Park County District Attorney's race explodes into mud-slinging
The Park County District Attorney's Office was up for grabs in a recent electoral race; and just before ballots were mailed out, apparently the challenger Dagna Van Der Jagt in conjunction with Park County Undersheriff Monte Gore alleged an ethical violation against the incumbent Thomas LeDoux. Mr. LeDoux was quickly cleared by the Office of Attorney Regulation, however, the complaint was enough just before the election to result in the letter below to citizens of Park County by Mr. LeDoux.
Related: Letter from ARC concludes no violation by LeDoux
District Attorney Questions Motives, Timing of Complaint
June 5, 2012
Park County Citizens,On Monday June 4, less than twenty four hours before the ballots were mailed to the voters of the 11th Judicial District, Park County Sheriff Fred Wegener issued a press release stating that Undersheriff Monte Gore filed a complaint against me with the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel (ARC).
Upon learning of the press release from a reporter at The Flume, I called Sheriff Wegener to discuss the complaint. Sheriff Wegener agreed that the press release was unfair and requested that The Flume "disregard" the press release. However, it was too late.
The press release stated that the incident at issue occurred in December of last year and that there is "now an ongoing investigation."
In the ARC complaint Undersheriff Gore accuses me of threatening to prosecute a PCSO deputy on December 9, 2011 in retaliation for Gore's endorsement of my political opponent in the upcoming election.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The facts are as follows: I did meet with Undersheriff Monte Gore on December 9, 2011. During that meeting Undersheriff Gore accused then PCSO Sergeant Mike Brown of misrepresenting facts to my Assistant District Attorney Kathy Eberling during the domestic violence investigation of Summit County Sheriff's Deputy Sylvia Simms.
I informed Undersheriff Gore that he was accusing Sergeant Brown of various crimes including: Attempt to Influence a Public Official, False Reporting, and Official Misconduct. I told Undersheriff Gore that he had an obligation to submit the case to my office for review, which he had not done. I told the Undersheriff that if we determined that Sergeant Brown had in fact committed those crimes we would file criminal charges.
Undersheriff Gore did provide the case file to my office and we determined that Mike Brown had not misrepresented any facts to my office as was determined by a subsequent investigation by a PCSO Detective. Therefore, the Undersheriff's allegations were unfounded and no charges were filed.
The Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel informed me that it was Dagna Van Der Jagt, my political opponent for the Office of District Attorney, who initially made this complaint to the ARC over the telephone in February of 2012. At that time Ms. Van Der Jagt was instructed by the ARC to submit the complaint in writing.
I would note that Ms. Van Der Jagt was not present during the incident and is not in any way connected with the incident other than through her political relationship with Undersheriff Monte Gore and Sheriff Fred Wegener.
Nearly six months after the incident and more than three months after Ms. Van Der Jagt was instructed to submit the complaint in writing, but less than 1 week before the ballots go out; Undersheriff Monte Gore filed a written complaint with the ARC on May 29, 2012.
The very next day, on May 30, 2012 Ms. Van Der Jagt brought the grievance to the attention of a reporter with The Flume newspaper.
The Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel requires 2-3 weeks to review written allegations. Therefore, the submission of the written allegations less than a week before the ballots are to be delivered to the voters does not allow the ARC the time necessary to reject the allegations as unfounded prior to the voters making their decision in the District Attorney election.
I am confident that the ARC will conclude that I have done nothing wrong or unethical in any way.
It should be noted that despite the intervening six months, neither the Sheriff nor the Undersheriff has ever addressed their concerns regarding this alleged incident directly with me, and neither of them informed me of the complaint that was filed. In fact, I learned of the complaint from a reporter from The Flume on Monday June 4, 2012.
I would also note that it is patently false for Sheriff Wegener to have stated that "This is now an ongoing investigation " and the inference that there has been even an initial determination by the ARC that I have done anything wrong is grossly misleading.
Given that this alleged incident was not previously brought to my attention, the timing of the written allegations, the direct involvement of Ms. Van Der Jagt in the filing of the complaint, and the fact that the allegations have no merit, it is clear that this complaint is politically motivated with the intent of casting aspersions on my character to the benefit of my political opponent at the very moment that voters will be casting their ballots.
Such politically motivated actions are beneath the dignity of the people of Park County and the rest of the 11th Judicial District.
Thom K. LeDoux District Attorney, 11th Judicial District