Ex-deputy says he was fired over junk dispute; sheriff won’t comment
A Mesa County Sheriff’s Department deputy under internal investigation relating to a dispute over junk at his property is no longer employed by the agency, authorities said.
Mark Lasley, the man at the center of the spat, said he was fired on Friday.
“I’m appealing my termination,” Lasley said Monday at his home, declining further comment.
The Sheriff’s Department said in a prepared statement it has concluded its investigation of Lasley.
“Since this was an internal affairs investigation and personnel matter, no further comment will be made,” the sheriff’s statement said.
Sheriff Stan Hilkey told The Daily Sentinel on March 1 the department had initiated the investigation toward determining if department policies had been violated. Among the policies is a mandate that employees behave in a manner that doesn’t discredit the agency, Hilkey said.
Mesa County Commissioners on March 1 voted to give Lasley until April 1 to remove various junk from around his home at 180 Rainbow Drive, or face a possible misdemeanor charge.
The property appeared to have been cleaned Monday; testimony during the March 1 hearing included photographs of discarded appliances, furniture, mattresses and other items.
Hilkey has said he wasn’t aware of the code enforcement issues surrounding Lasley’s property until commissioners told him about it Feb. 24, five days before the issue was raised at the commission’s land-use meeting.
The county’s land-use code prohibits property owners from keeping junkyards or junk in residential areas.
A county code enforcement officer told commissioners March 1 that six complaints had been received about the Lasley property over the past two years.
The county issued a notice of violation Jan. 27, and improvements to the property were observed soon after. Lasley expressed in phone conversation to county officials in late February that the cleaning would be finished within weeks, according to testimony from the March hearing.