Before I delve into the current state of affairs (no pun intended) regarding the El Paso County hubris infected oligarchy, politico’s and their sycophants, let me bring you up to date on my research of the two policies.
After Charles Greenlee, In-house Counsel for Sheriff Maketa wrote that he would not respond further to my inquiries, I was now forced to kick things up a notch. My gut feeling was that these policies and the Sheriff were in direct violation of the Hatch Act. So, on January 23, 2014 I sent a Colorado Open Records Act request, or CORA request, to the Sheriff’s Office and El Paso County. I sought to obtain all correspondence regarding the two policies from inception and revision of such. Truly a simple request, one that if the leadership wasn’t so half-cocked and lost in their grandiose alter reality, they would have just supplied me with the facts and ended my request, showing the integrity of an office we all deserve.
I received a response (see response) from Maketa’s special counselor, Charles Greenlee, seven days later. The cost for the documents was $53.03. The key sentence in the response was: You are not entitled to any correspondence that would be protected by the attorney-client privilege.
The attorney –client privilege is the last bastion of hope for unscrupulous politicians expanding such privilege to encompass and protect nearly all of their human actions. Who would have thought that they would invoke the attorney – client privilege over two simple policies? That is an abuse of power and a red-light (no pun intended) that can only be used to hide corruption and illegal actions.
When I received the CORA request documents that Greenlee provided, I was angered that I had just been robbed and disrespected. Here’s my response:
Today I received a packet of the CORA documents that had been gathered by Sheriff's staff per my CORA request of January 23rd. In my request I specified to: Please provide all information and documents in their original electronic format when applicable. These instructions were obviously ignored as nearly all of the documents I received today were available in electronic format.
In fact the documents received were no more than public policy and policy revisions that I could easily have obtained with a few mouse clicks. I'm offended by how I'm being treated in seeking an answer to my two simple questions that have led up to the CORA request. The total lack of transparency by the County and Sheriff's office in regards to my query just demonstrates once again why the citizens cannot place any trust in our elected officials, let alone our government.
In good faith I paid the requested fee ($53.03) to receive the copies of the documents as requested by the Sheriff's Office. The fee covered the cost of copies and employee time. Upon receipt and quickly reviewing the said documents I found that the Sheriff's Office's response to my CORA request is an egregious act of stonewalling. Nothing less.
I feel that I am a victim of an abomination at the hands of those who under our Constitution should be nothing more but humble public servants. Instead I'm having to deal with an Oligarchy full of hubris infected politicians and their subordinates. This saddens my heart as my desire to believe in virtuous government led by good people is nothing more than a sci-fi fantasy.
My CORA request still stands and has been mostly unanswered. Mr. Greenlee has not responded to my response to his question regarding the Severance Agreements as defined in my request. I expect a response forthcoming.
Also, I have yet to receive any response from the County. I had various email exchanges with Amy Folsom and Charles Greenlee from November 2013 forward. Why have they not been included in the response to my CORA? I sent a request to all the County Commissioners to instruct the County Attorney to respond to my query. That email and any responses, internal and external communication of such should have been included in the CORA response as they pertained to the policies in question and at the heart of my CORA request.
I respectfully ask that my CORA request be responded to in full by both the County and the Sheriff's office.
To date, I have not received any response from the Sheriff’s Office or the County. Our elected leaders, the Sheriff and County Commissioners feel that they are beyond reproach. They don’t have to answer to the people. If they believe this, then they’re dead wrong.
As we have witnessed with Sheriff Maketa’s recently exposed and admitted unprofessional actions, you have to ask yourself how long has this type of poor behavior been going on? Who knew what when? Why did they not do anything to change, expose or correct the tyranny taking place in the Sheriff’s Office, let alone throughout the County?
Commissioner Glenn acknowledged that the Sheriff’s affairs and damning activities were the worst kept secret in the County, yet not one person of authority or standing did anything. Amy Folsom, the County Attorney could not have been blind to Maketa’s tyranny, yet she played it safe and hid by deflecting the issues and concerns of Maketa by kneeling to the Sheriff and using his counsel as a shield.
Had the Commanders not filed EEOC complaints, I’m certain that Maketa and the corruption within the Sheriff’s office and County would have remained status quo. With the investigations and lawsuits that have been filed and more on the way, one can only wonder at what cost El Paso County taxpayers will have to pay to help clean out the corruption and right the wrongs that have been left to fester for too long by knowingly and intimidated accomplices.
All of the elected county officials, if they're worth their salt, should have immediately acted to expose and correct the Sheriff’s poor behaviors. As sworn representatives of “we the people” they have a duty to protect us, which is government’s core duty; instead, nothing but the sound of crickets. Therefore they are complicit and should suffer the consequences.
I humbly request that the investigation of the Sheriff’s activities go beyond him and that every stone be turned over as the web of his influence through fear and intimidation most certainly has tainted a number of souls in the county. Every man has a price. I would investigate the dealings and relationships within the County Attorney’s Office as well as to name a few: County Administrator - Jeff Greene, County Budget Officer - Nicola Sapp, Director of Support Services - Imad Karaki.
A thorough and forensic investigation is what this county and her citizens deserve. All of the officials should welcome and embrace the investigation while not fearing this process, unless of course they have something to hide. It is imperative that we clean house and rid our county of the known illicit behavior and corruption that has been allowed to grow for years.
When I attended a few BOCC meetings and spoke out against the Commissioners term limit ballot language and spoke out against the Sheriff’s tax increase, I felt like a lost voice. I felt that the game was rigged and the grabbing hands were in control. My gut was telling me that our County is a government run by oligarchs and hubris infected politicians. Am I wrong?
In closing, my experience in seeking the truth and questioning authority in hopes to keep our government and those who represent us honest has been an interesting journey. I have met numerous good people who I will proudly stand side by side with and fight for what is right. Many of these people serve El Paso County in various positions; some are deputies, putting their lives on the line every day. They deserve better leadership and better government. We all do.
(Definition of Political Corruption)