the people of Colorado then WHY DO WE NEED JUDGES & JURIES?  The buck should stop at the DA's office based on the their own definition of broad discretion.  You see Senator King for years cuddled with the Justice department and brought forth multiple bills making their jobs so much easier so the leniency and wrist slap has been well received and noted. 

Based on the failure to investigate the evidence provided which again led to convictions in Mesa County this ruling ALLOWS criminal activity by those we elect and with rubber stamp appointees allowing the broad discretions by those we give power.  VetTheGov can assure you that newly appointed by Governor Hickenlooper Judge Karen Brody is very favorable to Big Nanny and the cronies associated within their club!  Needless to say for those paying attention you are screwed and don't dare try and discredit the system for it is well in tact for the CORRUPT & CORRUPTABLE!

Saturday
Dec132014

VetTheGov receives answer from Denver DA 

Earlier this week VetTheGov received an answer from Denver DA Mitchell Morrissey regarding the civil action taken against Assistant DA Joseph Morales. See previous VetTheGov story for background. Regardless of any future court rulings VetTheGov is highlighting the Judicial process towards elected officials versus ordinary citizens and the very Broad scope given to the EXECUTIVE BRANCH of your government. At minimum the Denver DA has been compelled to provide the People of Colorado and Citizens of District 7 his reasoning for not pursuing charges against a State elected official and hopefully shows how easy it is for a government to become corrupt when We the People leave it for elected officials to hold themselves accountable! 

Click to See response from Denver DA. 

District attorneys are not part of the judicial branch of government; they belong, instead, to the executive branch.

 People v. Dist. Court, 632 P.2d 1022, 1024 (Colo. 1981). As executive officers, they have broad discretion in the performance of their duties. Id.; J.S. v. Chambers, 226 P.3d 1193, 1200 (Colo. App. 2009). "The scope of this discretion extends to the power to investigate and to determine who shall be prosecuted and what crimes shall be charged." Dist. Court, 632 P.2d at 1024; see also People v. Renander, 151 P.3d 657, 659 (Colo. App. 2006) ("[A]s a general matter, the power to initiate, alter, or dismiss charges rests solely within the prosecuting attorney's discretion, and may not be controlled or limited by judicial intervention.").

Here are links of cases mentioned in the DA's answer:

Schupper v Smith

Sandoval v Farish

Tooley V District Court

People v District Court COLO 1981

Gansz v People COLO 1995

Stay tuned for future communications with the District Court. VetTheGov would also like to clarify to the general public that this is not a personal agenda against any individual. VetTheGov is hoping for more transparency and accountability in elected public sector paid officials. VetTheGov wants the Rule of Law to be followed especially by those forcing them upon us with no Double Standands or Special Favors. If these infractions go unpunished then who is there to stop any future misdeeds? 

Sunday
Nov162014

VetTheGov files Civil Action against Denver DA Morales

On November 12, 2014, VetTheGov filed a Civil action 14CV630 against Denver DA Joseph Morales under C.R.S. 16-5-209 requesting DA Morales to explain to a District Court Judge why he has refused to file charges against Senator Steve King's multiple ethics violations committed in Denver County.  

VetTheGov provided a very thorough analysis and provided detailed evidence regarding the ethics concerns by Senator Steve King.  VetTheGov initially sent a Complaint to the Denver DA's office on September 5th, 2014 and received a letter back from Chief Deputy DA Morales on September 11, 2014 requesting additional information.

VetTheGov responded back to DA Morales on September 21, 2014:

Conflict of Interest:

First point I would make here is that Senator King's contract at CMU ended December 31, 2013 and therefore the the 18 months for Statute of Limitations would extend from that point up until middle of year 2015.

Further 2013 Legislation show the following Yes votes that favored higher education in which once again no recusal from Senator King regarding the conflict of interest vote.  The Legislative Audit committee Senator King was appointed to in sessions 2013 and 2014 placed him in a position of regulatory authority over CMU violating CRS 24.18.108 which states below the proof needed for Breach.  

(1) Proof beyond a reasonable doubt of commission of any act enumerated in this section is proof that the actor has breached his fiduciary duty.

(2) A public officer or a state employee shall not:

(a) Engage in a substantial financial transaction for his private business purposes with a person whom he inspects, regulates, or supervises in the course of his official duties;

(b) Assist any person for a fee or other compensation in obtaining any contract, claim, license, or other economic benefit from his agency;

(c) Assist any person for a contingent fee in obtaining any contract, claim, license, or other economic benefit from any state agency; or

(d) Perform an official act directly and substantially affecting to its economic benefit a business or other undertaking in which he either has a substantial financial interest or is engaged as counsel, consultant, representative, or agent.

(3) A head of a principal department or a member of a quasi-judicial or rule-making agency may perform an official act notwithstanding paragraph (d) of subsection (2) of this section if his participation is necessary to the administration of a statute and if he complies with the voluntary disclosure procedures under section 24-18-110.


The bills are as follows:  SB13-199 which directly impacted CMU's ability to borrow more under the States umbrella.  I have already supplied the 2013 additional Bond debt CMU established after this vote.  From the Fiscal impact notes on the bill State Expenditures:

Pursuant to the new credit and coverage test, one institution of higher education, Colorado Mesa University (CMU), will be newly eligible to borrow under the intercept program. CMU has indicated that upon passage of Senate Bill 13-199, it will refinance existing debt to realize up to $600,000 in cost savings. Other institutions of higher education indicate that the new credit and coverage test may decrease the cost of future planned debt.

SB13-033 again allows higher education facilities increased revenue in which CMU is one of these.  From the fiscal impact notes:

Increase in higher education tuition revenue. This bill will increase revenue from tuition by about $2.0 million in FY 2013-14 and by about $3.0 million in FY 2014-15. Revenue from tuition is collected and spent by the governing bodies of the state institutions, and is not appropriated by the General Assembly in the Long Bill. Due to enterprise status, this revenue is not counted against state revenue limitations in the Colorado Constitution. 

Since the statute of limitations extend into 2015 all 2014 bills Senator King voted on or sponsored would still fall under the conflict of interest violations regarding CMU contract.  They are as follows:

HB14-1249 Senator King voted Yes in which CMU received $21,264,974.00 in capital improvement funding.

HB14-1336 Senator King voted Yes to all appropriations that would fund Colorado higher education including all monies to CMU.

Finally Senator King directly benefited personally by voting on state funding opportunities for CMU by being paid from these funds but the statute clearly states all that is needed is he benefited and CMU benefited with substantial financial gain.  The beyond reasonable doubt can be attributed to the fact that Senator King decided to hide this income on his required annual disclosures because it couldn't pass the Smell Test mentioned in attached Conflict of Interest opinion by the Colorado Independent Ethics Committee 11-11 regarding appearance of Impropriety.  Senator King not only failed to disclose on his annual required disclosure but failed to disclose in all his committee assignments and on actual legislative voting.  If Senator King would have sent a letter or email to the Independent Ethics Commission asking for clarification on his additional state and local contracts then he might possibly have a defense.  However Senator King never requested such a response and again never disclosed.  If this type of behavior is allowed with no charges filed then it opens the door to much more unethical behavior now and in the future and quite simply any other elected or state employee could use their positions for personal gain by contracting without disclosure with any other state or local government agencies with zero accountability.

CMU & MCSO Contracts:

Senator King as mentioned under conflict of interest paragraph above notes that he was also on the Judicial Committee that directly voted on legislative efforts kind towards the judicial and law enforcement communities which places Senator King once again in a position of regulatory position over the judicial agencies such as the DA's office in which Mesa County DA Pete Hautzinger attended with the Senator.  

One specific bill directly supported by Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey was SB13-013 in which Senator King was the Main sponsor of the bill.  See attached letter from Sheriff Stan Hilkey.  This was a very broad bill that brought much controversy from the citizenry regarding special powers given to federal agencies.  This shows Senator King not acting on behalf of the People of Colorado's interest but in turn for those only with a badge.  If you need any legislative or committee votes regarding MCSO there are plenty.

Senator King also was appointed to the Senate Judiciary Committee in which he directly voted on numerous bills that benefited MCSO and the Judiciary Branch in general.  Senator King again did not recuse himself in any votes that directly benefited MCSO especially when voting on the Long Bills HB14-1336 that would finance those departments and in turn finance his contracted positions.  I would also like to bring to the attention that during Senator King's temporary appointments at MCSO the department had significant budget cuts and layoffs yet Senator King was always able to get a contract and bill hours against the public general fund which in turn resulted in three felony charges and two misdemeanor charges by DA Hurlbert since all other local agencies actually recused themselves due to conflict of interest relationships with the Senator.  How ironic.

Venue:
This was only used as an example and I believe Senator King is facing charges regarding this and other similar events of appearing in multiple places at the same time in many different venues.  I would again refer to comments under conflict of interest and contracts above.

Statute of Limitations CRS 16-5-401:

I would argue the CMU contract ended December 31, 2013 and the January 10, 2014 disclosure attached was just another opportunity for Senator King to disclose the income received from CMU since its states on the form Income Change but the box was not marked.  Otherwise the 2013 Contract began on July 2013 in which per CRS 24-6-202(3) & (4) shows an amended disclosure would be required for this new income contract therefore the Statute of Limitations for the 2013 CMU contract would be either from July 2013 and 18 months forward or December 31, 2013 and 18 months forward. Would agree some of the Title 24 misdemeanor violations are not within the statute of limitations however they prove history that these events are just a recent mistake but an obvious failure to disclose due to the ethical smell test created in Title 24 Statutes.

I would like to request more investigation into the internal mechanisms within our local agencies as what appears special favors for local elite players in Mesa County.  If you are unable to perform would you please offer a place to go since it has become public knowledge that our local government is unable to hold itself accountable.

Thanks for time and attention and I look forward to your responses! 
DA Morales sent a letter stating that he believed he could not file any charges not for the fact they occurred but supposedly the Statute of Limitations were expired.  VetTheGov sent the email below after receiving the reasoning from DA Morales:
Mr. Morales,

I appreciate your reviewing the information I sent regarding Senator Steve King.  I am disappointed to learn of your responses of no intent to prosecute and the language used in which no further action will be taken.  I respectfully disagree with your opinions and offer the following responses as to why:

Regarding the Conflict of Interest and Breach of Fiduciary Duty it is my belief you may want to revisit.  Senator King would of had an easy defense if he just simply disclosed the conflict and appearance of a conflict of interest.  However he has never disclosed this information and in fact he never disclosed to CMU that he held a position with Mesa County Sheriff's Office.  In revisiting the violation of C.R.S. 18-8-308 the statute is written that states OR OTHER PECUNIARY INTEREST.  If the statute stated AND then I would agree with your analysis.  However I have researched some very recent case law regarding Conflict of Interest and have provided a very strong 2013 Colorado Supreme Court analysis here in Ruiz v Hope for Children, Inc.
  http://www.cobar.org/opinions/opinion.cfm?opinionid=8975&courtid=1

IV. The Conflict of Interest Defense

¶13      Ruiz asserts that Hope for Children could not rely on the “conflict of interest” defense because there is no record evidence that Ruiz was “profiting at the expense of [Hope for Children] by dating Rodriguez.” We do not agree that the conflict of interest defense in the Lawful Activities Statute is limited to financial conflicts of interest.

¶14      Nothing in the plain language of section 24-34-402.5(1)(b) limits actual or apparent conflicts of interest for which an employee may be terminated to financial conflicts of interest. Had the legislature intended to limit the defense to financial conflicts, it would have done so. In re Marriage of Hartley, 886 P.2d 665, 673 (Colo. 1994) (if the legislature intended statute to include a certain provision, it would have included it in the statute); Adams v. Corr. Corp., 187 P.3d 1190, 1193 (Colo. App. 2008) (“[I]t is presumed that the General Assembly meant what it clearly said.”). Indeed, a review of Colorado statutes reveals that where the legislature intended to limit the meaning of an actual or apparent conflict of interest to those situations involving financial gain, it did so. See, e.g., § 18-8-308 (2), C.R.S. 2012 (limiting “potential conflicting interest” to situations in which a public servant, among other things, owns or controls a substantial interest in any nongovernmental entity participating in a pecuniary transaction with which the public servant is connected); § 24-35-209(1)(a), C.R.S. 2012 (specifying that it is a conflict of interest for a member of the state lottery division to have “any personal pecuniary interest in any lottery or in the sale of any lottery tickets”). Because the legislature chose not to limit conflicts of interest in the Lawful Activities Statute to financial conflicts, we will not judicially engraft such a limit. See People v. Jaramillo, 183 P.3d 665, 671 (Colo. App. 2008) (courts must respect the General Assembly’s choice of language, and cannot add words to or subtract them from a statute); see also Scoggins v. Unigard Ins. Co., 869 P.2d 202, 205 (Colo. 1994) (“We will not judicially legislate by reading a statute to accomplish something the plain language does not suggest, warrant or mandate.”).

¶15      Nor are we persuaded by Ruiz’s reliance on Marsh v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., 952 F. Supp. 1458 (D. Colo. 1997). Marsh involved the firing of a Delta Air Lines baggage handler after he wrote a letter to the Denver Post criticizing his employer. 952 F. Supp. at 1460. The Marsh court noted that Delta was not justified in terminating the employee under the conflict of interest defense in the Lawful Activities Statute. Id. at 1464.1In so concluding, that court found, with little analysis, that the employee “was not disregarding his duties in favor of personal gain by writing the Post,” and that, therefore, “under the generally understood meaning of the term, [the employee] did not have any conflict of interest when writing to the Post.” Id. To the extent Marsh can be read for the proposition that the conflict of interest defense is limited to financial conflicts of interest, we do not agree that such an interpretation is consistent with the plain language of the statute. Further, we are not bound by a federal district court’s interpretation of Colorado law. See People v. Barber, 799 P.2d 936, 940 (Colo. 1990); see also Watson, 207 P.3d at 865 (“No Colorado appellate opinion has approved the Marshcourt’s analysis.”).

¶16      Similarly, we do not read Marsh as establishing the alternative requirement, suggested by Ruiz, that Hope for Children needed to prove that dating Rodriguez actually interfered with Ruiz’s ability to perform a job-related duty. Again, the plain language of section 24- 34-402.5(1)(b) does not contain any requirement that a conflict of interest actually interfere with an employee’s ability to perform her job. To the contrary, the conflict of interest defense expressly contemplates that an employer may restrict an employee’s lawful, off-the-job activities not only where an actual conflict of interest exists, but also where there is an appearance of such a conflict. § 24-34-402.5(1)(b). Were we to adopt Ruiz’s construction, and read the statute to require an employer to establish that a conflict actually interferes with an employee’s job, it would render the phrase “the appearance of such a conflict of interest” meaningless. This we will not do. See Well Augmentation Subdistrict, 221 P.3d at 420 (court will not construe a statute in a manner that renders statutory language meaningless).

¶17      Finally, to the extent that Ruiz argues that Hope for Children was required to consider a less drastic alternative to termination, the plain language of the statute does not require the employer to do so. We will not impose requirements where the legislature did not. Turbyne v. People, 151 P.3d 563, 567 (Colo. 2007) (“We do not add words to [a] statute or subtract words from it.”).

¶18      Accordingly, we conclude that the trial court did not err in declining to adopt Ruiz’s narrow interpretation of the conflict of interest defense.

V. Sufficiency of the Evidence to Establish a Conflict of Interest
or the Appearance of a Conflict of Interest

¶19      Having rejected Ruiz’s invitation to limit the conflict of interest defense to financial or actual conflicts, we next consider whether the evidence supports the trial court’s order in favor of Hope for Children. We conclude that there was sufficient evidence to support the trial court’s conclusion that Ruiz’s romantic relationship with a client, or former client, of Hope for Children created, at a minimum, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Thus, we decline to disturb the trial court’s determination that Hope for Children did not wrongfully terminate Ruiz.

A. Standard of Review

¶20      When the sufficiency of the evidence is challenged on appeal, we must determine whether the evidence, viewed as a whole and in the light most favorable to the prevailing party, is sufficient to support the verdict. Parr v. Triple L & J Corp., 107 P.3d 1104, 1106 (Colo. App. 2004). In conducting our review, we draw every reasonable inference from the evidence in favor of the prevailing party. Harris Grp., Inc. v. Robinson, 209 P.3d 1188, 1201 (Colo. App. 2009).

B. Analysis

¶21      The Lawful Activities Statute does not define “conflict of interest” or the “appearance” of such a conflict. And given that the existence of a conflict, or the appearance of a conflict, is almost entirely dependent on context, determinations grounded on this legal basis must turn on the facts and circumstances of a particular case. This determination, then, is both context and industry specific. See City of Manassa v. Ruff, 235 P.3d 1051, 1055 (Colo. 2010) (term “conflict of interest” reflects various policy determinations, depending on the context in which it operates); Schupper v. People, 157 P.3d 516, 520 (Colo. 2007) (whether a relationship creates the appearance of a conflict of interest is a factual question that must be made on a case-by-case basis). The existence of a conflict, or the appearance of a conflict, is uniquely within the province of the fact finder. Benuishis v. Indus. Claim Appeals Office, 195 P.3d 1142, 1144 (Colo. App. 2008) (“Whether a conflict of interest exists is a question of fact.”); see also People v. Cnty. Court, 854 P.2d 1341 (Colo. App. 1992) (whether an appearance of impropriety exists is committed to the trial court’s discretion, and turns on the circumstances of each particular case).

¶22      The trial court concluded that the fact that Ruiz “may be required to testify in court regarding whether or not a client or former client . . . completed treatment” raised, at a minimum, the appearance of a conflict of interest with Ruiz’s job responsibilities. The court also concluded that the romantic relationship between Ruiz and Rodriguez created the appearance of a conflict of interest to third-party organizations from which Hope for Children received its funding, client referrals, and contracts. Specifically, the court found that the dating relationship had the potential to damage “the image and reputation of [Hope for Children]” by causing third parties to lose confidence in the reliability and professionalism of the organization, and that, in turn, could “endanger the grants that fund” Hope for Children.

¶23      Viewed as a whole and in the light most favorable to Hope for Children, the evidence is sufficient to support the trial court’s conclusions that Ruiz’s relationship with Rodriguez created an appearance of a conflict of interest with her job responsibilities. See Webster’s Third New International Dictionary 103 (2002) (“appearance” means the “outward show or image presented by a person or thing”); cf. People v. Schupper, 124 P.3d 856, 858 (Colo. App. 2005) (in judicial disqualification context, test for “appearance” of partiality is whether a reasonable person, knowing all the relevant facts, would harbor doubts about a judge’s impartiality), aff’d, 157 P.3d 516. In particular, the evidence established the following:

  • One of Ruiz’s job responsibilities at Hope for Children was testifying concerning the completion of court-ordered treatment by clients or former clients;
  • Rodriguez was court-ordered to attend a fatherhood class and did so through Hope for Children;
  • Ruiz and Rodriguez met while he was receiving services at Hope for Children, and Ruiz was expressly asked to assist Rodriguez in enrolling in a parenting skills class;
  • Because Rodriguez was court-ordered to attend a fatherhood class, if an issue arose regarding his compliance with the order, Ruiz, as the only Family Advocate, would have been required to verify (and potentially testify about) his participation and completion of the program;
  • Although Ruiz testified that she viewed Rodriguez as a former client of Hope for Children when she began dating him, Kammeier testified that Hope for Children does not “close” its files and has worked with some families intermittently for up to eight years, and that clients might “be gone for a few months and then they’re back”;
  • Similarly, the Executive Director of the Tenth Judicial District’s Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) testified that, in the social services field, many people express the view that “once a client, always a client”;
  • Kammeier further testified that 85 to 87% of Hope for Children’s budget comes from a federal grant to the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS). And she testified that, because Hope for Children receives many of its client referrals as a result of contracts with CDHS and Community Corrections, a policy permitting employees to date clients would negatively impact Hope for Children’s relationship and reputation with those organizations, resulting in a loss of clients and funding;
  • The former director of Social Services for Pueblo County, and a board member of Hope for Children, testified that a dating relationship between a social services organization employee and client or former client creates a conflict of interest in the form of an appearance of impropriety, “where the credibility of the agency to provide proper services” is negatively impacted;
  • And the executive director of CASA testified that a social services organization’s funding might be subject to revocation if it allowed its employees to date clients.

¶24      Given this testimony and the nature of the social services field, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support the trial court’s conclusion that the restriction on the dating relationship between Ruiz and Rodriguez was necessary to avoid, at a minimum, the appearance of a conflict of interest with Ruiz’s responsibilities to her employer. See Restatement (Second) of Agency § 380 cmt. a (1958) (“The nature of the business and the position of the agent determine . . . what conduct can be expected from [the agent].”).

¶25      Because we conclude that the court did not err in determining that Hope for Children met its burden under section 24-34- 402.5(1)(b), we need not address the remaining statutory defenses relied upon by the trial court. Rush Creek Solutions, Inc. v. Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, 107 P.3d 402, 406 (Colo. App. 2004) (“[W]e may affirm the trial court’s ruling based on any grounds that are supported by the record.”).2

As you read through the Case Law you notice the smell test once again is being used the appearance of a conflict or what a Reasonable Person would conclude.  Well I am a Reasonable Person and I conclude that Senator King was given opportunities at CMU and MCSO for the sole purpose of rewarding his efforts in the Colorado Legislative position that benefited all parties mentioned and not the citizens of the District he represented.  Thus Senator King violated and abused the Public Trust C.R.S. 24-18-103 appointed to him by the People!  Senator King either was 100% the owner of his private company either by his personal name or under American National Protective Services named as it's President & CEO.

I also located a conflict of interest manual from a state university and can visit it here.  As you can see there are options that can be taken so that Senator King's appearance of a conflict of interest could easily be avoided if he simply disclosed the contracts at CMU and vice versa CMU disclosing the fact they hired a sitting State Senator.   In Senator King's case neither party disclosed the relationship as required by law!
  http://www.facultycouncil.colostate.edu/files/manual/sectiond.htm#D.7.7.3

Here is CMU's Employee & Contracted personnel manual regarding Outside Employment:  http://www.coloradomesa.edu/hr/documents/CMU-PPEH-AllSections.pdf

3. Rules for Outside Employment. Professional Employees who engage in outside employment must abide by the following rules. Failure to do so may result in discipline or termination. Outside employment shall: 

a. Not interfere with the efficient performance of the employee's job; 

b. Not actually or apparently conflict with the interests of the University or the State of Colorado. "Apparently" conflict means that the employment would reasonably give rise to criticism or suspicion of conflicting interests or duties; 

c. Not conflict with the Code of Ethics for Public Employees, CRS 24-18-101 et. seq., as amended from time to time, and other statutes and regulations governing the conduct of public employees. 

d. Be in addition to, rather than part of, the normal time and effort expected of members of Faculty and Exempt employees in that Professional Personnel position. 

e. Not involve use of University resources, facilities, or property without prior written approval by the President regarding the specific exceptions requested to this rule. 

I have attached the the 2010, 2011, & 2012 disclosures that were simply marked Annual Update-No Change.  I also disagree with your viewpoint that the disclosure of the Conflict of Interest 2013 contract at CMU is invalid due to statute of limitations.  Following that logic Senator King would have to have known January 10, 2013 that he would have a July 2013 contract with CMU.  That is why under C.R.S. 24-6-202 (3) gives Senator King 30 days to disclose the July 2013-December 31, 2013 CMU contract.  Again C.R.S. 18-8-308 only allows a 72-hour window after the other pecuniary transaction began in July 2013.  

I provided several legislative votes during Senator King's entire contracted positions with MCSO and CMU in which those parties benefited and Senator King benefited.  Once again using the Appearance smell test provided in Ruiz v Hope for Children, Inc. and the fact once again no disclosures ever given by Senator King or CMU, the appearance and conclusion a reasonable person would find themselves at is that this was a favorable position given to a Colorado Legislator for favorable votes.  Even if these votes came before or after Senator King still held a position over both the MCSO and CMU by holding valuable positions in the Legislative Audit and Judiciary committees.  If Senator King disclosed his relationships under Colorado Constitution and Senate Rule 41 he would recused his votes for all stated parties he was associated with under private contract.

Here is the role and function of the Legislative Audit Committee:


8. What is the Legislative Audit Committee and its role in the audit process?

The Legislative Audit Committee plays a vital role in the overall audit process, including having the statutory authority to conduct public hearings on OSA reports and subpoena witnesses and records. The Legislative Audit Committee must vote to release an audit before it becomes publicly available. The Committee is not, however, involved in the day-to-day conduct of audits or in the development of audit conclusions or findings. 

The Legislative Audit Committee is a legislative oversight committee made up of four senators and four representatives. The Legislative Audit Committee is uniquely positioned to ensure accountability of state agencies’ activities and of the efficient and effective expenditure of public funds. As set forth in the Colorado Constitution and state statutes, the State Auditor ensures accountability by conducting audits that provide an independent, objective assessment of government operations, report on the use of taxpayer monies, and recommend improvements. The Legislative Audit Committee ensures accountability by reviewing the audit reports prepared by the State Auditor, releasing the reports to the public, questioning the audited agency in a public forum about the report findings and recommendations, and discussing the actions the agency plans to take to improve its operations. 

In addition to releasing audit reports and questioning audited agencies, the Committee examines and nominates a qualified candidate for State Auditor; approves the OSA’s budget; communicates significant audit report findings and recommendations to the General Assembly, the Governor, and other officials when necessary; and votes whether to approve audit requests submitted by members of the General Assembly or the Governor. To ensure agencies cooperate with the audit process, the Legislative Audit Committee also has the power to subpoena witnesses and records and take testimony under oath.

Here is his role and function on the Senate Judiciary Committee:

The Senate Judiciary Committee considers matters concerning civil and criminal proceedings, courts, judges, civil liberties, Colorado's constitution and statutes, the state's correctional system and prison facilities, homeland security, and juvenile justice.  In addition, the committee has legislative oversight responsibility for the Department of Corrections, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Law, and the Judicial Branch.


Mr. Morales your letter didn't stipulate if a crime was or was not committed, it only stated that you played judge and jury and I find no where in C.R.S. 20 that allows you this opportunity.  Under C.R.S. 20 and Rule 3.8 Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor, you do have the ability to bring said charges before a Grand Jury and let them decide if charges should be or not be filed.  The requirement is Probable Cause and not as a Judge and Jury.  I understand there may be more important cases you deem more appropriate to pursue but in the opinion of myself and the citizens of Mesa County Colorado that have openly stated they want an investigation into the CMU and Senator King relationship. You must act on the information provided and if necessary investigate it further through subpoena and in direct contact with CMU administration.  Otherwise what your office is implying is that it is absolutely valid to break laws and use positions of authority in elected office for personal gain and that once elected to a position of Power you can behave as a Lobbyist and get paid by other private or public organizations without disclosing these incomes.  I would argue emphatically C.R.S. 24-18-103 and the entire Code of Ethics enacted by the Colorado Legislative body denies this behavior by a public elected official. 

Senate Rule 41 also gives further clarification:

41. ETHICS

(a) Definitions. As used in this rule, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) "Close economic associate" or "close economic association" means the Senator's employer, client, employee, or partner or associate in business or professional activities; enterprises of which a Senator is a director or officer; corporations in which a Senator owns more than ten percent of the outstanding capital stock; an enterprise which is his significant unsecured creditor or of which he is a significant creditor; or a trust of which he is a beneficiary. It does not mean a bank or savings and loan association in which his interest is in the form of an account; nor an officership, directorship, or employment in a political, religious, charitable, or educational entity which returns compensation to him of less than one thousand dollars per year. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)

(2) "Close relative" means the spouse of the Senator and the following natural, adoptive, and adopted members of the Senator's family and the family of his spouse: mother, father, children, brothers, and sisters. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)

(3) "Enterprise" means corporation, partnership, proprietorship, association, or other legal entity (other than an estate or trust) engaged in business for profit. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)

(4) "Lobbyist" means any person defined as such in the Joint Rules of the Senate and House of Representatives. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47; 1988, SR 10, SJ, p. 1348)

(5) "Person" and "another" means an individual, partnership, association, corporation, or other legal entity. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)

(6) "State agency" means every department, commission, board, division, office, council, or other agency created as part of the state government pursuant to law and supported by state moneys. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)

(b) Conflicts of interest personal or private interests versus public interest definition. (1) Subject to article V, section 43, of the state constitution, a Senator has the right to vote upon all questions before the Senate and to participate in the business of the Senate and its committees, and, in so doing, he is presumed to act in good faith and in the public interest. When a Senator's personal interest conflicts with the public interest and tends to affect his independence of judgment, his legislative activities are subject to limitations. Where any such conflict exists, it disqualifies him from voting upon any question and from attempting to influence any legislation to which it relates. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)

(2) A question arises as to whether a personal or private interest tends to affect a Senator's independence of judgment if the Senator: (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)

(A) Has or acquires a substantial economic interest by reason of his personal situation, distinct from that held generally by members of his occupation, profession, or business, in a measure proposed or pending before the General Assembly; or has a close relative or close economic associate with such an interest. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)

(B) Has or acquires a financial interest in an enterprise, direct or indirect, which enterprise or interest would be affected by proposed legislation differently from like enterprises.(1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)

(C) Has or acquires a close economic association with, or is a close relative of, a person who has a financial interest in an enterprise, direct or indirect, which enterprise or interest would be affected by proposed legislation differently from like enterprises. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)

(D) Has or acquires a close economic association with, or is a close relative of, a person who is a lobbyist or who employs or has employed a lobbyist to propose legislation or to influence proposed legislation on which the Senator has or may be expected to vote. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)

(E) Accepts a gift, loan, service, or economic opportunity of significant value from a person who would be affected by or who has an interest in an enterprise which would be affected by proposed legislation. This provision shall likewise apply where such gift, loan, service, or opportunity is accepted by a close relative of the Senator. It shall not normally apply in the following cases: A commercially reasonable loan made in the ordinary course of business by an institution authorized by the laws of this state to engage in the business of making loans; an occasional nonpecuniary gift, insignificant in value; a nonpecuniary award publicly presented by a nonprofit organization in recognition of public service; or payment of or reimbursement for actual and necessary expenditures for travel and subsistence for a Senator's personal attendance at a convention or other meeting at which he is scheduled to participate and for which attendance no reimbursement is made by the state of Colorado. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)

(c) Undue influence definition. (1) A Senator, by reason of his office, is or may be in a position to bring undue influence on other legislators, public officials, or private persons. To use this potential for economic or private gain is an abuse of office and a matter of concern to the Senate, whether or not the act is also punishable under the criminal laws. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)

(2) The following limitations shall apply to legislative conduct and violations are declared to constitute undue influence: (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)

(A) A Senator shall not use his public position, intentionally or otherwise, to obtain or attempt to obtain any confidential information or special advantage for himself, a close relative, or a close economic associate. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)

(B) A Senator shall not sell goods or services to a state agency in a transaction not governed by the laws relating to public purchasing by competitive bidding, or intercede for or represent another in so doing; nor shall he in any way be interested in any contract to furnish supplies, printing, repairs, or furnishings to the General Assembly or any other state agency, contrary to section 29 of article V of the state constitution. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)

(C) A Senator shall not solicit, receive, offer, or give any bribe, contrary to the state constitution and the provisions of sections 18-8-302 to 18-8-308, 18-8-401, 18-8-402, 18-8-404, 18-8-405, and 18-8-407, C.R.S. 1973; nor shall he accept or give any compensation, gratuity, or reimbursement for voting upon any question or for attempting to influence legislation. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)

(D) A Senator shall not give or offer to give his vote in consideration of the vote of another member, contrary to the provisions of section 40 of article V of the state constitution.(1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)

(E) A Senator shall not attempt to influence any public official by deceit or threat, contrary to section 7 of article XII of the state constitution and section 18-8-306, C.R.S. 1973.(1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)

(d) When Senator permitted to vote. Nothing in this rule shall be construed as prohibiting a Senator from voting for a bill or other measure whose passage would adversely affect his personal or private interest or from voting against a bill or other measure whose defeat would adversely affect his personal or private interest; and nothing in this rule shall be construed to prevent a Senator from voting on the report of the committee of the whole, unless such vote is conducted solely on the bill or measure in which he has a personal or private interest. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)

(e) Applicability of rule. The provisions of this rule shall not apply as the basis for the recall of any measure by either house nor otherwise constitute the basis to contest the validity of any legislative action on any bill or other measure on which a vote was cast by any member of the Senate in violation of this rule. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)

(f) Legislators not to request donations to charitable organizations. A legislator shall not request a lobbyist or an employee of the General Assembly to make donations to any type of charitable organization. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47; 1988, SR 10, SJ, p. 1348)

You also state that the statute of limitations no longer allows charging of the disclosures however I would ask you kindly revisit as there is error in the dates you are suggesting specifically the 2013 and 2014 disclosures where Senator King never disclosed the CMU contracts with either the 30 days to amend or the 72-hour rule.  

My intent here if no charges are going to be filed by your office is to petition under C.R.S. 16-5-209 and ask for a Judge's ruling on why no charges are coming forth regarding Senator Steve King.

Thanks for your time and attention,


 
VetTheGov received an email from the DA's office on October 13, 2014 stating DA Morales position remains unchanged. This would entail that DA Morales believes that Senator Steve King would had to have known in January 10, 2013 that he would had the foreknowledge of his CMU employment in July 2013.  

Why did Senate Leaders at the Capitol taken no action?  Why has the Colorado Independent Ethics Board taken no action?  Why has the Denver DA taken no action?  Should there even be an ethics section in the Colorado Revised Statutes if this is how it plays out?  How about in the Colorado Constitution?  Are these ethics statutes there so our Public officials can just ignore them?  The People deserve to know why our Justice system and appointed leaders looked the other way in this case of misdeeds by Senator Steve King!  Those that create the laws must also abide by those laws!  VetTheGov will keep you informed of future communications between the District Court in Denver.  Thanks for tuning in!
Friday
Oct242014

Mesa County Employee Healthcare Options in Question. No Real Answers from Frank Whidden regarding St. Mary's.

Subject: Confusion over Health InsuranceCommissioners:Last Friday, I submitted a CORA request asking for a copy of the recent Email sent to County employees regarding 2015 health insurance.  I also asked for a copy of any documentation that will be distributed at the upcoming  "open enrollment". Yesterday, Angela provided two documents which are attached.

Please note that the Email sent from Frank Whidden to staff on October 14 says that "St. Mary's hospital will be in network for services that Community Hospital cannot provide at this time (such as maternity, emergencies, radiology, etc.)".

The handout to employees defines (on page 5)  in network hospitals to be  "Community Hospital and University of Utah Hospital"  All other hospitals are out  of network  "except  for emergency care and maternity".   By this definition there are only two services that will be treated as in network if provided at St. Mary's.   This is way different than what was said in Frank's email.  If this wording is to be believed, many patients will be faced with choosing between paying through the teeth to stay at St. Mary's or being shipped to Salt Lake City.   Think of pre-mature babies, pediatric ICU,  cancer patient, heart patients, neurosurgery, etc.

I have attached the 2014 EPO schedule of benefits which lists  (on page 4) a whole variety of services that are treated as in network if provided at St. Mary's.  No such list is included for 2015 and there is no disclosure to employees that  the option of using St. Mary's has been changed. In fact, at the top of page 6 of the employee handout it says "EPO Plan Design - No Change".

Obviously one of the stories has to be changed quickly and I imagine the temptation will be to stick to what Frank said in the Email because that will cause the least grief to employees.  But the financial impacts of taking the easy way out should be considered carefully.

On October 6, Frank distributed the attached document with the title "Hand out 10_6_14."  On page 4, the "Claims @ maximum"  line is $7.6 million if there is "no change to benefits or network" and $6.4 million "with U of U and Community as in-network facilities".   At the meeting Frank explained that these amounts are the aggregate  limits for the two options assuming the same premium amount is paid to Sun Life of Canada.   Frank also explained that the reason Sun Life has the two quotes is because they were told that--except for maternity and ER--St. Mary's would be treated as out of network.   Several times he emphasized the word "steerage"  to describe the intentional effort to steer business away from St. Mary's.,

If Sun Life has been told that the St. Mary's changes have been implemented and the County instead allows in network treatment at St. Mary's as defined in Frank's email, the County may be breeching its contract with Sun Life.  If the County goes back to Sun Life and changes the rules, Sun Life will surely either increase the premiums it charges or increase the level of risk assumed by the County. If either action is taken, the 2015 budget will need to be increased even further to make up for the mismanagement of the plan.

The Commissioners need to take control of this process--NOW!  Obviously the staff is way over its head and is creating as unacceptable level of risk for Mesa County. 

The employees deserve to be told the truth.

Dennis

P.S.  The handout to employees does not disclose the out of pocket max for out of network services.  Does that mean there is no out of pocket max?   If there is no out of pocket max, the decision to make St. Mary's out of network could be even more catastrophic to county employees.

P.P.S.  The 2015 "travel benefit" is limited to $1.000 per year.  The cost to transport a premie baby to Salt Lake is probably closer to $20,000.   Will the employee be responsible for the difference?

Now let's sit back and watch who caters to Federal Overreach from the progressive big government insiders of Mesa County government headquarters when the tax payer funded paychecks get smaller and smaller for the little people inside those same walls.  Stay tuned!

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep262014

Breaking News: Mesa County Insurance Funds being Depleted. Commissioners Ignore!

Mesa County taxpayers VetTheGov has been made aware by a local citizen Dennis Simpson who has kept tabs on the local County Budget over the last several years has once again located some very concerning inconsistencies in the Mesa County Insurance Fund. 

Today VetTheGov received the following email from Dennis and he asked it to be shared as his concern moving forward will effect all Mesa County tax paying stakeholders.

Commissioners:

As you may recall, I attended your August 11 meeting and made a presentation regarding the rapid decline of the fund balance in your Insurance Fund.  As I explained at the meeting, my entire financial analysis used data that is available on your website as my source. 

Six weeks have now passed and the problems I identified have not been discussed with you by your staff.  I found this odd so I sent a CORA request to Angela asking for all Emails on this subject.  Today she sent the attached  email  from Frank to the three of you.  It is now more clear why you have not felt any urgency to address this issue.   Frank's statement that "it is clear that the fund is much healthier than stated in public hearing this morning"   has apparently  led you to believe that this is a back-burner issue.

At my presentation, I pointed out that the fund balance in the insurance fund had plummeted from $2.7 million to $1 million in 2013.  I also pointed out that the projections for 2014 (PREPARED BY COUNTY STAFF) showed that 12/31/14 fund balance would drop to below $100,000. 

So Frank visited Eleanor who told him that the fund balance on 8/11/14 was 2.2 million.  He mentions that Eleanor had provided some caveats to publishing that number but did not bother to provide any specifics of  what these caveats were.    There are many ways that an unadjusted fund balance in the middle of a month may be very misleading.    Almost no private company or public body publishes financial information in the middle of the month and there is good reason.  The accounting staff needs time to make sure all entries for a month are posted before things like "fund balance" are meaningful.

If you take the time to look at the financial statements on your website you will see that the fund balance on June 30, 2014 was $967,705 and that the fund balance on July 31 was $1,073,609.  Neither of these numbers are anywhere near $2.2 million  Using Frank's logic, the fund balance more than doubled in 7 business days.  While it is possible that some magic windfall occurred,  Frank should have recognized and explained what magical event occurred.  I have attached a copy of the July report so you can see how the actual July 31 fund balance is calculated. I have drawn arrows to three number which are: fund balance January 1, 2013-$1,005,806,  2014 revenue through July 31, 2014-$5,030,806, and 2014 expenditures through July 31, 2014-$4,963,033.  If you add the first two numbers and subtract the third,  the total comes to $1,073,609.

As bad as it was for Frank to conclude, without explanation, that fund balance had doubled in 7 days, the bigger issue is that he totally ignored the comments I made regarding the projection of fund balance on December 31, 2014.  One of the most important factors in the development of the 2015 budget is to apply the best logic available to projecting what will happen in the remainder of 2014.  The comment that seems to have totally escaped Frank was that I had stated that COUNTY STAFF had projected the fund balance on December 31, 2014 to be $85,370 (down from the $2.7 million of 1/1/13). When the July statements were published, this projection changed to be $355,452 (circled on attached report).   Either projected number should have caused immediate corrective action. 

Worse yet, the staff projections may be too optimistic.  As I pointed out, the staff seriously underestimated the 2013 claims expenditures when the 2014 budget was being developed.  The fund balance projected for 12/31/13 on  6/30/13 was $2.6 million. The actual 12/31/13 fund balance was $1 million.  No explanation has been provided for how the staff was so far off in 2013 and no evidence has been presented. that the 2014 projection methods have been changed.  if 2013 history repeats itself in 2014, it is very possible  that the insurance fund balance with be totally depleted by the end of the year.

Frank's email states that "management is well aware of the health care issue".    While it is true that the existence of the problem has been recognized,  it is obvious that management has not recognized the severity of the problem.  At a recent meeting Steve  stated that they my presentation was not a surprise and that almost all of what I said had been previously presented to the Commissioners.  Rose stated that most of my information was news to her.  Steve then said that Rose must have missed the meetings where this data was shared.  Rose disagreed that she had missed such important meetings.  The fact that the staff obviously does not comprehend how deep of a hole has been dug should make it obvious which Commissioner spoke the truth.

I am even more concerned that you are relying too heavily on Frank for advice.  While he may be very knowledgeable about data processing, he has demonstrated no competency in supervising the financial affairs of the County.  At a minimum, you should explain to the taxpayers why it is that you believe he has sufficient experience in financial management to have such a large impact on the decision-making process.  I attended your recent unrecorded meeting discussing the budget for 2015 Capital Expenditures.   I also attended the June meeting where the 2015 budget was discussed.   Evelyn attended the June meeting but it was obvious that she was not able to speak her mind.  No one from accounting attended the more recent budget meeting.   It is obvious that Frank and Tom intend to filter all information that you receive and that they intend to limit the need for you to make any decisions by controlling what information is provided to you and when it is provided.

I hope you totally change the process for development of the 2015 budget before it is too late.  If you don't actively seek input from your accounting staff and knowledgeable community members, the results could be very unpleasant.

Dennis

Stay Tuned as VetTheGov through recent CORA request regarding the 2013 Insurance payouts to see if the Brickey v. Sgt. Matt Lewis 4th Amendment settlement has affected the Funds Balance!  The Brickey Settlement occurred in 2013 and if you look at the fund balances you will see it went almost 900K in the negative direction.  2014 Insurance Fund half way through not looking much better! 

It is the hope of VetTheGov that the County Commissioners will see a history of public employee insiders withholding Public Information and demand a full investigation for the reasons why!!!  Once again where is the TRANSPARENCY?

Mesa County the time is now to have those being paid by your hard earned tax dollars to stop flushing these dollars down the toilet with zero accountability and begin to grapple with the realities of a local government that has become TOO BIG TO FAIL and Unable to hold itself accountable to the people that fund it.  Enough is Enough! 

Tuesday
Sep232014

Sgt. Matt Lewis 4th Amendment Update-Mesa County pays over $71K in Attorney's fees

VetTheGov finally received back its CORA request regarding specific documentation of the previous questions asked regarding Sgt. Matt Lewis response to a local reporter on the 4th Amendment Civil Lawsuit.

VetTheGov has been told by Mesa County officials that no Confidentiality agreement is on file or been completed by Mesa County on Sgt. Lewis' behalf. See Letter. This would mean that Sgt. Lewis misrepresented in his interview comment.  

VetTheGov was told by Mesa County officials that no Settlement amount was paid by the County. This would mean another misrepresented comment by Sgt. Matt Lewis and the fact that he could be in violation of the "unable to locate" Mesa County Confidentiality Agreement he mentioned in his interview.

Ironically Mesa County taxpayers did cover the involved deputies attorney bills paid to Alan Hassler in the amount of $71,297.32.  

So the question becomes WHO PAID THE SETTLEMENT? Sgt. Matt Lewis has publicly stated the County paid and the County is continuing to say they didn't. Surely since the deputies didn't pay for attorney's fees then they didn't pay the Settlement out of their own pockets either. If an Insurance Company for Mesa County paid the Settlement, then wouldn't that still be considered Public Knowledge since the Taxpayers pay these premiums as well?

Surely if an Insurance Payout happened then Mesa County taxpayers can rest assured these Premiums have been raised. Stay Tuned as the Mesa County Sheriff's Office Settlement roller coaster is just beginning with the big turns and upside down flips! 

Monday
Sep222014

VetTheGov Rescinding Comment and Public Apology regarding Wayne Weyler

VetTheGov in a previous story mentioned in a brief sentence regarding then Lt. Wayne Weyler had a Brady letter.  VetTheGov received this information from Christopher Durham who received the information from a supposed reliable source Chris Franz, former professional standards deputy from Mesa County.  After receiving some comments on VetTheGov a call was made to once again confirm the information as fact.  The conversation suddenly became a statement that it was apparently miscommunication from the so called 100% reliable source. 

VetTheGov prides itself on relaying factual information and now after receiving confirmation from not only a CORA request to Mesa County but also an email confirmation from the Mesa County District Attorney's Office, VetTheGov publicly rescinds the comment regarding a Brady letter in Wayne Weyler's personnel file and makes a public apology to Wayne Weyler.  Wayne Weyler had no Brady letters on file nor has the DA's Office ever seen a Brady letter come across their desk related to Wayne Weyler.

VetTheGov is also publicly announcing it endorses No candidate for Mesa County Sheriff and is not actively involved or participating in any candidates campaign! 

VetTheGov will continue to strive for local government transparency especially regarding the 4th Amendment violation written about in earlier stories.  This behavior must be stopped and rights of individual human beings should never be violated even in the worse of circumstances.

Sunday
Sep212014

Someone Lying in Mesa County Government over 4th Amendment Settlement.

Mesa County citizens it is becoming increasingly troubling when your supposed transparent county government can't and won't keep itself accountable.  Since the VetTheGov story hit regarding Mesa County Sheriff candidate Sgt. Matt Lewis and the settlement of a 4th Amendment violation, illegal arrest, and excessive force civil lawsuit, fingers are pointing and the cover up continues with one or both parties LYING.

On August 14th, 2014 VetTheGov requested via CORA the settlement amount regarding Travis Brickey civil lawsuit settlement with Mesa County via its contracted attorney Alan Hassler regarding Case # 11-cv-2175.  On August 18th, 2014 a letter in response to the CORA request by Mesa County Asst. Attorney Angela Barnes stated that there are no documents responsive to the request and that Mesa County was not a party to the case even though five Mesa County deputies were named in the suit and a contracted county attorney represented the Mesa County deputies on the case.  On face value there is already a conflict of interest if Mesa County was not named in the suit and the deputies used a Mesa County contracted attorney.  See Colorado Bar Rule 1.7.

Since the CORA  request, Sgt. Matt Lewis responded to the media regarding the civil case in which he stated he was bound by a confidentiality letter placed on his behalf by Mesa County and that the County decided to settle an undisclosed amount to Travis Brickey.  It was also learned that the attorney for Travis Brickey confirmed Mesa County in fact did settle and could not disclose the amount.  After Sgt. Matt Lewis confidentiality agreement BREACH of discussing the case with local reporter Jesse Nelson representing West Slope Watchdog, VetTheGov initiated another CORA request on September 8th, 2014 to Mesa County Asst. Attorney Angela Barnes in which all County Commissioners were copied and included the audio interview with Sgt. Lewis and requested the following:

  • The Settlement amount?
  • If the County indeed filed a Confidentiality Agreement on behalf of Sgt. Matt Lewis
  • If Mesa County hired Alan Hassler for the named defendants and if not wouldn't this hiring be a conflict of interest?
  • If Alan Hassler was hired by the County, what was the County billed for his services?

VetTheGov received a letter dated September 8th, 2014 that reads as follows and VetTheGov must add NO RESPONSE from any elected County Commissioner Steve Acquafresca, Rose Pugliese, or John Justman:

"The Colorado Open Records Act (C.R.S. 24-72-200.1, et seq.) governs how governmental agencies in Colorado are to comply with citizen request for information.  The "CORA" contemplates, and only contemplates, records.  it is a detailed act governing record release circumstances.  If you are seeking records, your email letter does not set forth those that you are seeking."

What gets interesting is that an attached document to the letter shows an email from Commissioner Steve Acquafresca on September 8th, 2014 referring to an earlier conversation with Tom Fisher Mesa County Administrator that states:

"Tom - this is exactly what we were talking about this morning.  Please assist Angela with her response. SA"

The County Commissioners cannot play dumb now since that Commissioner Aquafresca copied in the other two Commissioners in his email to Tom.  They are all privy to the issue and let's see who will rise above partisan politics in order to demand complete transparency with OUR government.  If the Commissioners play safe then we must demand a complete investigation into our entire local government and then it's time for them all to go!

The dilemma now set forth is that either the County is LYING that they were involved in such settlement with Travis Brickey or Sgt. Matt Lewis in his professional position as a deputy sheriff for Mesa County is LYING.  Whoever is found to be UNTRUTHFUL you can rest assured VetTheGov will demand resolution and termination. 

VetTheGov has since sent another CORA request on September 15th, 2014 requesting the following and no response yet received:

  • Sgt. Matt Lewis signed confidentiality agreement by Mesa County regarding his civil case settlement involving Travis Brickey and Mesa County provided council Alan Hassler.
  • Contract and payments between Mesa County and Alan Hassler for representing Sgt. Matt Lewis regarding Travis Brickey 4th Amendment excessive force civil case.
  • Total Mesa County settlement amount paid to Travis Brickey in the form of check or money transfer receipt.

It will be interesting as events unfold and information released of who actually paid the settlement along with the amount and who is LYING to Mesa County citizens.  Either way it puts a Sheriff Candidate in the hot seat as an out of control COST to County taxpayers willing to LIE for the position or it exposes a County government that is unwilling to be open and transparent with its tax paying citizens by hiding the Truth for the sake of partisan politics right before your very eyes.  Who will step up and be the light of TRUTH?  Stay tuned...

Saturday
Sep062014

Video Release of Sgt. Matt Lewis and Mesa County Sheriff's Office 4th Amendment Violation

In a previous story exposing the Illegal arrest and Neck tasing of victim Travis Brickey, VetTheGov laid the foundation for the videos you will now watch in horror.  In the two videos (Warning Explicit Language) you will watch the Mesa County Sheriff's Office deputies attempt to coerce the victim out of his house in order to search inside for a man named Donny.  You will hear the deputies get so fixated on a gun while the victim states multiple times he doesn't own or even know how to shoot one.  You will also hear the deputies state multiple times that they weren't even sure why they were there and the victim stating he was afraid of them because all their guns were pointed at him.

The videos show Lt. Wayne Weyler unafraid of a gun and both his hands exposed to the victim with no gun drawn and is standing directly in front of the victims door, which is a very poor tactical position for a man reported with a gun.  Multiple times Lt. Weyler tells the victim he doesn't even know why they are there but just trying to figure out why.  You can tell the game plan all along was to get the victim to the door and allow the takedown taser team to move in and zap the victim in the neck.  Once the takedown team tased the victim they quickly entered the home like a SWAT team performing a dynamic search of the residence while you can hear all along they were looking for a man named Donny inside.  They had to know at this point that the victim was not their intended target especially with all the communication to the victim they were just trying to figure this out. 

In the second part 2 video you will hear the deputies actually try to keep the victim agitated after tasing him by telling him they have to take him to the hospital to remove the taser probe from his neck because they were unable to remove it and telling the victim its another bill for him.  Unbelieveable! 

An interesting development has arisen which needs more explaining by Mesa County Attorney's Office.  In a recent CORA request to the County Attorney regarding this case, the response on Mesa County Attorney's Office letterhead states,  "Mesa County was not a party to this case.  Mesa County has no documents responsive to your request."  In a recent interview by Western Slope Watchdog reporter Jesse Nelson with Sgt. Matt Lewis regarding this Constitutional violation, Sgt. Lewis admits the County did settle with the victim for an undisclosed amount and also signed a confidentiality agreement on his behalf.  Sgt. Lewis also states he would not change the tactics used in this event.  This is not passing the smell test at this point and on face value it seems they don't want the citizens of Mesa County to know about this settlement.  The question remains why? 

Either Sgt. Matt Lewis is completely detached from relevant facts of who represented him in this civil case or the County is simply hiding this from public view.  Someone here isn't telling the TRUTH to Mesa County citizens and the TRUTH must come out!!!  VetTheGov recommends you contact your County Commissioners and ask for further investigation into what appears to be a cover up of illegal activities performed within the Mesa County Sheriff's Office and the Mesa County Attorney's Office.


Stay tuned as VetTheGov will continue digging deeper into who was ultimately responsible monetarily for the actions of the break down your doors guns a blazing and Tasers to the neck Mesa County Sheriff's Deputies.  VetTheGov must note that if you ever want a quick response to your 911 call just mention a gun might be involved and then prepare for the worst!

Friday
Aug292014

Mesa County Sheriff Candidate Sgt. Matt Lewis 4th Amendment Violation and Excessive Force Civil Suit Settlement!

In a recent interview by VetTheGov with Sgt. Matt Lewis was asked about Colorado Civil Case number 1:11-cv-02175-RM-MEH where he was personally sued for wrongful arrest by illegal means and using excessive force by surprising the victim with a taser shot to the neck and a hard takedown to the ground.  Sgt. Lewis told VetTheGov that he would do the same exact thing given the same circumstances and stood behind his decisions he made to arrest an innocent man on August 21, 2010. 

VetTheGov asked Sgt. Lewis if there was an internal affairs investigation performed regarding his actions and he was not sure but assumed so.  VetTheGov also asked Sgt. Lewis if a Constitutional violation like this occurred while he was Sheriff how would he respond internally and the question was never really answered as he stated again he would stand behind this event in similar circumstances.

Sgt. Matt Lewis also failed to disclose this incident in his recent Q & A # 5 to the republican party chair Lois Dunn and the vacancy selection committee after Steve King removed himself from the race.  In the law enforcement community this is a major violation and should have been noted in his response to the party questionnaire regarding anything else we hear about but has also decided not to release his internal affairs complaint file to the public.

VetTheGov will dissect the facts of the case that was deemed a 4th Amendment Violation by deputies on the scene by Judge Marcia Kreiger Chief US District Judge and then ordered to trial for the additional excessive force and wrongful arrest of the victim on March 19, 2013. 

In the rulings by Judge Kreiger she breaks down the days events as follows:

  • 911 call received by a neighbor for a possible domestic dispute between a couple at victims house
  • Deputies Joesph Crawford and Deputy Corben Telinde were the first to arrive at the victim's residence
  • Deputies escorted a crying female away from the residence and asked if any guns in the house and who the female was fighting with.  Upon multiple conflicting statements by the female of who the domestic partner was the deputies focused on the victim who seemed very distraught that the deputies were on his property.
  • Some verbal discussions were attempted with the victim but he was asking for deputies to leave his property and were not welcomed.  The victim was extremely agitated and emotional and told the deputies he did not have a gun.
  • Sgt. Matt Lewis and other deputies arrived on scene and Sgt. Lewis took command and positioned several deputies around the victims house with guns drawn.  
  • With very little knowledge if in fact the victim committed any crime the decision was made by Sgt. Lewis to arrest the victim all while being videotaped by a patrol car dash cam. 
  • Sgt. Lewis along with Deputy Telinde after approximately 30 minutes on scene approached the victims front door after he retreated inside and staged with Deputy Telinde drew his taser to the ready position. The decision for staging at the door was made by Lt. Wayne Weyler who is also a Brady Letter recipient. 
  • Sgt. Lewis told the court in deposition that Deputy Telinde was authorized to have his taser ready but Sgt. Lewis stated the decision to deploy was all Deputy Telinde's decision.  Deputy Telinde stated in his deposition that he was under the impression to deploy the taser if the victim gave him a clear shot. (Now this is where a true Leader and the on site Commander would stick up for the decisions made of his lower ranking Deputies standing side by side in this event but in this case and testimony Sgt. Lewis throws Deputy Telinde under the bus with his statements that Deputy Telinde acted alone).  Interesting to note that Sgt. Lewis never filed a report for his part in this arrest.  Sgt. Lewis stated in deposition it was at his discretion.  The confusion continues as depositions are taken and the stories begin to change and the inferences and lack of communication and judgement by a so called professional agency show the ugly sides of remembering the event that unfolded between the Defendants and the victim. Let's just say if this is how a professional law enforcement agency operates, then Mesa County citizens WE HAVE A PROBLEM!

Judge Kreiger pre-trial response to motions by both parties are as follows especially regarding the 4th Amendment violation:

  • Judge Kreiger points out immediately that the Defendants had different stories regarding probable cause to arrest.  Sgt. Lewis testified they were arresting the victim for "domestic assault" along with Deputy Andrew Means.  However Deputy Crawford testified he thought they were arresting victim for threats to shoot the defendants. Remember Deputy Crawford first Deputy on scene and first interviewed the battered intoxicated female yet understood the victim was not the suspect.
  • Here, the general contours of a person’s 4th Amendment right to be free from a warrantless arrest, unsupported by probable cause, is so axiomatic as to require no particular citation. See Olsen v. Layton Hills Mall, 312 F.3d 1304, 1312 (10th Cir. 2002). Under Mr. Brickey’s version of events, he made no threats against the Deputies (or anyone else), and the worst that can be said of him was that he shouted profanities at law enforcement officers from the porch of his home. In Stearns v. Clarkson, 615 F.3d 1278, 1283-84 (10th Cir, 2010), the 10th Circuit noted that “it [is] well-settled that profanity, especially toward police officers, does not” create probable cause to arrest a person even for disorderly conduct, much less any other offense. Thus, the Court finds that, taking the facts in the light most favorable to Mr. Brickey, the Defendants’ actions violated his clearly established 4th Amendment rights.
  • The Court further finds that the law clearly establishes that police officers cannot lawfully resort to deploying a taser to arrest a non-violent suspect without first giving any warnings to the suspect or attempting to obtain the suspect’s compliance via voluntary instructions. Casey, 509 F.3d at 1285-86.
  • As noted above, there is evidence in the record to indicate that the Defendants acted without probable cause in arresting Mr. Brickey, and arguably, there might even be evidence that the Defendants acted negligently in correctly assessing and adapting to the realities of the situation (i.e. by failing to obtain more information when inconsistencies appeared, or by failing to request Mr. Brickey to submit to voluntary arrest).

After Judge Kreiger approved the case forward to trial on March 19, 2013 for the excessive force and arrest without probable cause, within 2 months the entire case was settled and Dismissed with Prejudice Res Judicata and did not go to trial.  Since Mesa County was not named in the civil suit, Mesa County citizens, per the Mesa County Attorney's Office, were not responsible parties and therefore no Mesa County tax funds or insurance used in the settlement.  However one of the named Defendants Sgt. Matt Lewis now wants to be your Sheriff which should alarm all of Mesa County!

Stay tuned as more information is attempted to be collected.  If you have any relevant information regarding this case please contact VetTheGov and your anonymity if requested will be protected please use the contact us section on VetTheGov or feel free to comment away.

Tuesday
Aug192014

UPDATE: CMU Security Audit performed by Senator Steve King from 2008 not on file

VetTheGov in a previous CORA request and story regarding American National Protective Services, a private company owned by still Senator Steve King, being contracted by Colorado Mesa University to perform a security audit of the campus.

With the many college and university shootings over the last several years you would think this audit would be a very important tool that would still be on file in proof of actually performing an audit and showing folks were trained as well just in case something happened on campus CMU would at least have some risk mitigation paperwork for the stakeholders/investors. VetTheGov asked three specific questions regarding the audit, if the original hiring agent is still active at CMU, and if this was PO was open to other bids, and the actual copy of the audit findings that were required by the end of the PO term. Here is the response:

This is in response to your correspondence of August 6, 2014 in which you requested to know whether Andrew Breckel is a current employee at CMU.  He is not.

You also requested a copy of the audit report required on the PO, if still available.  The audit report is no longer available.

You also asked whether CMU was required to seek competitive bids before issuing the purchase order.  No, State of Colorado Procurement Rules required a competitive bid only for services greater than $25,000.

Since there were no time sheets available for this PO and work required by CMU we can never know if and when he performed the audit, what recommendations were made, and who was ever trained. Just another example of special favors given and received with the local insider network. Remember it's not what you know but who you know and this proves it happens in small town politics and under the radar. Seems too familiar with Mesa County Sheriff's Office contracts that were unable to be located regarding employment for Senator Steve King. We can know one thing for sure record keeping all around is lacking within our local government and its officials.

Senate Rule 41

(b) Conflicts of interest - personal or private interests versus public interest - definition.

(1) Subject to article V, section 43, of the state constitution, a Senator has the right to vote upon all questions before the Senate and to participate in the business of the Senate and its committees, and, in so doing, is presumed to act in good faith and in the public interest. When a personal interest conflicts with the public interest and tends to affect the Senator's independence of judgment, legislative activities are subject to limitations. Where any such conflict exists, it disqualifies the Senator from voting upon any question and from attempting to influence any legislation to which it relates.

(2) A question arises as to whether a personal or private interest tends to affect a Senator's independence of judgment if the Senator:

(A) Has or acquires a substantial economic interest by reason of the Senator's personal situation, distinct from that held generally by members of the same occupation, profession, or business, in a measure proposed or pending before the General Assembly; or has a close relative or close economic associate with such an interest.

(B) Has or acquires a financial interest in an enterprise, direct or indirect, which enterprise or interest would be affected by proposed legislation differently from like enterprises.

(C) Has or acquires a close economic association with, or is a close relative of, a person who has a financial interest in an enterprise, direct or indirect, which enterprise or interest would be affected by proposed legislation differently from like enterprises.

(D) Has or acquires a close economic association with, or is a close relative of, a person who is a lobbyist or who employs or has employed a lobbyist to propose legislation or to influence proposed legislation on which the Senator has or may be expected to vote.

(E) Accepts a gift, loan, service, or economic opportunity of significant value from a person who would be affected by or who has an interest in an enterprise which would be affected by proposed legislation. This provision shall likewise apply where such gift, loan, service, or opportunity is accepted by a close relative of the Senator. It shall not normally apply in the following cases: A commercially reasonable loan made in the ordinary course of business by an institution authorized by the laws of this state to engage in the business of making loans; an occasional nonpecuniary gift, insignificant in value; a nonpecuniary award publicly presented by a nonprofit organization in recognition of public service; or payment of or reimbursement for actual and necessary expenditures for travel and subsistence for personal attendance at a convention or other meeting at which the Senator is scheduled to participate and for which attendance no reimbursement is made by the state of Colorado.

ARTICLE XXIX Ethics in Government

Section 1. Purposes and findings. (1) The people of the state of Colorado hereby find and declare that:

           (a) The conduct of public officers, members of the general assembly, local government officials, and government employees must hold the respect and confidence of the people;

           (b) They shall carry out their duties for the benefit of the people of the state;

           (c) They shall, therefore, avoid conduct that is in violation of their public trust or that creates a justifiable impression among members of the public that such trust is being violated;

           (d) Any effort to realize personal financial gain through public office other than compensation provided by law is a violation of that trust; and

           (e) To ensure propriety and to preserve public confidence, they must have the benefit of specific standards to guide their conduct, and of a penalty mechanism to enforce those standards.

           (2) The people of the state of Colorado also find and declare that there are certain costs associated with holding public office and that to ensure the integrity of the office, such costs of a reasonable and necessary nature should be born by the state or local government.

Section 6. Penalty 

Any public officer, member of the general assembly, local government official or government employee who breaches the public trust for private gain and any person or entity inducing such breach shall be liable to the state or local jurisdiction for double the amount of the financial equivalent of any benefits obtained by such actions. The manner of recovery and additional penalties may be provided by law. 

C.R.S. 24-18-104 (2013) Rules of conduct for all public officers, members of the general assembly, local government officials, and employees

(1) Proof beyond a reasonable doubt of commission of any act enumerated in this section is proof that the actor has breached his fiduciary duty and the public trust. A public officer, a member of the general assembly, a local government official, or an employee shall not:

(a) Disclose or use confidential information acquired in the course of his official duties in order to further substantially his personal financial interests; or

(b) Accept a gift of substantial value or a substantial economic benefit tantamount to a gift of substantial value:

(I) Which would tend improperly to influence a reasonable person in his position to depart from the faithful and impartial discharge of his public duties; or

(II) Which he knows or which a reasonable person in his position should know under the circumstances is primarily for the purpose of rewarding him for official action he has taken.

(2) An economic benefit tantamount to a gift of substantial value includes without limitation:

(a) A loan at a rate of interest substantially lower than the commercial rate then currently prevalent for similar loans and compensation received for private services rendered at a rate substantially exceeding the fair market value of such services; or

(b) The acceptance by a public officer, a member of the general assembly, a local government official, or an employee of goods or services for his or her own personal benefit offered by a person who is at the same time providing goods or services to the state or a local government under a contract or other means by which the person receives payment or other compensation from the state or local government, as applicable, for which the officer, member, official, or employee serves, unless the totality of the circumstances attendant to the acceptance of the goods or services indicates that the transaction is legitimate, the terms are fair to both parties, the transaction is supported by full and adequate consideration, and the officer, member, official, or employee does not receive any substantial benefit resulting from his or her official or governmental status that is unavailable to members of the public generally. 

24-18-201. Interests in contracts

(1) Members of the general assembly, public officers, local government officials, or employees shall not be interested in any contract made by them in their official capacity or by any body, agency, or board of which they are members or employees. A former employee may not, within six months following the termination of his employment, contract or be employed by an employer who contracts with a state agency or any local government involving matters with which he was directly involved during his employment. For purposes of this section, the term:

(a) "Be interested in" does not include holding a minority interest in a corporation.

(b) "Contract" does not include:

(I) Contracts awarded to the lowest responsible bidder based on competitive bidding procedures;

(II) Merchandise sold to the highest bidder at public auctions;

(III) Investments or deposits in financial institutions which are in the business of loaning or receiving moneys;

(IV) A contract with an interested party if, because of geographic restrictions, a local government could not otherwise reasonably afford itself of the subject of the contract. It shall be presumed that a local government could not otherwise reasonably afford itself of the subject of a contract if the additional cost to the local government is greater than ten percent of a contract with an interested party or if the contract is for services that must be performed within a limited time period and no other contractor can provide those services within that time period.

(V) A contract with respect to which any member of the general assembly, public officer, local government official, or employee has disclosed a personal interest and has not voted thereon or with respect to which any member of the governing body of a local government has voted thereon in accordance with section 24-18-109 (3) (b) or 31-4-404 (3), C.R.S. Any such disclosure shall be made: To the governing body, for local government officials and employees; in accordance with the rules of the house of representatives and the senate, for members of the general assembly; and to the secretary of state, for all others.

24-18-206. Penalty

A person who knowingly commits an act proscribed in this part 2 commits a class 1 misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in section 18-1.3-501, C.R.S. In addition to the penalties provided in section 18-1.3-501, C.R.S., the court may impose a fine of no more than twice the amount of the benefit the person obtained or was attempting to obtain in violating a provision of this part 2.

2012 Colorado Ethics Committee Opinion regarding Conflict of Interest and Contracts 

Now the question to Senator Steve King is how many BILLS were influenced by your relationship with Mesa County Sheriff's Office and Colorado Mesa University. VetTheGov believes Senator King should have rescused himself from any vote that is perceived as a Conflict of Interest. It will be interesting to see if anyone at the DA's office or Senate leaders will put these together and prove to the People they are looking out for our best interest and not their own. Looking doubtful at the moment.

Wednesday
Aug062014

New Documents surface regarding Senator Steve King's very cozy relationship with CMU

VetTheGov sent another CORA request to Colorado Mesa University regarding any other contract employment regarding now felonious charged and still State Senator Steve King and another 14 pages of documents were provided. Senator Steve King has been owner of a private Colorado company called American National Protective Services since March 22, 2000 but currently showing delinquent as of May 2012 along with several years of failing to file annual reports.

In the CORA request specific to American National Protective Services the company received a purchase order from CMU for $17,850.00 from July 15, 2008 to December 31, 2008. This PO required Senator King's private company to conduct a security audit, train staff, and review policies and procedures. In a separate letter from Andrew Breckel III confirmed the requirements of the newly issued PO to Senator King and at the bottom of the page you notice a Cc to Tim Foster, President of CMU. There can now be no claim that President Foster was never aware of disclosing this cozy relationship with Senator King since 2008. It is beginning to take shape that CMU offered this position for returned favors in Denver when you look back historically of what was happening at that time.

Gayle Berry a Mesa State graduate was hired as a professional lobbyist for the college and there were huge funds coming in over the next couple of years around this time and CMU positioned themselves well to receive a large chunk of these dollars. From the Independent Post September 2, 2008

Mesa State College could get 50 percent more money from the state next year if a request for increased funding is approved by the governor's budget office.

Increases year to year are common because of inflation or increased operations costs, said Gayle Berry, a Denver-based lobbyist for Mesa State. The proposed increase would take Mesa State from a $49.5 million 2008-2009 appropriation of cash and reappropriated funds from the state budget to nearly $75 million.

Where the money could be spent will be discussed this morning at a Mesa State Board of Trustees meeting, said College President Tim Foster. He expects 2009-2010 state appropriations for the college to come in somewhere between $50 million and $75 million.

Gayle Berry CMU Lobbyist was also a very active contributor to Senator Steve King, even back in 2008 as King was then Representative of House District 54. Gayle Berry recently supported Governor Hickenlooper with 1100.00. Gayle has spent over 12,235.00 in political contributions since 2009 and surely hoping to receive very kind votes for CMU funding. Remember the money Gayle spends are public tax dollars! This should make you wonder if the recent republican east coast infusion of money to get Tancredo out of the governors race is due to keeping Hickenlooper in office by putting up a much inferior republican opponent to protect the elites investments.

VetTheGov has a couple more questions that need answers such as the actual audit report Senator Steve King was to complete for CMU per the PO and if CMU put this opportunity out to bid. VetTheGov has also received more leads about other local government connections and payments regarding Senator Steve King's services, so stay tuned as there is plenty more to come.

So far the local media has only scratched the surface into these conflict of interest relationships with Senator Steve King but rest assured VetTheGov is following the money trail and will keep you up to speed as your local  investigative partner and VetTheGov will make transparent the very close knit connections in Mesa County that protect the fractional reserve bankers and the investors they lure to get and use your tax monies for personal gain!

Monday
Jul142014

Senator Steve King and Colorado Mesa University $144 Million BOND game!

VetTheGov has discovered through recent CORA request that Senator Steve King and now stained candidate for Mesa County Sheriff was offered security positions at Colorado Mesa University (CMU) while not in legislative session in Denver. As VetTheGov slowly sifts through all these documents an interesting theme came to light called BONDS.

VetTheGov often follows the money trail and usually ends up being the tell tail sign of improprieties. So as usual VetTheGov started down the money trail and it exposes the CMU Bond game. Surely CMU students will want to know why their tuition rates rise each and every year so rapidly. Well look no further as there are Investors that need paid. CMU is just another one of those shell games that give students a certificate by paying thousands of dollars and in return CMU gets to take care of their Bond investment pool in annual tax haven returns.

Senator Steve King during his terms from 2012 to present has served on the Legislative Audit Committee in which Senator King has oversight on financial matters and has served as Chair and Vice-Chair during this tenure. This committee also performs annual audits for all of Colorado's higher education and investment funds that get used for Bond placements. 

Well that brings us back to CMU and Senator Steve "Audit" King. VetTheGov found State Audits from Senator King's legislative Audit committee reports and these same audits were found attached to CMU Bond placements. The most recent Bond placement is for an additional $39.1 Million. The scary part is that CMU has over $144.4 Million in outstanding Bond placements since 2009. 

It's no wonder Senator King never disclosed his CMU relationship as it again proves the massive Conflict of Interest between a State Senator with access to insider Audits that allow ratings companies such as Moody's etc., to rate the Millions in CMU Bond placements to entice investors which received an Aa2 rating thanks to the audit. Investors never need to worry because if CMU defaults the State Intercept Bailout Program gets enacted.

Hopefully you are just getting a preview of the many insider scams in a small college town near you as they appear to educate on the outside but on the inside there is money to be made at any cost, even illegally hiring a local State Senator behind the scenes! Wouldn't it be nice to know who the Investors are in this inner web of deception? 

Stay tuned as VetTheGov continues to explore the enriching part of higher education! Thanks for reading and would enjoy hearing your comments.

Saturday
Jul122014

UPDATE: Senator Steve King Non-disclosed CMU contract & Time Sheets turned over to Arapahoe DA! 

After VetTheGov received recent CORA documents from Colorado Mesa University (CMU) and from the Secretary of State (SOS) and it was determined that Senator Steve King did not disclose his contracted position at CMU on his annual financial disclosure an email was sent back to the SOS to file a complaint. See original Breaking story here on Senator Steve King's failure to disclose INCOME from CMU.

VetTheGov received the following statement from Andrew Cole in the SOS office:

"Willfully filing a false disclosure is noted as a misdemeanor in statute so it would be dealt with by the District Attorney, rather than our office."

VetTheGov contacted the Arapahoe County Assistant District Attorney's Office and received an email address to forward the documents. So add another crime to the list of offenses and ethics violations committed by Senator Steve King!

VetTheGov hopes that DA Mark Hurlbert who tried and lost the Kobe Bryant case and who dropped down charges for a wealth manager will actually investigate and apply the necessary charges to a corrupt special interest elected official who thinks he still deserves to be the Mesa County Sheriff!

Stay tuned as there is more to come... 

Friday
Jul112014

BREAKING: Senator Steve King never disclosed his contracted position at Colorado Mesa University on his required Financial Disclosure forms!

VetTheGov has determined through recent CORA request from Colorado Secretary of States Office that Senator Steve King never mentioned or disclosed per Colorado Law his Colorado Mesa University contracted positions for 2012 and 2013.

On July 31, 2009 then Representative Steve King submitted his required Financial Statement. On page 2, the box requires all INCOME to be noted which includes the name of the organization he works for and if he receives or his spouse receives the income. Steve King placed his Mesa County Sheriff's Office position but no mention of anything at CMU. Makes sense as he didn't receive the CMU positions until 2012 and 2013. Senator Steve King is required to file a new financial disclosure every year as an elected official and either note new changes or simply check the box that states Annual Update-No Change. 

Senator King's first position at CMU started on August 1, 2012 and ended December 31, 2012. Senator Steve King would have been required to share this new INCOME in his 2012 annual financial disclosure filed with the SOS on January 10, 2013 yet only checked the box marked Annual Update-No Change with no mention of his CMU INCOME. 

Senator Steve King contracted his second position with CMU on July 1, 2013 and ended December 31, 2013. So as required Senator King's next financial disclosure was due by January 10, 2014. VetTheGov received the 2014 filing and as suspected the box marked Annual Update-No Change was marked. Again no mention of INCOME received from his hours billed to CMU per his contract.

CRS 24-6-202(7)

(7) Any person who willfully files a false or incomplete disclosure statement, amendment, or notice that no amendment is required, or who willfully files a false or incomplete copy of any federal income tax return or a false or incomplete certified statement of investments, or who willfully fails to make any filing required by this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars nor more than five thousand dollars.

VetTheGov will continue to stay close to this story as there appears to be a massive conflict of interest and criminal activity against the citizens of Senate District 7 and Mesa County. Stay tuned to VetTheGov as the wonderful world of political favoritism and insider paid access shines forth!

Sunday
Jul062014

A day in the life of time sheets featuring State Senator Steve King

Since the magnifying glass has suddenly focused on superstar Senator Steve King who is a legend in his own mind, law enforcer of the millennium, touts an unblemished political and law enforcement career choke choke, seems to have only ever protected Presidents since his resume highlights his 20-year Presidential protective services working directly with Secret Service agents, and his cush appointed jobs within Mesa County leaves open the door to a world of political favors and mulitiple time sheet manipulations.

VetTheGov through recent CORA request has discovered Senator King received a two special positions at Colorado Mesa University (CMU) from July 28, 2012 until December 24, 2013 and on average worked and filled out time sheets between 160 to 190 hours a month during these dates. On top of these hours, Senator King also was working his other appointed position at the Mesa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) and filled out time sheets during these same time frames on average between 80 to 100 hours a month. 

VetTheGov further leaned that in between his privileged jobs he drove to Denver and back for legislative meetings.  For example during the month of October 2013 billing cycles, Senator King billed CMU for 161 hours, billed MCSO for 103 hours, drove to Denver on September 30th and spent the day in Denver on October 1st and drove back to Grand Junction (approx. 16 hours), drove back to Denver on October 6 after working at CMU for 7 hours and spent the next day and night in Denver and drove back to Grand Junction on the 8th (approx. 20 hours), and last trip to Denver on October 28th after working a 10 hour shift at CMU and returned October 31 and began another 10 hour shift at CMU that started at 9 AM (approx. 24 legislative hours).  Not to mention Senator King also has a private sector business called American National Protective Services in which he is Chief Operating Officer. Whew right? If VetTheGov only has hotel receipts of check-in and check-out times, if VetTheGov were allowed access to his MCSO time sheets that are suddenly under investigation and sealed, we might learn that Senator King worked in multiple places at the same time or that he simply never sleeps.

Senator King was then back in Denver on October 3, 2013 for his on record vote for the mental illness committee he attended and of course all of this between two CMU shifts the day prior October 2nd of 8 hours from 1200-2000 and then on October 4th a 10-hour shift from 1130-2130. No legislative billing for driving, meals, or hotel stay. Another mistake? Or did he just stay in Denver after his October 1st committee meeting and bill CMU on the 2nd keeping CMU safe while in Denver?  

Appears on the face value that Senator King would of worked some 338 hours or 85 hours weekly in October with some very mysterious conflicts of time. Hopefully soon the Arapahoe District Attorney's Office will release the remainder of his 44 or so time sheets in the interest of the Mesa County taxpayers!

On September 11, 2013 Senator King's CMU time sheets reflects hours worked from 11 AM to 7 PM yet also attended a legislative meeting in Grand Junction on CMU campus from 2 PM to 4 PM. Surely a legislative session is not in Senator King's CMU security job description of billing CMU while acting in role of Senator for this time away from his duties?  

VetTheGov ask you the taxpayers why CMU and MCSO are allowed to hire a sitting State Senator and candidate for Sheriff, run over to Denver in between these gigs and vote on bills that could potentially favor the governmental agencies he is working for? Convenient political favors need to stop in Mesa County or at least be reported to the Secretary of State's Office when hiring what appears to be a scratch my back and I will scratch yours legislative paying relationship.  

CMU is registered as a professional Colorado lobby group and MCSO is not. But why would MCSO need to be registered when you can simply hire a State Senator and Representative that can bill as many hours as he would like at MCSO? Here is the State Statute for your review and VetTheGov has contacted the SOS for this documentation and nothing has been filed by either entity regarding Senator King's employment: 
TITLE 24. GOVERNMENT - STATE ADMINISTRATION  
ARTICLE 6. COLORADO SUNSHINE LAW  
PART 3. REGULATION OF LOBBYISTS
C.R.S. 24-6-306 Employment of legislators, legislative employees, or state employees - filing of statement
If any person who engages in lobbying employs or causes his employer to employ any member of the general assembly, any member of a rule-making board or commission, any rule-making official of a state agency, any employee of the general assembly, or any full-time state employee who remains in the partial employ of the state or any agency thereof, the new employer shall file a statement under oath with the secretary of state within fifteen days after such employment. The statement shall specify the nature of the employment, the name of the individual to be paid thereunder, and the amount of pay or consideration to be paid thereunder. 

SB14-001 added 100+ Million to higher education this year and Senator King was a yes vote.  In the Bill there was also additional line funding for CMU (b) $2,186,000 for the trustees of Colorado Mesa university, including $413,580 from student stipend payments and $1,772,420 from fee-for-service contracts. Interesting!

Here is a list of all higher education Bills from 2014 session-http://highered.colorado.gov/CCHE/Meetings/2014/may/2014%20DHE%20Legislative%20Status%20Sheet%20(5-9-14).pdf

Over 2/3 of his main Bill sponsoring during the 2014 legislative session were pro criminal Justice.

Stay tuned as VetTheGov continues shining light into the dark corners of Mesa County political favoritism and the benefits that obviously come with them for all the entities involved! Just keep in mind why the Morale remains low in Mesa County government when no raises for 3 years, top positions getting huge raises, and unlimited billing hours for the Senator and still Mesa County Sheriff candidate Brady letter FIRED ex-cop under criminal investigation.  

Friday
Jun132014

Senator Steve King (current Sheriff candidate) suddenly resigns as Open Records request hits the Sheriff's Office!

VetTheGov's recent Open Records request to Mesa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) regarding Steve King's recent employment beginning April 22, 2014 and now sudden resignation on June 6, 2014 have left more questions then answers of the Internal Policies of MCSO of privileged appointments made to still sitting State Senator and candidate for Mesa County Sheriff.  

VetTheGov submitted the first Open Records request on June 2, 2014 and second request on June 9, 2014 requesting any internal affairs investigations, policy violations, current contract with MCSO, paystubs, and if his position was funded with federal dollars.  Interesting to note that the Open Records statutes require a written response within 72 hours of receiving the request and MCSO failed to meet this time frame on the first Open Records request and the response letter was dated June 9, 2014 a full week after the initial request. Could be interesting the next time you are pulled over for a traffic violation and ask for the same pass regarding following state statutes and any penalties associated with them!  WE should expect better from this agency to follow the letter of the law when they require you to do the same. 

VetTheGov received the following statements regarding his employment and temporary/contract/on-call position when he is not in session:

"With regard to the hiring process, Steve King began with the Sheriff's Office on July 6, 1999.  Mr. King was hired under Claussen Administration and he was subject to the hiring process in place at the time, which included application; interviews; polygraph examinations; medical, physical, and psychiatric screenings.  Steve King voluntarily left full-time employment with the Sheriff's Office to serve in his elected position in the Colorado Legislature on 12/27/06; however, he retained his deputy sheriff status (unpaid) at the Mesa County Sheriff's Office and with POST.  Since that time, Mr. King has been re-hired as a temporary/contract/on-call employee when the legislature was not in session.  The Mesa County Sheriff's Office/Mesa County does have records (6 pages) reflecting Steve King's separation on 12/27/06; re-hire on 05/15/07; re-hire on 06/27/08; re-hire on 05/18/09; re-hire on 05/27/10; and re-hire on 04/22/14.  Even though transaction records are not found, Steve King also worked in 2011 and 2013 in that same capacity."

In a June 10, 2014 letter received from the Mesa County Attorney's Office they state, "Steve King does not have an employment contract with Mesa County."  It was also relayed that Steve King was being paid out of the general fund and therefore not federal funds which could of resulted in a Federal Hatch Act violation if 100% of his salary was with Federal monies.  Steve King mentions on his campaign website that he helped part-time on cold case investigations, "Steve continues to work part-time for the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office investigating cold cases when he is not in Denver for the legislative session." VetTheGov wonders if any of Steve King's special appointments in the past during his legislative career might have been paid for with Federal programs cold case DNA grant monies issued to and through the state of Colorado.  Very hard to prove with the new updated Hatch Act laws enacted in 2012.

VetTheGov requested any internal affairs investigation or citizen complaints against Steve King and the response was, "that information is confidential, protected information, not subject to public disclosure under CORA, pursuant to C.R.S. 24-72-204(3)(a)(II)(A)."  The letter goes on to state that no record of any of these events are in his file.  Wouldn't that consist of a public disclosure?  Interesting note is that the same request was made to the City of Grand Junction police Department in which the City returned VetTheGov 12 total pages relating to citizen complaints and internal policy violations involving Steve King's personnel file. 

Several questions arise of Steve King's legislative position and hiring during session: Why does he not have a contract with the County?  Was he working for the citizens of Mesa County or the Sheriff's Office while operating in both roles at the same time? Was his legislative work for the Sheriff's Office since he always had a political appointment job waiting for him after his legislative work?  Does anyone else within MCSO receive this type of preferential treatment of not having to go back through the hiring process like others waiting to get a job that have performed the recent hiring requirements?  With Steve King's recent personal life meltdown, wouldn't it be safe to say a new psychological and polygraph would be required?  Wouldn't this behavior create a hostile work environment?  Would he have access to confidential information as both a a State Senator and his contract position within the Sheriff's Office? What about any conflict of interest with his company American National Protective Services, Inc. which is showing delinquent since May 1, 2012 on the Colorado Secretary of State website? 

VetTheGov believes that Senator King is still receiving a paycheck from the State of Colorado as sitting Senator since he hasn't officially resigned from this position and to top it off he gets hired by MCSO April 22, 2014 during his current legislative session that didn't end until May 7, 2014.  After the legislative session ends May 7, 2014, Steve King already being employed by MCSO, begins receiving campaign donations that appear as Legal and Political FAVORS that could be purchased with these donations, especially from those inside the Sheriff's office looking for better positions if Steve King were to be elected Sheriff.

VettheGov believes MCSO should be the most transparent government agency in the community but instead it's beginning to take the appearance of a partisan party campaign office.  With multiple Federal Grant monies such as EBDM coming into this LOCAL agency with all the comply tentacles attached, the dangers become larger than ever of internal favors and cover ups, sealed protection of what should be transparent public information for all of Mesa County citizens, and any future Conflict of Interest with the local community and local political party affiliations.

Something really SMELLS in this entire transaction!  Maybe it's time for more internal check ups within MCSO.  Please share this story if you agree.  

Thursday
Apr112013

Secret Service handed more power in Colorado! CORA docs from POST confirm.

The Department of Homeland Security Secret Service Division received so called limited Peace Officer status from the State of Colorado in the recent passage of Senate Bill 13 whose main sponsor was Republican Senator Steve King who later added democrat House Representative Beth McCann. At final passage there were four additional Democrats that co-sponsored this bill along with eight additional Democrats from the House. No other Republicans in the House or Senate co-sponsored the bill however five republican senators voted Yes for the bill, Balmer; Crowder; Grantham; King; and Roberts. One democrat senator Steadman voted No. On the House side one republican member Cheri Gerou voted Yes and three Dems voted No, Lebsock; Levy; and Singer. Mostly the vote's casts were along party lines.

Days after the passage of SB13 there were many reports across the internet that the Secret Service had obtained new found arrest powers in Colorado so VetTheGov dug in a little deeper and requested all related documents from The Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) office. Before we reveal some of the documentation VetTheGov needs to set up all the responses from many either behind or against the bill.

Senator King on his public facebook site defended SB13 as follows:

I hear all the time about the waste of tax payer money and the lack of government doing things in the most cost effective way. SB13 is simply about the ability of the Secret Service to take a complex investigation directly to our District Attorney for local prosecution of criminals in our community. With this LIMITED police power it eliminate the redundancy and cost of the Police Department or Sheriff’s office to start all over again doing their own time consuming and expensive complex investigation just to be able to present a case to the same district attorney. Ask our District Attorney, our Sheriff or Chief of Police how much Tax payer money and local investigator time (time that can be spent investigating violent crime) is saved by this legislation. This bill is supported and endorsed unanimously by the Colorado Police Officers Standards and Training Board, by Colorado Sheriff's, Colorado Chiefs of Police, Colorado District Attorney's Council and the Attorney General of Colorado.

Mesa County Sheriff Hilkey was then asked by Mesa County Patriot president Jeff Mccloskey if he supported SB13 and he gave the following answer:

Yes Jeff, I've supported this bill.   Perhaps Senator King said it best:

What SB13-013 is not about:

1) Enforcing Gun control or the 2nd amendment
2) Power to enforce or not to enforce federal gun legislation
3) Expansion of unregulated Secret Service authority and power

What SB13-013 is about:

Senate Bill 13 is public safety legislation that improves the efficacy of law enforcement via the elimination of wasteful criminal investigation redundancy between the Secret Service and local police and sheriff’s departments. The bill maintains local control in line with the 10th amendment while improving the value citizens get from local law enforcement for their tax dollar.

Who supports SB13-013?

This bill was supported and endorsed UNANIMOUSLY by the Colorado Police Officers Standards and Training Board, Colorado Sheriffs, Colorado Chiefs of Police, the Colorado District Attorney's Council and the Attorney General of Colorado.

The fact sheet you've attached is pretty accurate. I've supported because it gives local LE the ability to enlist their assistance on a more efficient basis if needed. I've seen the opposition comments on this based on the "what if" questions frankly, the support and consent of the State's local law enforcement community would evaporate in a heartbeat if we saw the abuses that some are concerned about.

Thanks for asking,
SH

Not only did Sheriff Hilkey support SB13 he also Endorsed on Mesa County Sheriff letterhead on September 11, 2012. VetTheGov must mention that the Board of POST are all law enforcement officers in the State of Colorado and there are no civilians on this board. Basically the cards are always stacked in their favor regarding any legislative action. City of Grand Junction Police Chief Camper who sits on the POST Sunrise committee also voted to approve SB13 and allow sponsorship.

VetTheGov spoke with house Rep. Ray Scott District 55 who stated the following: "I voted No on SB13 due the language in the summary portion of the bill and basically decided the Feds have too much power already in Colorado and they didn't need any more."

House Rep. Jared Wright District 54 who put his comments regarding SB13 out on his public facebook:

"While debating SB13 today, granting Colorado peace officer (POST) status to US Secret Service agents, I began to think about the "free speech zones" the USSS constructs in areas the president will be visiting in the name of security. Here is a picture of a "free speech cage" built in the area of the 2004 Democratic National Convention which protesters were forced to stand behind to practice their First Amendment rights. And now, Colorado legislators just blindly granted more powers of arrest for "state felony AND misdemeanor crimes committed in an agent's presence" to the Secret Service working in our state - even though the Secret Service themselves told me their making an arrest of a Colorado citizen for a misdemeanor crime unrelated to their duties would violate their own policy guidelines. So why are we giving the Secret Service authority that violates the agency's own internal policies? Why didn't the red flag go up for a majority of the members of the House? Last I checked we were elected to represent Colorado citizens, not the federal government. Shame on members of the law enforcement community who supported this measure. They have willingly given up their own and their citizen's 10th Amendment Constitutional rights in the name of possibly lightening their caseloads."

In another email to VetTheGov Rep. Wright made the following comments regarding SB13:

"As written, the bill places no limits for USSS agents on the exercise of police power within this state short of these:

-No arrests for petty offenses occurring in an agent's presence.
-No arrests/citations for traffic infractions
-No arrests for felony/misdemeanor crimes NOT occurring in an agents immediate presence UNLESS the agent is a member of a joint task force OR a local or state LE agent requests the assistance of the SS agent OR the arrest is an emergency situation essentially necessary to preserve life or prevent physical injury (note that any agent federal, state or local, already has the authority to intervene in these situations under Colorado citizen arrest law).
 
I don't consider these criteria very limiting as an agent under them could literally make an arrest of a citizen for shoplifting or, now, a citizen for possessing a 30 round mag! Not that they will, but they could."


VetTheGov would argue that the Secret Service could use their new given powers to enforce any State law and would have the ability to make traffic stops as SB13 does not state otherwise or that they can't enforce these specifics especially now since they also have immunity to being sued. They might not write tickets but they do have the authority to stop a car if the person driving is committing a crime in their presence or a known active warrant is determined. Even Sheriff Hilkey admitted he would enforce the new gun laws if his department felt the need to arrest and charge if no others existed and the individual(s) were drug dealers and such because of liability to the taxpayers!

From a recent story in WND here are a couple of comments from republican lawmakers:

“This is absolutely insane,” Rep. Lori Saine, R-Dacono, said. “In theory if a Secret Service agent is in a county where the sheriff has refused to enforce some of the recent unenforceable gun laws, the agent could arrest an individual if he believes the law has been broken.”

Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins, said despite the bill being sponsored by a fellow Republican, the 72-hour mental hold caught the attention of several Republicans in the Senate. “This was one of the big flags for us in the bill,” Marble said. “It’s very suspicious because we have the separation of federal, state and even the local police services. Everyone has their own jurisdiction, and there is a special reason for keeping federal agents away.

Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, said he was told the purpose of the bill was to make it easier to hold a person for mental health reasons. “It does give Secret Service powers in a broad sense, but I’m not sure the changes as stated will automatically change things significantly. It’s not a broad overreach, but it is an overreach. It’s one more step in the wrong direction.”

Republican Senator Kevin Grantham a Yes vote for SB13 stated the following at a recent town hall meeting when questioned on his Yes vote, "I will tell you what I’ve been telling everyone about this legislation since it’s taken on a life of its own: as far as votes go I suppose all things being equal I would probably take that one back…The one criticism leveled against the bill and against my vote, to which I humbly acquiesce, is that it does grant power where none existed before. For that alone I would like to have [my] vote back."

Colorado already has a State Statue in place regarding Secret Service powers and these have worked out just fine over the years. Usually any federal agency would have to contact local Sheriff's and inform them that they will be in their jurisdiction and reasons for the resources being brought in. When or if an arrest is needed the federal agency would request assistance from the Sheriff. Now what we will see is a true reversal of this process and with the new Peace Officer status that makes them equals. Even Sheriff Hilkey in Mesa County now understands and expressed concern over the UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES of SB13 but believes the citizens wouldn't allow federal intrusion into Mesa County.

In a recent CORA request, VetTheGov determined that the Secret Service admitted they already have limited statutory authority to make arrest in Colorado if certain misdemeanors and felonies occur in their presence. The Secret Service now requested and granted via SB13 Peace Officer status for the following reasons in their POST form 12 application.

  • Making probable cause arrest for state crimes committed outside their presence even if the situation involves serious state offenses (violent misdemeanors and felonies) and immediate intervention and/or assistance of a USSS agent could prevent escape, serious bodily injury or destruction of property.
  • Assisting state or local officers in serving an executing state arrest warrants.
  • Assisting state or local officers in serving and executing state search warrants and seizing property under state search warrants.
  • Assisting state or local officers in seizing property subject to forfeiture under Colorado law.
  • Assisting state or local officers in emergency procedures for putting a seventy-two hour hold on any person appearing to have a mental illness and, as a result of such mental illness, appears to be an imminent danger to others or to himself.

Further on in the 120 pages of CORA documents, a request was made to determine what the roles of the different Secret Service agents are.

  • Uniformed officers-they are fully uniformed and travel in support of the President and Vice President. They do magnetometers and have bomb dogs. They could use this provision to deal with mentally ill people coming to an event without involving others. There are none assigned to Denver and only travel in support of the Pres/VP.
  • Physical Security Technicians and Specialist-Plainclothes but are armed-they do all the technical stuff involving cameras, sweeps and advance work. Same reason for Colorado status as uniformed officers regarding mentally ill and any onview.
  • Special Officers-One assigned to Denver office. Does support work including surveillance and wireless tracking. Works with special agents.
  • Special Agents-Those are the working folks as we know-do counterfeit, fraud and dignitary protection.

Notice in the above agents given POST Peace Officer status are not involved with fraud or counterfeit cases. They may be called in to join one of these secret task forces that get assembled from time to time. Could the next task force be called enforcing 30 round magazine laws??? Only time will tell.

In another email from John Jackson Chief of Police in Colorado speaking for the Association of Police Chief's was asking for more information regarding the limitations granting Colorado Peace Officer status gave the Secret Service states, "The Secret Service bill seems awfully broad." It was never answered at least via email.

In another letter from Pete Dunbar POST Director to the Attorney General when DA Ken Buck began asking questions and having concerns, here is a portion of the letter to once again clarify the need for Peace Officer status. "The Secret Service cannot work alone on cases for state prosecution. They have a case right now on counterfeit that they cannot get an arrest warrant without having state peace officer authority. They are waiting, therefore, for the local detective, to be available to put the case together. The efficiencies created by the becoming POST certified make practical sense. They would also be able to use Colorado laws to have someone evaluated mentally who they are doing a threat investigation on. This would eliminate the need to call in local law enforcement to do the evaluation and confinement. I understand DA Buck is worried about the federal folks running around but this certification makes sense, is very helpful to state and local law enforcement and is limited."

Now when it came down to testifying for the Peace Officer status, here was the approach to be used for talking points being sent in another email from David Blake Deputy Attorney General when SB13 started losing republican backing. "All this bill does is the same thing we've done for other Federal LE, including the FBI, and it has never been abused. That is, it gives the USSS authority to work under the supervision of your local elected DA's and the Attorney General on mostly financial crimes-including identity theft and credit card or check fraud-and frees up your local law enforcement resources. Important bill, a good bill to fight fraudsters-support!" Nowhere in the bill does it mention working under the supervision of local DA's or the Attorney General. Just one of many Red Flags!

David Blake Deputy Attorney General wrote in another email when doubts were forming and citizens began to express concern, "Would love to get a R to speak but can't think of a pro-law enforcement (i.e. former Cop) in the R. House Caucus that is reasonable!" "Sounds like there is an email campaign against it and some D's are asking questions." "Apparently there is a letter writing campaign that will cause us to lose more R's than I counted last week and had a few D's say something to McCann. Haven't seen what it says. Don't know the source."

David Blake forwards this email from Rep. McCann to Secret Service agent Bruce Ward, Pete Dunbar, and Matthew Durkin, "Here is the kind of email we have been getting about the bill." Dear Beth McCann, I am opposed to expanding the powers of the Secret Service in Colorado. The track record of this agency in the past decade has been deplorable on the issue of free speech. There are many cases of this agency silencing dissenting voices. There is no sound reason for offering this bill. This is a solution in search of a problem. The potential benefits are tiny compared to the risk of further trampling basic free speech rights. Vote "NO" on SB13!"

More than like this is one of the cases this email letter to McCann was referencing and happened right here in Colorado. Remember the talking points above, "never been abused!"

In Connecticut when this similar bill allowing Secret Service Peace Officer status was met with resistance from the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees and their attorney made the following comment, "Allowing the Secret Service this new appointment will take power away from both local and state police, despite their jurisdiction."

Libertarian for Colorado Governor Matthew Hess gave the following comment regarding SB13: 

"SB13-013 is a bad idea. This bill creates a police force in Colorado that has no local accountability or even oath of office. We cannot expect people who have sworn no oath to properly uphold our laws. Unfortunately, this bill can even extend police powers to private contractors working for the Secret Service. Would we tolerate a blackwater security firm acting as Colorado law enforcement? I certainly would not and neither should you if you value the separation of powers and division of power between the states and federal government. This bill addresses no need and serves to only further abdicate the authority of Colorado to the federal government. Our representatives would do well to remember their authority is derived from the people and pushing an agenda that is not of the people will result in a loss of freedom and liberty here in Colorado."

The Republican Liberty Caucus wrote about SB13 prior to the votes being cast urging a NO vote. "More than being a solution in search of a problem, this bill is a terrible intrusion of Federal power into local law enforcement by an agency with expanding powers and a track record of abusing free speech rights of Americans."

These talking points were used in promotion of the bill and included one case in Colorado from 2012. Two individuals were arrested for passing counterfeit United States currency. They go on to mention no charges have been filed by either the Secret Service or the State of Colorado and nothing in the talking points mention this because the Secret Service wants Peace Officer status. If the counterfeiting is a federal crime then federal courts must handle them. It appears the forgery case might just be a little more complex and taking the DA's office a little more time. Pay attention to the fact that nowhere in the bill does it mention any cost savings and how this helps the citizens of Colorado any more then the current State Statutes offer. Smoke & Mirrors goes a long way with the Feds. This bill is a perfect example of how they obtain more and more power and control by stretching ONE small case into more federal intrusion.

The talking points also mention how the system has been set up and working well in that most of the Secret Service cases originate from local and state law enforcement agencies. So again the question arises since most Secret Service cases originate from the local and state level, WHY the need for more Secret Service powers? Simple they can now act on State laws without any resistance from local authorities. Now that federal agents are protected from First & Fourth Amendment lawsuits, let the Federal abuse continue! We now have four bills that have been passed since 2006 granting Federal Peace officer status to the following federal agents, FBI, ATF, DHS, US Marshall's, and now the Secret Service.

VetTheGov agrees now more than ever after receiving the POST documents that SB13 is exactly as thought by many citizens of Colorado that the Department of Homeland Security Secret Service divisions have even more opportunity to arrest and prosecute in Colorado when local and state law enforcement won't or without their presence being needed or notification given! No doubt this is free reign for federal agents. Surely with these new gun bills being passed the Dems who were beneficial to SB13's passing and found a "REASONABLE" Republican pro law enforcement police statist Steve King, set this bill up nicely and rolled out the red carpet for the higher powers to have their way in Colorado! Mayor Bloomberg and VP Biden are thankful for your contributions!