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Independent investigation into sheriff adds up for taxpayers

Independent investigation into sheriff adds up for taxpayers

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - The cost for an independent investigation  into El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa keeps climbing.

KRDO NewsChannel 13 learned Wednesday that county investigators took seven computer hard drives from Maketa.  This comes nearly three weeks since the county started looking into allegations against Maketa.  He's accused of promoting women in which he had inappropriate relationships to positions they didn't earn, creating a hostile work environment and misusing taxpayer funds.  There are also several pending lawsuits from former sheriff's office employees claiming Maketa harassed them violated their first amendment rights.

The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners has retained counsel from the law firm Sherman and Howard at the reduced government rate of $250 an hour, according to a spokesperson with El Paso County.  The county could not say how long the investigation will take and how much it will ultimately cost taxpayers.  According to the statement:

"The investigation into the employment claims will take as long as the independent investigator deems necessary to determine the veracity of the employment claims. The cost of the investigation will depend on how many hours the investigation takes and a final cost will not be known until the investigation is complete."

Meanwhile, Maketa has retained his own attorney, Pamela Mackey, also at $250 an hour.  Mackey is the attorney who defended Kobe Bryant against sex assault allegations in Colorado.

Last week the Board of County Commissioners delivered a unanimous vote of "no confidence" in Maketa and asked him to resign immediately.  Maketa has repeatedly refused an interview KRDO NewsChannel 13, saying he will wait to comment once the investigation is complete.  Earlier this week, KRDO obtained a video admission and apology that Maketa sent to Sheriff's Office employees.

At the BoCC meeting, commissioner Darryl Glenn explained that it is up to the county to cover the costs of the investigation.

"We have a responsibility as tax payers to go through the process to make sure we follow due process to make sure that both sides can air their grievances," Glenn said.  "The taxpayers pay for that."

To read more background and information about the investigation, click here.

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