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...