Did Sheriff Bill Elder order employees to break the law to cover up for his own incompetence?
This morning the Colorado Springs Independent published their latest issue with a cover story exposing corruption with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO). Read Story. There appears to be evidence of not only corruption but criminal activity by Bill Elder and members of his command staff. Specifically, Administrator Larry Borland, Chief of Staff Janet Huffor, and Jackie Kirby.
In her article, Pam Zubeck lays out all the allegations in detail. How will Bill Elder get out of this one? He is obligated to suspend all three individuals until a criminal investigation can be completed by an outside agency. But here is the problem; how can Bill Elder suspend people for doing what he ordered? Can we depend on our District Attorney, Dan May, to investigate or prosecute? He is caught up in his own scandals and allegations of corruption. Read Story. Is there anyone in our justice system who is not corrupt?
Is El Paso County the new Chicago?
It is required by Colorado law that after a new Sheriff swears in their deputies an affidavit needs to be completed and signed by each deputy and the Sheriff. These affidavits are notarized and filed with the county clerk. This is required by Colorado law. These legal documents establish the authority for each sworn law enforcement officer under Sheriff Elder’s jurisdiction. It is unclear the legal ramifications if these documents are not completed or properly filed with the county clerk.
It is interesting how Elder tries to dodge the real issue. In his statement he says; “There is no regulation or Colorado State Statute requiring these Appointments or Special Appointments to be notarized and there is no time frame in which they must be filed with the Clerk and Recorder’s Office“. This might be true, but what they did to cover up their incompetence was a crime. Like they say; “it’s always the coverup that gets you.”
Here are the facts:
Bill Elder was sworn in as Sheriff in January of 2015. Over the next few weeks he swore in numerous deputies and other local officers within the El Paso County jurisdiction. These Affidavits were signed and taken to the HR office at EPSO to be notarized and completed. For what ever reason, they were put away and never notarized or filed with the El Paso county clerk.
These uncompleted legal documents remained in HR until April of 2016. That is when Jackie Kirby discovered the documents and reported the situation to Janet Huffor and Larry Borland. According to our sources, all three returned to HR and spoke with Rick Dietz and Dave Mejia (both of whom are notaries). Larry Borland and Janet Huffor told them to notarize all the documents and date them using the dates of when the individuals signed them over a year ago. Both Rick and Dave expressed their concerns; that it would be inappropriate and possibly illegal. Larry Borland and Chief of Staff Janet Huffor ordered them to do it anyway. According to our source, both Rick and Dave felt their jobs were on the line or at a minimum their careers would be impacted if they did not obey this unlawful order. So they reluctantly complied.
They were told that when they were done notarizing all the documents to let Janet Huffor know that she would hand deliver them to the county clerk. They notarized each document using false dates as directed. Plus, they did not see any of the individuals sign the documents. They provided the falsified documents to Janet Huffor and she delivered them to the county clerk.
Borland and Huffor could not get around the fact that the county clerk timestamps every document when they are received. As the old saying goes; “there is no perfect crime”. So, anyone can verify the date the documents were received by visiting the county clerk website and searching the database for the documents. Link to website. All the appointment/oath documents were filed on April 15, 2016. Over 14 months after they were signed. To verify; enter “El Paso County Sheriff” for Grantor, put in the date range of 01/01/2015 to 05/01/2016, and don’t forget to put in Appointment/Oath in the “Document Type”. You will get 500 documents. In fact, there are over a thousand.
Were crimes committed by Larry Borland and Janet Huffor?
By the order of Larry Borland and Janet Huffor over 1000 legal government documents were fraudulently completed and filed with the county clerk. This was not done by accident or incompetence; but rather by the complete knowledge of Larry Borland, Janet Huffor and Jackie Kirby. Would they do this without the approval or knowledge of Sheriff Bill Elder? It appears from the article, Bill Elder was in full knowledge of what was done.
We consulted an expert in Colorado Revised Statutes (Colorado Law). It was their opinion, if the facts are true; there could be probable cause that Larry Borland and Janet Huffor committed multiple crimes to include Extortion, Forgery, official misconduct, and Attempt to influence a public servant
Extortion is defined as when a person, without legal authority and with the intent to induce another person against that other person’s will to perform an act or to refrain from performing a lawful act, makes a substantial threat to confine or restrain, cause economic hardship or bodily injury to, or damage the property or reputation of, the threatened person or another person; and the person threatens to cause the results described by: performing or causing an unlawful act to be performed. It is a class 4 Felony.
Forgery is defined as; with intent to defraud, a person falsely makes, completes, alters, or utters a written instrument which is or purports to be, or which is calculated to become or to represent if completed: (d) A public record or an instrument filed or required by law to be filed or legally fileable in or with a public office or public servant. It is a class 5 Felony.
Utter is defined as “to pass” or “transfer”.
It seems obvious they were attempting to “defraud” the county clerk and the people of El Paso County. Because Larry Borland and Janet Huffor ordered the documents fraudulently completed by their subordinates it appears they are guilty of extortion and Forgery.
Janet Huffor knowingly passed falsified government documents to a government official or agency. This is also Forgery. The fact that she passed over 1000 documents means she could be charged with over 1000 counts of Forgery. If found guilty, she could spend the rest of her life in prison.
First degree official misconduct. A public servant commits first degree official misconduct if, with intent to obtain a benefit for the public servant or another or maliciously to cause harm to another, he or she knowingly commits an act relating to his office but constituting an unauthorized exercise of his official function; or refrains from performing a duty imposed upon him by law; or violates any statute or lawfully adopted rule or regulation relating to his office.
Attempt to influence a public servant. Any person who attempts to influence any public servant by means of deceit or by threat of violence or economic reprisal against any person or property, with the intent thereby to alter or affect the public servant’s decision, vote, opinion, or action concerning any matter which is to be considered or performed by him or the agency or body of which he is a member, commits a class 4 felony.
Did Borland and Huffor committed multiple crimes when they ordered Dietz and Mejia to falsely complete official government documents and when Huffor transferred those fraudulent documents to the El Paso County Clerk to be filed? There needs to an investigation.
If Bill Elder has nothing to hide and is honest he would not fear a full investigation. If he is corrupt, he has everything to fear and will do whatever he can to cover it up.
Should Sheriff Bill Elder be held to a higher standard?
If Bill Elder ordered the documents forged and filed with the county clerk, he is just as guilty as Larry Borland and Janet Huffor. If he knew about it and did nothing, at a minimum he is guilty of accessory and/or official misconduct.
There is enough evidence to justify a full investigation. Bill Elder has no choice but to suspend Larry Borland, Janet Huffor and Jackie Kirby until an independent criminal investigation can be completed by an outside agency.
It should be noted that both Dave and Rick were removed from their positions approximately one year later and the HR department shutdown. Was Bill Elder trying to cover it up?
If Bill Elder is honest and has integrity he will demand a full investigation. If he is corrupt and dishonest he will make excuses and try to cover up.
“Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light”
Silence is the Endorsement of Corruption