El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa — who is facing a recall effort following allegations of having sex with subordinates, creating a hostile work environment and mismanaging office funds — spoke to his peers at the conclusion of the County Sheriffs of Colorado conference in Aspen on Friday.
Reporters were not allowed inside the Limelight Hotel meeting room when Maketa spoke at about 11 a.m. Earlier in the morning, both U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, and Gov. John Hickenlooper spoke to the sheriffs in an open setting that was covered by local and regional media.
Gary Cure, assistant executive director of the sheriff’s association, said Maketa simply wanted “to tell his side of the story.”
“As soon as he was done, the other sheriffs just got up and went,” Cure said. “There was never any discussion.”
Maketa did not ask the sheriffs for their support, he said.
“He said this is his deal and he wasn’t going to try to put any other sheriffs in the spotlight,” Cure said.
Maketa’s alleged improprieties have caused a stir in the Colorado Springs area. On Thursday, his supporters staged a rally in front of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, carrying signs that said, “Citizens for Terry” and “Our Sheriff Rocks.” Critics showed up, as well, and a shouting match ensued, but the dual rallies remained nonviolent, and there were no arrests, according to an online story by television station KOAA.
Maketa’s wife of 28 years and his brother joined the supporters, according to a report by the Colorado Springs Gazette.
A group that is organizing the recall effort must collect more than 44,000 signatures by July 12 to trigger a recall vote. An earlier recall petition was rejected by the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office because it did not meet certain legal standards, TV station KRDO reported.
About seven months remain in Maketa’s term. He is prevented from seeking re-election because of term limits. County commissioners have demanded his resignation, but Maketa has vowed not to step down.
The scandal broke in May. On June 9, Maketa’s department released a video in which he apologized to his staff and spoke of being “embarrassed and humbled.”
“I engaged in inappropriate behavior in the past,” he said. “When confronted about that behavior, I denied it, thereby compounding the problem by not being candid.”