El Paso County Sheriff Retires Amid Accusations Of Budget Improprieties And Affairs

Amid allegations of creating a hostile work environment, budget improprieties, and conducting affairs with three of his subordinates, Terry Maketa retired from his role as County Sheriff for El Paso County, Colorado, on Christmas Eve. His third and final term was to have been completed in a few weeks.

Maketa had spent almost 30 years with the El Paso County Sheriff’s office, first joining the office in 1987. He took over the role of Sheriff in 2003, and was elected for two more terms. When he was initially named Sheriff, he was lauded for his leadership style and relentlessness, according to the Gazette.

By 2010, however, a different story had emerged. The Colorado Springs Independent reported on allegations of special treatment for certain female employees. This year, the Gazette obtained both text messages and emails between the El Paso County Sheriff and his female employees that supported the earlier accusations.

“The messages show sexually explicit conversations between him and comptroller Dorene Cardarelle and dispatch shift supervisor Tiffany Huntz. He was also alleged to have had sexual relationships with his second-in-command, Undersheriff Paula Presley. A county investigation later supported the claims of inappropriate relationships.”

Further issues emerged in 2011, as the El Paso County jail was placed on probation for failure to comply with a variety of issues, and in 2013, although Maketa was lauded by many for his leadership during the Black Forest fire, the Gazette reported on accusations that flew back and forth between the El Paso County sheriff and the Fire Chief, Bob Harvey.

In November 2013, Maketa lashed out at Black Forest Fire Chief Bob Harvey after Harvey said the Black Forest fire likely was intentionally set. He said in a news release that Harvey’s comments were “an attempt to mislead the public” and a “mere witch hunt.” He also accused Harvey of mishandling response to the fire.

The exchange led to weeks of accusations and caused the Black Forest Fire Board to launch an independent review of Harvey’s handling of the fire. The report cleared Harvey of the accusations.

John Anderson, the sheriff who preceded Maketa in El Paso County, spoke to the Gazette about the many allegations.

“Unfortunately the first 10 or 11 years of his administration will be diminished and overshadowed, tragically, by what happened more recently. For me, rather than trying to judge him or anyone on their weakest days, I try to look at the total contributions. And I think in Maketa’s case, 27 years of public service should mean something.”

Both civil and criminal investigations continue in El Paso County at this time. What many may have to ask themselves is how long these activities might have been going on before they were brought to light, especially since investigations so far seem to have confirmed all the accusations brought against Maketa, according to the Gazette.

Maketa wrote a memorandum of resignation on December 17th, which was posted by KRDO.

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