Charges against commissioners under review

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Two affidavits filed against the Moffat County Commissioners are still "under review," according to investigating attorneys.

Lawson Wills of the Aspen District Attorney Office, where the affidavits are being reviewed, would make no further comment. Nor would he define what "under review" meant.

The two affidavits -- filed May 13 and May 21 -- allege "malfeasance" on the part of Moffat County Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos, Administrative Services Director Debra Murray and other unnamed "county officials."

Murray has since resigned her position in Moffat County and taken a job as budget analyst in Mesa County.

Both affidavits were filed by Stan Hathhorn, a Moffat County resident and a member of Concerned Taxpayers of Moffat County -- a group that headed a recall effort earlier this year against commissioners Les Hampton and Raftopoulos.

The May 13 affidavit relates to Moffat County's 1999 contract with NC Telecom.

The deal called for the delivery of two high-speed DS3 Internet lines -- one serving the Colorado State Patrol at the Moffat County Public Safety Center. The second half of the deal called for bandwidth capacity equaling one DS3 line for use "by the county, libraries, municipalities, hospitals and public schools in Moffat County."

The county was to "appropriate and prepay" in 2000 $500,000 and $700,000 respectively for the DS3 services.

The affidavit alleges money was never budgeted or appropriated, while expenditures were not "classified by object" as required by state statute. An alleged violation of County Resolution 1998-52 also is cited:

"Expenditures of monies for a purpose not identified in the budget (and hence appropriated for) are illegal," according to the resolution.

A statute stipulating that budget expenditures cannot be redirected between budget categories -- nor used for purposes not approved for --also is alleged to have been violated, according to the affidavit.

The second affidavit alleges that in May, an internal transfer of county monies -- $100,000 from the general fund and $200,000 from the Public Safety Center Fund to the jail fund -- violated state law.

The commissioners later reversed that move -- passing a resolution that switched revenue pots from the general fund to the capital projects fund.

Raftopoulos has previously denied all the allegations, saying commissioners have acted on the advice of attorneys.

"We've not done anything illegal and have always followed a public process," Raftopoulos said.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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