Did Bill Elder have a “Pay for Play” Campaign?

We received detailed information from a source close to the Sheriff’s Office about Bill Elder’s campaign donors and volunteers.   This information was in the form of an article laying out a “pay for play” by Bill Elder’s campaign in the 2014 El Paso County Sheriff’s Election.  We have edited the story to protect some sources and removed some information we want to put in a separate story.

The sources for the information provided in this story are listed at the bottom.

Information concerning contributions to Bill Elders campaign for Sheriff in 2014 is public and online.  You can go check and verify most of the information provided below by going to the Colorado Secretary of State website (click here to view Elder’s campaign committee Information).

It appears many of the individuals who contributed to Bill Elder’s campaign financially gained from his success by either getting a high paying job in his administration or if already working at the Sheriff’s Office, a promotion or the job they wanted.

Up to 35% of Bill Elder’s campaign contributions were provided by individuals who would later be compensated multiple times over the amount they donated.  Some would get the job of a lifetime even though it appears their experience would not justify the position.  We expect this type of behavior from politicians, but should an elected official whose responsibility is to protect the citizens of their community play this same game?  Or should they ensure qualified individuals are overseeing our safety?  Plus, let’s remember, this is taxpayer dollars.  In fact a few years ago we as a community voted to raise our own taxes to ensure our Sheriff’s Office had adequate staffing, training, and equipment.

So, let’s get to the numbers.  Deputy William Huffor and his wife, Janet Huffor appear to have donated approximately $2,950.00 in cash and $788.93 in “non-monetary” contributions for a total of $3,738.93.  Without making any allegations of misconduct; here is what happened when Bill Elder took over as Sheriff of El Paso County.  Within days William Huffor was promoted to Sergeant raising his salary by $8,000.00 a year.  His wife, Janet, who was Elder’s campaign manager and currently a secretary with no management experience we know of was given a $90,000.00 a year job as Elder’s Chief of Staff.  A position, it appears was created by Bill Elder specifically for her.  The Huffor’s received over $7,000 in additional pay their first month in Elder’s administration.  Approximately a year later William Huffor was promoted to Lieutenant receiving an additional $15,000 a year. Over Bill Elder’s four year term they are projected to receive over $400,000 of additional taxpayer funds. These are funds that would not have been spent if Elder was not elected.  That is approximately 3 more deputies.

There’s more.

Wendy Habert, Elder’s second campaign manager. She donated $1,740.00 to the Elder Campaign and was given a position that we believe paid $90,000.00 a year.  She later took a position with a large company that holds a multimillion dollar contract with El Paso County.

Greg Maxwell, who was the registered agent for Bill Elder’s candidate committee, donated $1,300 to his campaign.  He was a reserve Deputy receiving no compensation.  Bill Elder gave him a job as a Lieutenant and paid his salary while he received his POST certification (required to be an officer in the state of Colorado) at Pikes Peak Community College. We can not verify that Mr. Maxwell has any Law Enforcement experience other than as a reserve deputy for a few years.  Mr. Maxwell receives $90,0000 a year and is projected to receive $360,000 of taxpayer funds over Elder’s four year term.

For the sake of time let’s get right to it.  Here is the list of Elder Supporters/friends who received some form of compensation or reward after Elder was elected.

Charles Hatch, Donated $971, Hired as commander  $103,000

Bradley Shannon, Donated $840, Promoted to Bureau Chief  +$7,000 a year

Joseph Breister, Donated $600, Appointed as Undersheriff  $118,000

Larry Borland, Donated $350 (+wife), Hired as Administrator  $111,000

Cliff Porter, Donated $350, Promoted to Sgt  +7,000 a year

Brian McPike, Donated $375, Hired (2016) as Financial Administrator   $90.000

Ken Hilte, Donated $200, Hired as “Inspector”  $90,000 (est)

Emory Gerhart, Donated $200, Re-appointed as Sgt

Charles Kull, Donated $240, Re-appointed as Sgt

Thomas DeLuca, Donated $200, Hired as Commander  $103,000

Todd Evans, Donated $400, Hired as Chief Deputy  $111,000

Mitch Lincoln, Donated $100, Promoted to bureau Chief  +7,000 a year

Natalie Sosa, Donated $100, Promoted to Elder’s Secretary  +6,000 a year

If you add up all the salaries of the new positions and promotions given to Elder contributors it adds up to 3.3 million dollars of taxpayer monies to be given out over his four year term.  Five of these positions did not exist prior to Bill Elder’s administration.  If you add that money up it is 1.545 million dollars (over 4 years) of new taxpayer monies that could have been spent on extra cops, training, overtime, equipment, etc.

Didn’t Bill Elder complain about wasted money and corruption in the previous administration and promise he would be different?

Bottom line: Some contributors to Bill Elder’s campaign could receive up to 3.3 Million dollars in compensation as a result of him being elected Sheriff.

You can verify our sources by going to TRACER and review all the reports and add up all the contributions.  You can verify salary data by doing a CORA request with the El Paso County Sheriff’s office.  Ask for hire dates, salaries, and promotion dates of the individuals listed above. We also suggest you ask for applications, resumes and background checks as well.  Extra credit: Ask for the Staff Authorization chart showing general fund and 1A funded positions (and salaries) and compare to the previous administration. You might be interested in how some general fund positions are now funded with 1A Funds.  They have to pay for all these new positions somehow. What happens in 2020 when 1A funding goes away?

We have provided “Data” which we believe (in our opinion) shows Corruption and Nepotism.  We have also provided sources and links to our sources so the reader can verify for themselves.

UPDATE: We were contacted by an individual who actually went out to TRACER to confirm our story and found that there was another individual who contributed to Bill Elders campaign and later might have received consideration. Rob King donated $500 and later was brought back as a Commander when Bill Elder took office.   Glad to see people confirming our information.

Sources:

Colorado State TRACER system

Budget records obtained from the Sheriff’s Office through the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA)

El Paso County Website

El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Website

4 unnamed sources wishing to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation

 

Silence is the Endorsement of Corruption