Probe into deputy attorney's expense fund continues

Replacement

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS A special investigator said Wednesday he is close to finishing an investigation into an expense fund of former 14th Judicial Deputy District Attorney Charles Feldmann.

Since May 17, 5th Judicial District Attorney Michael Goodbee has had his chief investigator examining Feldmann's use of an expense fund between last October and the day of his May 14 resignation.

"I expect it will be complete in another week or so," Goodbee said.

Investigator Jerry Sandberg on Wednesday was in Steamboat Springs conducting interviews into the matter, Goodbee said.

Sandberg is looking into the expense fund Feldmann used as a prosecutor in Steamboat Springs and as the project director of the Grand, Moffat and Routt Narcotics Enforcement Team.

Goodbee and Sandberg are not commenting on any details of the investigation.

Neither Feldmann nor his former boss, 14th Judicial District Attorney Paul McLimans, has commented on the case.

The expense fund was a point of contention between Feldmann and McLimans. The two men met days before Feldmann abruptly resigned.

During the May 10 meeting, McLimans raised concerns he had with Feldmann's use of the fund.

After receiving Feldmann's brief, written resignation, McLimans requested that a special investigator/prosecutor look into the matter.

On May 17, the veteran district attorney asked for Routt County Judge James Garrecht to appoint an independent office to investigate the matter to avoid an appearance of impropriety and conflict.

As Goodbee's investigation continues, McLimans is also moving forward in replacing Feldmann, who worked as a prosecutor for about five years.

On Wednesday, McLimans interviewed two candidates in Steamboat Springs for his three-prosecutor office here.

"We have been stretched, but we have been fortunate," McLimans said. "It has not been too bad, but it is not the ideal situation."

Picking up the slack in Feldmann's absence have been Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James and Deputy District Attorney Elizabeth Wittemyer.

McLimans said he is interested in filling the vacant position soon because Wittemyer is expecting a child in August and will be taking time off, he said.

Filling in for Wittemyer will be Charles Lance, who has interned for McLimans.

Lance is expected to start work in the Steamboat Springs office Monday.

After Sandberg completes the investigation, Goodbee is expected to decide whether or not to file criminal charges against Feldmann. (Gary E. Salazar is a reporter for the Steamboat Springs Pilot/Today.)

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