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DA to investigate Garfield County sheriff

John Gardner
jgardner@postindependent.com
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Garfield County commissioners on Monday referred the matter of allegations of misconduct by Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario to the 9th Judicial District.

District Attorney Martin Beeson will determine if any of what Vallario is being accused of could amount to “criminal conduct.”

Commissioner Tresi Houpt said that referring the matter to the DA’s office is the only way to resolve the issue.



“After looking at the allegations that were made and who it concerned, it made sense to me to give it to the one person who could do an independent investigation, the DA,” Houpt said. “In the long run it’s going to help everyone involved.”

Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario maintained Monday that the allegations against him are “ridiculous.”



“I’m a little disappointed that it’s risen to this level,” Vallario said. “It’s ridiculous. It’s totally untrue, baseless, lies and unfounded. I’m sure that the DA will do whatever he has to do to clear this up quickly.”

Garfield County Attorney Don DeFord asked the Garfield County Board of Commissioners to decide on how they would like to move forward after John Martin and Houpt received e-mails alleging that Vallario and a detention deputy participated in a variety of inappropriate behavior including complaints about alleged favoritism and promotions. Vallario has admitted to having a “romantic relationship” with the deputy, but maintained that the allegations of misconduct are false.

DeFord told county commissioners on Monday that some of what Vallario is being accused of could amount to “criminal conduct” and asked what direction the commissioners would like to take on the matter.



Beeson said that he was unable to comment on the matter Monday evening because he hadn’t yet received the e-mail in question.

Martin excused himself from the discussion for personal reasons that create a conflict of interest, and said that he hadn’t read the e-mail and did not know what the allegations were.

Commissioner Martin’s daughter, Lisa Martin, filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Office in May 2008. That suit was sent back to state court by a federal judge in August.

Vallario added that he’s confident that the DA’s office will find no wrongdoing from the Sheriff’s Office.

“I welcome an investigation,” Vallario said. “There is absolutely no wrongdoing going on in the Sheriff’s Office.”


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