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Commissioner: Taxpayers won't pay legal bills

Commissioner: Taxpayers won't pay legal bills

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - An El Paso County commissioner said Thursday that taxpayers will not be responsible for the county assessor's legal bill pertaining to his campaign finance violation.

Commissioner Darryl Glenn said constituents called and emailed him Thursday concerned that taxpayer dollars would be used to pay for assessor Mark Lowderman's attorney.

Two weeks ago, Lowderman was fined $14,000 for a campaign finance violation. He will appeal the decision.  However, El Paso County will not cover the costs of his legal tab.

"If you're sued individually, you are on your own, essentially," said Glenn.

It was a different story with El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa. El Paso County spent $10,000 on his attorney. 

Formal complaints were filed against Maketa accusing him of sexual favoritism and creating a hostile work environment. El Paso County commissioners expected lawsuits to be filed soon after the complaints were made public. However, no lawsuits have been filed yet, so commissioners decided Maketa didn't need an attorney right now.

Maketa has kept his attorney. Commissioner said they won't pay any legal fees for Maketa during this time.

"We have to really scrutinize because lawsuits have not been filed," said Glenn. "That's what taxpayers expect us to do."

In a letter posted on the El Paso County Sheriff's Office website, Maketa said commissioners aren't paying his legal fees anymore because of "political pressure."

Maketa's attorney told El Paso County in a letter that Maketa would take legal action if the county didn't cover the costs. 

Lowderman is currently on vacation and couldn't be reached for comment.

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