We just spoke with Sheriff Terry Maketa
, who tells us the claims are bogus.
"It's a ridiculous diversionary tactic," he says. "If I took the [internal affairs] file, I would have used it when he [Bill Elder] said he would swear on a stack of Bibles he had no file. I would have produced it."
Maketa says his investigation into the missing file fills two three-inch-thick binders, which include interviews, video and audio recorded statements. He says he will give one set to his attorney and one set to the investigators hired by county commissioners to investigate claims that Maketa created a hostile work environment by having sexual relationships with subordinates.
Maketa says the investigatory file will disprove the claimants' version of events regarding the internal affairs file.
Undersheriff Paula Presley
denies that she was involved in a scheme to undermine Elder's candidacy. She says she never saw the file and only reported to Maketa that another officer identified it as missing.
——— ORIGINAL POST 5:02 P.M. WED., JUNE 11, 2014 ——————-
Editor's note: After originally posting the claim as it was given to us by the county attorney's office, the Independent redacted addresses for privacy reasons.
Sheriff Terry Maketa
and Undersheriff Paula Presley
engaged in a "dirty tricks campaign"
against Bill Elder
by stealing his internal affairs file
and then trying to create a hubbub over it being missing, according to a notice of claim filed against the county Tuesday by five employees of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office
Among those five are three commanders who already have filed EEOC complaints — Robert King, Mitch Lincoln and Rodney Gehrett
— as well as Lt. Cheryl Peck and Sgt. Robert Stone.
Add this to the notices already filed, as reported in today's Independent
The notice of claim also alleges five crimes
were committed by Presley and Maketa, those being: attempt to influence a public servant; tampering with physical evidence; bribing a witness or victim; intimidating a witness or victim;
and misuse of official information.
The complaint alleges their actions constitute "extreme and outrageous conduct" that resulted in the "intentional infliction of emotional distress." The employees state they have suffered damages of loss of reputation, economic damages and loss of job opportunities in the future, which they say come to $500,000 each
Simply put, they allege Maketa and Presley engineered the disappearance of Elder's IA file in fall 2012, when Elder became a candidate for sheriff. Maketa can't seek a fourth term under term limits, and the complainants allege Maketa was looking for a way to protect women in the department with whom he had sexual relations, as well as to secure consulting work for himself.
They also allege Maketa and Presley bullied them into making up a story that would match the file being missing, all the while knowing they were responsible for its disappearance.
"Maketa knew that all sheriff employees were in fact and actually innocent of taking the Elder file because he and Presley had taken the Elder file," the notice states. "It is because of the fact that the named claimants were known or suspected to [be] Elder supporters that Maketa conducted the false criminal and IA investigation against them, knowing all the while that he had the file."
The notice of claim also states:
To subject the named claimants to repeated polygraphs, criminal investigations, internal affair investigations, threats of job loss and threats to family members in order to protect himself and Presley from discovery of his dirty political tricks is conduct beyond that [sic] a civilized society must tolerate and is atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.
The above described conduct of Sheriff Maketa and Undersheriff Presley are wilful and wanton and constitutes extreme and outrageous conduct, and resulted in the intentional infliction of emotional distress on the claimants. The conduct above offends and is a violation of civil RICO and COCA statutes, with the predicate crimes iterated above.
Here's the claim:
Elder has said he would swear "on a stack of Bibles" that he has "never, never been the subject of an internal affairs investigation."
We've asked for a comment from Maketa and Presley, and will circle back if we hear from them.