Judge hasn’t ruled on special prosecutor for Garfield County Commissioner Martin, accused of embezzlement | PostIndependent.com

Judge hasn’t ruled on special prosecutor for Garfield County Commissioner Martin, accused of embezzlement

Ryan Summerlin
rsummerlin@postindependent.com
Sherry Caloia
RYAN |

District Attorney Sherry Caloia said Monday that she is still awaiting a judge’s ruling on her request for a special prosecutor into allegations that Garfield County Commissioner John Martin embezzled public money during business trips representing the county.

Caloia told the Post Independent that a report was incorrect in asserting that Judge James Boyd had rejected a request for a special prosecutor.

Leading up to the November election the Garfield County Democrats and the campaign of the New Castle Democrat John Acha made public documentation that Democrats said showed that Martin was “double dipping” in business trip reimbursements.

Martin has denied wrongdoing. He also represented other intergovernmental organizations that gave him advances for travel expenses during the trips. Martin has also said there was no requirement that he disclose those advances to Garfield County, which he did not.

A forensic auditor brought in last year to examine this spending recommended that Martin pay $1,800 back to the county. Martin paid $1,000 and his fellow commissioners, Tom Jankovsky and Mike Samson, pitched in $400 each.

The auditor’s report acknowledged that there was often little to no distinction between work Martin was doing on behalf of Garfield County and other organizations he represented at these conferences.

In October, Caloia requested a special prosecutor be assigned because she has a conflict of interests in the case. Martin chairs the Board of County Commissioners, which sets the DA’s budget.

Caloia said Monday that Judge Boyd had not yet made a ruling, though a Grand Junction Daily Sentinel article reported that Boyd had rejected the request for a special prosecutor. It’s unclear from where this misinformation originated, as Caloia was the only source quoted in the Daily Sentinel’s story.

Caloia did not return the Post Independent’s requests for more information about the complaint’s status.

Throughout the day Monday, Martin and Andrew Quiat, vice-chair of the Garfield County Democrats, said they had not heard about Boyd rejecting the request for a special prosecutor.

Neither would Quiat give much detail about where the Democrats stand on the complaint, given Acha’s loss in the November election.

The Democrats’ vice-chair said the local party’s leadership is going to wait for the judge’s ruling on the special prosecutor.