CBI to investigate King, timing of IA probe
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation has been asked to lead a criminal investigation of state Sen. Steve King, while also looking into questionable timing of disclosure of King’s firing and internal affairs woes at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.
“... There has been considerable speculation in our community concerning the timing of the Sheriff’s Office Internal Affairs investigation into this matter as it relates to Mr. King’s ongoing candidacy for the office of Mesa County Sheriff,” District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said in letter today to CBI Director Ron Sloan. “Sheriff (Rebecca) Spiess has asked me to request that your investigation include a review of these timing issues to determine whether any irregularities or other concerns exist.”
CBI is best situated to investigate King because of King’s past employment with the Grand Junction Police Department and Sheriff’s Office, the DA said. Both Spiess and Grand Junction Police Chief John Camper were consulted about undertaking a criminal probe of King.
“I conclude that it is in the best interests of the public that the requested investigation be conducted,” Hautzinger said. “I also conclude that the best interests of the public would be served if this investigation were conducted by an agency which has no direct ties to Mr. King.”
King was fired June 6 — 18 days before last Tuesday’s primary election — from a temporary job at the Sheriff’s Office and an internal investigation concluded King falsified at least one time card in May in addition to violating code-of-conduct policies.
King on Tuesday handily defeated Constitutional candidate John Pennington, whose supporters have cried foul over the timing of disclosures of King’s woes and possible impact on the vote. King’s internal affairs file was released to The Daily Sentinel on Tuesday under a Colorado Open Records Act request filed Monday by the newspaper.
King has said the internal affairs report amounted to “a lot of strong language ... over a $90 mistake.”
“I have apologized to everyone involved at the sheriff’s department and would hope my unblemished track record of 32 years of law enforcement in this valley would outweigh a $90 bump in the road,” King said.
Spiess, serving as undersheriff when King’s time card issues were raised, personally handled the internal affairs matter and concluded discrepancies on King’s time card were not an “error or misunderstanding,” but a conscious effort to offset hours he’d lost when told to adjust the record.
King submitted a time card showing 106 hours for the pay period of May 10 to May 20. He was told to submit a second time card, one reflecting breaks. King did, but the second time card showed total hours worked increasing, not decreasing as expected, from 106 to 119.
King stormed out of a meeting with Spiess when confronted and was fired days later by former Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey, who expressed “extreme dissatisfaction” with King over the episode, according to internal affairs records. A former sheriff’s investigator, King has performed worked for Sheriff’s Office since 2007 on a temporary basis.
Hilkey left office June 13 as Colorado’s new director of public safety overseeing, among other state agencies, CBI.
Read the full story in Saturday’s Daily Sentinel.