HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS — Roughly $500,000 is missing at the Grand County Building Department, an amount unaccounted for over the course of 12 years, confirms Grand County Sheriff Rod Johnson.
No arrests have been made or suspects named so far, although Johnson said on Feb. 5 the activity involved both missing checks and criminal activity. He expects to issue a final report to the district attorney by the end of this month.
County commissioner minutes from a special meeting in early January noted that “a person in the (building) department has done something criminal” and that the “board would like to see that person punished.” According to the minutes, the building department head, Scott Penson, was not part of the illegal activities, although commissioners noted he should have been aware of them. Penson will continue working as the department head, but is under probation.
Meeting minutes also implied cash had been taken out the building department’s till by an employee.
County Manager Lurline Underbrink Curran recently confirmed an employee in the building department has been “released,” but said it was for reasons not directly related to the illegal activity.
On Jan 14, the county commissioners adopted a resolution on cash and revenue policy with stricter cash receipt controls and accounting. Daily revenue deposits with the treasurer are now required for all county departments located in the county seat. At departments located elsewhere, deposits must be made weekly for all revenue, and daily for revenue $500 or more. The new regulations also strictly forbid county employees from cashing personal checks for cash receipts, directing them instead to cash checks with the treasurer.
Reached on Feb. 5, Underbrink Curran declined to comment further on the case, but said more details can be expected in the coming weeks.
Leia Larsen can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603.