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Sheriff Maketa defends himself against reports of financial impropriety

September 21, 2014 Updated: September 22, 2014 at 9:17 am
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El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said in a television interview that controversy surrounding supposed Sheriff's Office "mystery accounts" is unfounded.

Maketa told Betty Sexton of Gazette news partner KKTV, in an interview that aired Sunday, that he feels the Sheriff's Office has been "singled out," and that the accounts are legitimate.
"There's a lot of hype about secret accounts, mystery accounts, million dollar mystery accounts," he said. "That is really nothing more than people running around telling lies and then the media buying into it and never asking the questions, 'can we see your accounts?'"

Details of a supposed mystery account emerged earlier in the summer after conflicting reports.

The sheriff told El Paso County Treasurer Bob Balink that an account containing close to $1 million was approved in 2006 by former county treasurer Sandra Damron. Damron, however, said in a July interview with The Gazette that Maketa's claim was false. Balink said the account came to the attention of the treasurer in June 2013, when a six-month summary report was being compiled by his staff.

Media reports that followed also referred to additional accounts that Balink claimed to be unaware of.

Balink, who said he did not want his phone call recorded for the television interview, told Sexton that he felt media outlets made mistakes in reporting his comments and that he has no issues with how Maketa has handled his finances.

Maketa is accused of sexual impropriety, discrimination, removing almost all oversight of the Sheriff's Office annual budget and creating a hostile work environment, according to a complaint filed to the El Paso County Commission in mid-May by three of his commanders.

They also filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Nine claims have been filed with the county seeking $3.9 million in damages. The Colorado Bureau of Investigations acknowledged it is are directing an investigation of Maketa on behalf of the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office. The FBI is also involved.

Results from a separate investigation into allegations against Maketa, by the Mountain States Employers Council, have yet to be released.

In late May, Maketa acknowledged that he engaged in inappropriate behavior and apologized for "not being forthright," in a video to Sheriff's Office employees. His third and final term as sheriff ends Jan. 13.

In the interview with Sexton, Maketa was staunch in his defense against the financial allegations.

"You can tar and feather me on other things," he said. "But not this."

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KKTV reporter Betty Sexton contributed to this report

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