Criminal probe of King’s actions weighed by DA

DA Pete Hautzinger

Sen. Steve King

Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger confirmed he met Thursday with the heads of multiple law enforcement agencies about the possibility of undertaking a criminal investigation of state Sen. Steve King, now the Republican nominee for county sheriff.

Hautzinger stressed he’s made no final decision on pursuing a probe of King’s affairs. King was fired June 6 from a temporary job at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, and an internal affairs investigation concluded King falsified at least one time card in May in addition to violating code-of-conduct policies.

“I have received multiple inquiries from citizens asking for a criminal investigation,” Hautzinger said Thursday.

Hautzinger did not identify the agencies represented at Thursday’s meeting and declined further comment on King’s situation.

King handily won Tuesday’s primary election against Constitutional candidate John Pennington, whose supporters have cried foul over the timing of disclosures of King’s woes.

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.

With no investigators on staff, Hautzinger says his office is hamstrung in its ability to conduct independent investigations of potential criminal matters.

The Grand Valley’s two largest police agencies, the Sheriff’s Office and the Grand Junction Police Department, both employed King at various times during King’s 32-year career in law enforcement.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation, now overseen by former Mesa County sheriff and Colorado Public Safety Director Stan Hilkey, also handles criminal investigations when conflict or possible perception of conflict is raised at the local level.

In a statement Tuesday to The Daily Sentinel, King said the Sheriff’s Office 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.

Mesa County Sheriff Rebecca 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 Hilkey, who expressed “extreme dissatisfaction” with King over the episode, according to internal affairs records.

King, a former sheriff’s investigator, has performed audit and compliance work for the Sheriff’s Office since 2007 and was hired in a temporary capacity after his election to the Colorado House in 2006.

Asked if the time card issue calls into question older records submitted by King, Spiess told the newspaper there’s “no evidence to believe of a past problem or we would have investigated any allegations then.”


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Not Freida Cook - Am a relative - Patrick Rodgers - Would like to see a copy of the Internal Affairs Investigation.  If I were conducting this Internal Affairs Investigation, the critical element would be establishing the employee padded his time card with hours not worked did so knowingly and had the intent to defraud the County? Yes, the hours worked, the dates involved and how many hours per day would be thoroughly examined. 

This article makes reference to King being ordered to delete hour long breaks from his time card.  Normal employment contracts based on Federal and State Law mandate an employee be given several breaks, including one for meals.  A paid meal break is generally inclusive of an employees normal work day.  Even part time employees are granted such breaks.  Failure to follow such policies would seem to be a violation of Employment Law. I would also want to know, how the other Sheriffs employees reflect break time on their time cards, both formally and informally? 

Internal Affairs Investigations are every bit as complicated as Criminal Investigations and another question in my mind is, did the Undersheriff have the knowledge, skills and experience to conduct such an investigation and do it right. 

I am also amazed that the District Attorney does not have a couple of Investigators on his staff to handle follow up work on cases being prosecuted and Officer involved shootings.  That is something he needs to correct.  Still a lot of questions in my mind on this case.  I don’t know if Steve King is guilty or not, but remember in this country one is innocent until proven guilty.

It was posted by the Sentinel in pdf form a few days ago, NotFreida.  Look back a couple of issues.

@NotFreida—King wasn’t ordered to delete them.  He was ordered to record them, which he allegedly didn’t on his first time card.  Read the articles before you post, please.

RE the DA’s office and investigators, he’s had his budget cut to the point where he can’t even afford lawyers.  Call your County Commissioners and ask them to fully fund the DA’s office.

Well blow my dress up Bubba. Shades of AG Holder, IRS, VA, etc etc etc. None of the good ol boys can or will investigate the other good ol boys because the other good ol boys are just good ol boys meanin no harm. Go get em Barney Fife, Roscoe PEEEEEEE Coltraine, Boss Hogg, Cooter, Goober and Gomer. Just look at all you self appointed elitists. As the song goes “....caught you playin with your own ding-a-ling.” Pathetic.

Not Freida Cook - Am Patrick Rodgers - have now had the opportunity to review both of the Internal Affairs Reports and found them to be thorough and complete.  The allegations were substantiated and King’s termination appears to be more than justified.  Based on these violations of integrity, ethics and common sense, in my opinion Steve King has forfeited the right to be elected Sheriff and the honorable thing to do would be withdrawing from the race. 

This leaves voters with a dilemma as to finding a qualified candidate with experience, honesty and integrity?  Wonder if the Undersheriff could pull it off as a write in candidate?

Sorry Patrick if you are seeking integrity, morality and truthfulness you will not find it here in the land of good ol boys Bubba, cooter, Barney and the rest.

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