We Desperately Need a Moral Compass in this County
Another day, another Sheriff’s Office lawsuit. Or so it seems with every rising sun over El Paso County. This week starts the federal district court civil trial against Sheriff Bill Elder and the County by two former employees alleging…wait for it…retaliation for reporting sexual harassment, as well as sexual harassment itself.
Where have we heard this one before…oh yeah, that pesky case settled for $68,000 in August 2017.
Hey, why just sexually harass your employees when you can also retaliate against them for daring to complain about it? Go big or go home, right?
Sadly, there are a handful of serial sexual predators who not only work at EPSO, but who have seen meteoric promotions under Bill Elder. When the predators are not punished, but the victims are, then it’s clear Elder’s moral compass isn’t broken…it’s non-existent.
A Walk Down Memory’s Shame Lane
During the primary campaign, the Republican Party elites of El Paso County looked down their noses at me for pointing out Elder’s corruption. They called it ‘negative campaigning,’ as if discussion of the corruption somehow was morally inferior to the corruption itself. That sort of tortured logic is something the Democrat Party typically engages in, but I repeat myself.
If I raised concerns about lawsuits, the usual dismissive response was, “Oh, the Sheriff gets sued every day!” Translation: “Stop pointing out how disgraceful and corrupt our Sheriff is…we still love him no matter how much taxpayer money he squanders or lives he destroys.”
I never suffered fools in my professional life, nor am I about to start. Allow me to remind the citizens of our county of some of Elder’s lawsuits and the money you’ve paid out.
- Former Inmate Injured in Custody Settles for $675,000.00
- Woman Held Beyond Release Date Because She Couldn’t Afford $55 Fee Will Likely Settle for $60,000.00
- Former EPSO Employee Allegedly Sexually Harassed and Suffered Retaliation for Complaining About the Harassment Settles for $68,000.00
- Former Jail Deputy Alleges Racial Discrimination and Retaliation
- Huntz & Huntz v. Elder Alleged Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Suit (cost to taxpayers could be substantial)
- Likelihood of a Lawsuit Against Elder for Political Retaliation Against Former EPSO Sergeant (dittos, see above)
- Workplace Discrimination Suit Against Elder by a Former LT (dittos, see above)
- ACLU Class Action Suit on Behalf of Illegal Immigrants Unlawfully Held in County Jail (this one could be astronomical considering the number of plaintiffs. BTW, Elder saw this as a perverse badge of honor and proudly campaigned on the fact that the ACLU had sued him, taxpayers be damned)
I cannot think of anyone who even comes close. This is a disgrace and every official involved in giving Elder cover, camouflage, concealment, and comfort should step down and demand the Sheriff do the same.
Why So Many Settlements?
The only lawsuit that seems destined for an actual trial is the Huntz & Huntz v. Elder suit scheduled to start today. All the rest typically result in a settlement. Why?
The County Attorney and Commissioners want you to believe it’s to save the taxpayers money. Don’t buy that tripe for even one minute. These people are ‘tax and spend’ liberals masquerading as conservative Republicans. They could not care less about abusing YOUR money.
Let me repeat that. The County Attorney and Commissioners COULDN’T CARE LESS how much of your taxpayer money they squander settling Elder’s lawsuits.
Why else does every settled suit carry a clause that prohibits the plaintiff from discussing the terms of the settlement and a statement in which the county denies any wrongdoing?
It’s simple: they want to preserve their political hides, and as political careerists who hop from one elected position to the next, keeping the voters from knowing how dirty their hands are is very important when election time rolls around.
Why hasn’t the Huntz case been settled? I don’t have any inside knowledge, but I can speculate that it means the case against Elder and the County is so strong, that the plaintiffs not only believe they will prevail, but they expect to receive a substantial jury award.
That this case will drag the County through the mud and embarrass the Sheriff must have the political elites of the County plus the Republican Party establishment – all of whom rallied around and supported Elder’s nomination – mighty worried.
I happen to think it’s time the dark underbelly of this County receive some necessary disinfecting sunshine.
About Those County Commissioners
They ALL endorsed Elder for reelection. But just like the sign in the crystal shop that reads, “You break it, you buy it,” the Commissioners and the County Attorney “own” their decisions to get behind and support/endorse the daily train-wreck known as Bill Elder.
Don’t let them try to flick that from their fingertips when the media finally start to engage in journalism. Keep in mind some important points. When the County Commissioners endorsed Elder, he had already:
- Been sued for sexual harassment and retaliation (that fact was known to them since they approved the settlement).
- Been sued by a former LT for workplace discrimination (case is pending, but certainly nothing new).
- Presided in his first two years over an alleged ‘Fight Club’ in the jail.
- Overseen double-digit attrition rates that threaten the survival of the Sheriff’s Office and imperil public safety.
- Allowed patrol and jail manning to drop to levels so low that public and officer safety are put in grave danger.
Hold them accountable and demand they explain it.
When the Huntz case reaches its culmination, whether that’s at the end of a complete trial or some surprise settlement is reached, demand an explanation and full accountability from the County Attorney and the Commissioners.
Demand to know why more of YOUR hard-earned taxpayer money has been wasted and why they got behind the nomination of the man responsible for that mess.