From the various reports, it apparently started when a citizen sitting in a public area of the public office recorded a conversation between the Sheriff and a Constable that revealed he was undercharging for permits for selected people. The recording became public, and the Sheriff’s first response appears to have been to call the District Attorney and demand that there be an investigation for violation of the wiretap laws and leaking of confidential information rather than address the real problem of using licenses to carry in this manner and possibly shorting the county its share of fees.
It turns out that the DA found there was zero expectation of privacy between the individuals given their roles as public officials and where they had their conversation, and nothing confidential was leaked. So, the Sheriff now appears to claim that it was all above board because he was purposefully handing out the licenses in order to see if one of his secretaries who had recently filed a grievance against the office was leaking information. However, the person who benefited with the discounted license was apparently never informed prior to the event that he was part of such a plot and had to pay up later. Needless to say, there are people who doubt the after-the-fact claims of a secret investigation.
It appears the DA has turned the evidence related to the issuance of discounted licenses to carry over to state authorities, and a source tells the local paper that a grand jury has been called related to some sort of investigation into the Sheriff’s office.
They also report that the state Auditor General’s office found the Sheriff may not be charging the appropriate fees mandated by the state for carry licenses or writs of execution, which now means the County Controller is also investigating.
It’s very odd, indeed. Even if the licenses are being issued according to the law in regards to background checks, it is very troubling to hear that there are concerns that discounts and freebies are being used to benefit political supporters while those who aren’t so well-connected are forced to pay the higher, state-mandated price.