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'How much more risk ...?' 

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I recently consulted a box the size of a laundry basket, stowed deep in my garage. The box contains records, for which the Independent paid about $400, and which were cited in our March 2010 report showing that Terry Maketa had eyebrow-raising relationships with some people who worked for him in the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

I found emails from people who spoke of Maketa's "dirty laundry" and "all the adultery" going on. The box contained travel records showing Maketa went places on business with a couple of women who were his subordinates: 10 trips over five years with Paula Presley, at that time a bureau chief, and three trips over three years with comptroller Dorene Cardarelle. I also found an array of nude pictures, printed from the web, of dispatch trainer Tiffany Huntz, who seemed to have benefited from a cozy relationship with the sheriff.

I pulled out a brochure for Maketa's 2010 re-election bid that said he requires "strict adherence to the Code of Ethics for all employees."

Then I came across a page of notes from an interview with a local lawman, who spoke of potential liability posed by Maketa's alleged actions. "Do you want this person in office for another four years?" he asked. "How much more risk are the county commissioners willing to accept?"

Well, I guess we have our answer.

To find out more about the potential costs to taxpayers as the Sheriff's Office scandal unfolds, go here.

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