Monday, August 25, 2014

UPDATE: New claim against Sheriff Maketa

Posted By on Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 3:09 PM

click to enlarge A new claim against the Sheriff's Office alleges harm from disclosure. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • A new claim against the Sheriff's Office alleges harm from disclosure.

UPDATE: Sheriff Terry Maketa sent us this statement in response to the filing of a claim against him by a former sergeant:
This is merely a political ploy and weak at that. Case law has clearly ruled IA files involving duty related incidents as a matter ofr public concern amd therefore subject to public release. The media often requests IA filed and unless specifically prohibited by Federal or Colorado Law they are released as the law requires. Anyone can file a notice of claim with no legal merit. This is clearly one pd those poorly thought out claims.
———ORIGINAL POST MONDAY, AUG. 25, 2014, 3:09 p.m.———

William Claspell
left the El Paso County Sheriff's Office 15 years ago, so you'd wonder how in the world he would have a viable claim against Sheriff Terry Maketa now. I mean, Maketa wasn't even elected sheriff until 2002, after Claspell left the department.

But Claspell has submitted a notice of claim to the county, saying Maketa's release of an internal affairs file has impacted his current job, as he explains in his notice — obtained first by the Independent:
The release of this confidential internal affairs file, in violation of El Paso County policy, as well as the Sheriff’s own policy, has caused irreparable damage to my reputation within the law enforcement community. I have been forced to explain my involvement in this case to my superiors, family, and friends and I was recently denied a promotion to a management position at my current agency. I have lost the confidence of my community, my co-workers, and my current employer, and have been subjected to the deeply embarrassing situation of having my disciplinary history dragged out into public view for no other purpose than to advance the political aspirations of Sheriff Maketa’s handpicked successor and to satisfy Maketa’s own personal agenda. 
At issue is the dispute over whether Bill Elder, the only person seeking Maketa's office and the presumed next sheriff, had an internal affairs file stolen from the Sheriff's Office when he worked there in the 1990s. The IA file dealt with keeping of timecards for deputies assigned to the Metro Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence Unit. Claspell was a sergeant at the time, who reported to Elder, who was a lieutenant.

Maketa released Claspell's file to prove there was a file on Elder, which was reported first by the Independent. Elder has maintained all along there was no internal affairs investigation of him on the matter.

Read Claspell's notice of claim here:
ClaspellClaim.pdf
Claspell, of Pueblo West, is a criminal investigator for the Colorado Department of Corrections, according to his LinkedIn page, and wants $100,000 "to compensate for the lost promotional opportunity, embarrassment, and mental distress that this has caused me." He also wants a written and public apology from Maketa for releasing Claspell's IA file, and he wants Maketa to also publicly admit "that this release of records was done recklessly, in violation of the El Paso County and Sheriff’s Office policies, and for personal gain," the claim letter states.

Maketa has said he won't discuss claims pending a county investigation of allegations he had inappropriate sexual relationships with subordinates and created a hostile work environment.

Asked about that investigation, senior assistant county attorney Diana May says via email, "The independent investigation is still proceeding forward. In addition the financial review of the Sheriff’s finances is also still pending. We do not have an estimated date of completion at this time."

The Claspell claim brings to $4 million the amount sought by current and former sheriff's workers citing missteps by Maketa.

In recent days, Maketa told KKTV he might leave office early, a contradiction to earlier statements that he would serve out his term, which expires in January. A recall effort this summer failed to garner the 44,000 signatures necessary to mount a recall election in November.

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