The state’s Independent Ethics Commission voted 4-0 on Tuesday to pursue a complaint allegedly against Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters.
The complaint alleges that Peters accepted air travel and other gifts in excess of the state gift limit of $ 65 from MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. Lindell said in an Aug. 23 video that he took Peters in his private plane to a cyber symposium on voter fraud.
In the video, Lindell speaks to Peters, stating, “Sorry, your hotel was broken into. We’ll take you to a better place and protect you. “ Complainant Anne Landman said this suggests Lindell is paying for her housing and security.
It appears that Peters “has accepted and continues to accept thousands of dollars in services, travel, security and favors from Mr. Lindell in violation of the Colorado Constitution,” the complaint states.
Landman told Colorado Politics in September that she responded to additional questions from the commission about her complaint, which is still confidential under commission rules, although it is now becoming public as the commission decided that she was not frivolous.
Peters is also facing a lawsuit from the electoral division of the secretary of state’s office over these gifts. The lawsuit, filed with the Office of Administrative Tribunals, alleged that Peters failed to file campaign finance reports, failed to register as a candidate for re-election, and accepted over-limit donations. state law as she continued to solicit contributions for a re-election candidacy. .
The commission has not set a date for the hearing, which is expected to take place next year.
Other matters: The commission held a brief hearing on jurisdictional issues related to a complaint against Custer County Public Health Director Clifford Brown. He did not attend Tuesday’s hearing.
Based on a complaint filed by Jordan Hedburg, editor and publisher of the Wet Mountain Tribune, Brown allegedly violated public trust by claiming he had a master’s degree in public health from a university that may exist or not. Documentation Brown submitted to the commission shows that he allegedly received a master’s degree in public health science, a different degree from an MPH, from Dartley University, which several sources claim is not accredited. to offer diplomas. Other sources told Colorado Politics that he never existed in the state (Delaware) where he claimed to do business.
Brown is not a doctor. He holds a doctorate in optometry and has spent much of his career in the United States public health service as an optometrist, not in virology or epidemiology. The Custer County Board of Health hired Brown in August 2020.
County District Attorney Clint Smith told the commission on Tuesday that the board of health, which is also the county commission, did not check Brown’s school record, transcripts or diploma and did was based only on his experience in the public health service.
State law and rules outlined by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment state that a public health director can be a physician, public health nurse, or other medical professional. qualified public health. Brown was never licensed to practice optometry in Colorado, according to the state database maintained by the Department of Regulatory Agencies.
An optometrist, according to the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, “receives a doctorate in optometry (OD) after completing four years of optometry school, preceded by three or more years of college.” An optometrist, according to the organization, is not a doctor.
According to the ethics commission investigation, Michele Shimomura, director of CDPHE’s office of public health practice, planning and local partnerships, told the investigator that the county did not appear to submit , within 30 days of hiring, a form to review the minimum qualifications required for directors of public health.
Shimomura, who was hired in October 2020, said she could not confirm whether this form had already been submitted, citing email issues. The form appeared at CDPHE in April 2021, according to the report.
Shimomura told the investigator she knew Dartley’s degree was “controversial”. The CDPHE approved the exam form, although Shimomura admitted that she never validated Brown’s credentials, telling the investigator it was the county’s problem if the information was inaccurate.
Hedburg told the commission on Tuesday that Brown had no authentic degree in public health and continues to mislead the public by claiming he has an MPH in emails, phone calls and at board of health meetings.
COVID-19 is raging in Custer County. His one-week positivity rate is 30%, more than double the state average and the highest positivity rate statewide, according to the CDPHE. A Facebook a post Tuesday from the Custer County Public Health Department said the county “has 31 positive cases of COVID 19 reported in the past 7 days, and four community members have died from COVID 19 in the past 30 days “. The county’s total population, according to the 2020 census, is just over 5,000.
Mike McFalls, district school superintendent, ordered county schools to switch to distance learning on Monday due to a high number of cases of COVID and other seasonal illnesses among staff and students.
The jurisdictional issue on Tuesday is linked to an allegation of second-degree forgery. Smith told the commission the fee did not apply to academic papers. The other claim – the use of a bogus academic record – is only relevant when Brown applied for the post of director of public health, and not after accepting it, according to Smith.
The committee met in executive session to discuss jurisdictional issues and will issue a written opinion in the coming days. A formal hearing into the complaint is scheduled for January.