Criminal probe of candidate requested
DA asks CBI for its help with King investigation
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 wrote in a letter, which is addressed 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 from a temporary job at the Sheriff’s Office June 6, 18 days before Tuesday’s primary, and an internal investigation concluded King falsified at least one timecard in May in addition to violating code-of-conduct policies.
King 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 on Monday by the newspaper.
King — who has called the internal affairs matter “a lot of strong language ... over a $90 mistake” — said he welcomed scrutiny by a third-party agency.
“I look forward to helping in any way I can so this can be resolved quickly and professionally,” King said.
Spiess, who served as undersheriff when King’s timecard issues were raised, personally handled the internal affairs matter and concluded discrepancies on King’s timecard 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 timecard showing 106 hours for the pay period of May 10 to May 20. He was told to submit a second timecard, one reflecting breaks. King did, but the new timecard 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 then Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey. A former sheriff’s investigator, King has performed a variety of duties for the Sheriff’s Office since 2007 on a temporary basis.
Hilkey left office June 13 to become Colorado’s new director of public safety, overseeing, among other state agencies, the CBI.