Rich Guys Get Un-Deputized in Yuma County

Billionaire Republican megadonor Robert Mercer

Bloomberg News has a fascinating update to a story that we followed regularly in this space last year about Republican mega donor Robert Mercer and his pay-to-play posse scheme in Yuma, Colorado. As Zachary Mider writes for Bloomberg, Mercer will have to go play cops and robbers somewhere else:

The New York hedge fund magnate and conservative donor had his status as a volunteer deputy sheriff revoked by Yuma County, Colorado, Sheriff Chad Day on Monday, his last day in office. Day lost his re-election bid last year after Bloomberg News reported on Mercer’s role and his purchase of a new pickup truck for the sheriff’s official use. [Pols emphasis]

The arrangement provoked controversy in the prairie county that borders Kansas and Nebraska. Day submitted papers last week ending the appointments of Mercer, 72, and at least a dozen other volunteer posse members, effective Jan. 7, according to documents signed by Day and filed with the county clerk. Day also revoked the appointment of William Koch, 78, though a spokesman for the billionaire industrialist said he was never a posse member.

County records that became public in recent months show that four Mercer associates, including a bodyguard who says on LinkedIn that he’s a former “Cuban Special Operations Commander,” had also received badges from Day and that the value of Mercer’s donations of cash and equipment to the sheriff’s office totaled more than $135,000. Mercer declined to comment, and Day didn’t respond to multiple inquiries.

Chad Day is now the former Sheriff of Yuma County (and presumably the outgoing President of the Colorado County Sheriffs’ Association) in large part because he sold out his county in exchange for a new truck and a bunch of stun guns so that Mercer — who owns one of the world’s largest private collections of machine guns — and his buddies would be able to carry concealed weapons anywhere in the country. Day had insisted to Blair Miller of Denver7 that there was no quid, pro, or quo in this deal, but that’s not how it looks from Bloomberg’s follow-up investigation.

Much like Robert Mercer, Chad Day can now only pretend to be in law enforcement in Yuma County.

Mercer was apparently connected to Day via Rocky Mountain Gun Owners head honcho Dudley Brown, who is also associated with a certain U.S. Senator from Yuma. A spokesman for Sen. Cory Gardner told Miller at the time that “he didn’t know anything about the story aside from what he’d read in Bloomberg.”

For his part, Day had refused to answer detailed questions about the arrangement when it was first reported last spring, making the absurd claim that some of his “volunteer resources” were “directly involved in confidential undercover operations that involve direct ties and associations with the Mexican Cartel which has a presence in [the Yuma area].” No doubt the 78-year-old William Koch (yes, that Koch brother) was also a tremendous deterrent to any potential Mexican cartel operations.

The Bloomberg update to this story also provides more disconcerting details on some of the individuals involved in the arrangement Mercer had with Day and Yuma County.

In 2016, a foundation Mercer controls bought the pickup truck for Day’s agency. The foundation’s goals include educating local police forces about H.R. 218. At a county meeting, Day reported that he’d connected with Mercer through Brown, according to minutes of the meeting. It was a nicer truck, Day remarked, than the county would have spent its own money on.

That November, county records show, Mercer and four associates took oaths of office in Yuma, swearing “before the ever living God” to support the U.S. and Colorado constitutions. The crew included a Mercer son-in-law and three employees with backgrounds in bodyguard work, including the Cuban veteran; a self-described martial arts master; and a former Army Ranger whose LinkedIn page says he once guarded Afghan president Hamid Karzai.

The Cuban, Julio Garcia, had recently accompanied Mercer’s daughter Rebekah to the 2016 Republican convention. Garcia’s LinkedIn page boasts of training by Russian and Vietnamese special operations forces. An essay posted on a martial-arts website says he once served as a bodyguard to Fidel Castro. Garcia declined to comment.

In exchange for a shiny new truck and some other toys, Yuma County’s Sheriff deputized a guy who once guarded Afghan president Hamid Karzai and another man who served as a bodyguard to Fidel Freaking Castro!

Viva la revolución, Yuma County.

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19 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    So, the only question is: how many more deputy badges does Mercer own across the USA?
    I mean, this is a guy who thinks $50K (for a truck) is like loose change in the sofa.

    • DavieDavie says:

      The article link regarding Mercer's machine gun collection mentions this tidbit:

      …a few police and sheriff’s departments around the country have been rumored to hand out badges to buddies or in exchange for cash. The gun community calls them “badge factories.”

      Including Lake Arthur, N.M. where Mercer also bought a badge as he did in Yuma.  Just ask Negev — he can probably get you hooked up with a Rent-a-Cop Shop.

      • Negev says:

        Ha! For $50k I certainly can. He was just after concealed carry permit. Wait till you find out about demo letters….. 

        • DavieDavie says:

          Good to see you still are an obedient pooch, coming whenever we whistle.

          • Curmudgeon says:

            At least he's abandoned the pretense that he cares about training or safety, and that it really is all about flabby old men getting to pretend to be a badass, without taking any of the risks involved. 

             

            • Negev says:

              What it is really all about is money. Police departments offer perks that they have available for cash. Everywhere. It’s like an honorary degree, or pay to play you seem to endorse with the Clinton Foundation.

              I do not condone or support it, but in terms of the “perks” that donating to law enforcement are able to provide, concealed carry is as trivial as a handicap placard.

              • Curmudgeon says:

                Your pathetic "butwhataboutClinton" aside, it's not simply about concealed carry, which any of you bozos can get without much difficulty.  It's about a badge, and getting "privileges" others have to risk their lives for, because those privileges are connected to responsibilities none of you have.  

                • Negev says:

                  The buyer of the badge has met every legal requirement to obtain the desired privileges defined by the laws enforced by the seller of said badge. The seller has violated the responsibilities which define their status and have sold privileges for monetary gain. Your protector sold you out. 

                  And this is the guy slated to bust him:

                  https://youtu.be/srktFyi_ru0

                   

                   

                  • Curmudgeon says:

                    I have equal scorn for both sides of the transaction.  As for the ex-Fed, he got what he deserved.  

                  • Diogenesdemar says:

                    The buyer of the badge has met every legal requirement to obtain the desired privileges defined by the laws enforced by the seller of said badge.

                    You mean, like having money . . .

                    . . . and giving a potful to the seller graftor ??? . . . 

                    Great defense as usual, Negev.

                     

                    • Negev says:

                      I'm not defending anyone. I agree with curmie and hold equal scorn for both. But make no mistake, $50k to a P.D. is a big number, way, WAY more than what it takes to grease the monkey for a nationwide concealed carry permit. That price would generally net a buyer nationwide CC, ten MP5 post sample machine guns (95% off), and demo letters for life. 

                      My guess is we don't know half the story. If you really wanna get riled up, dig deeper. 

                       

                    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

                      Negev: you do know, don't you, that you can go on line to review the annual IRS Form 990s for the Clinton Foundation? The average, far right wing, talking heads don't seem to know that.

                • Genghis says:

                  Clinton Tourette's and its genetic kissing cousin, Obama Derangement Syndrome, are national tragedies. Millions suffer daily. The human and financial costs are skyrocketing.

                  But hope abounds! Effective treatments now exist, and researchers advise that a cure may be on the horizon.

                  So dig deep, America! Give generously to the American Clinton Tourette's Society and the National Obama Derangement Syndrome Foundation. Donations are tax-deductible. Moreover, it's the right thing to do!

  2. DENependent says:

    The election of county sheriffs is intended to make them independent of other elected county officials, which is an important consideration. However the unintended consequence of the system is the election of people who should not hold law enforcement powers.

    It would be wise to replace the system of election with a system of professional appointment with a review board and retention elections along the lines of what is used for the judicial system in Colorado.

  3. notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

    Sounds good to me, DEN. I've always thought electing anyone concerned with law enforcement (including judges) is the dumbest idea. Turning officers of the law and courts into political animals just begs for favors and turning a blind eye to members of "our team" when they violate laws. 

    • kwtreemamajama55 says:

      Which is exactly what's going on in Fort Morgan. City Manager Jeff Wells was investigated for child abuse three times yet the police were slow to arrest him, never removed kids from his home, and allowed him to continue to supervise police.

      Turns out the police chief reports to Jeff Wells, city manager.

      Fort Morgan voters had a chance to switch the deck chairs around on this Titanic with ballot initiative 2E,  but have yet to come up with a way to get rid of Jeff Wells. In fact, they reinstated him after he was on paid leave for 6 months pending investigation of the assault on his daughter. He was found not guilty in November 2018.

      He was also investigated for assault on his sons. But somehow, the people who report to him were reluctant to arrest him, and reluctant to  follow through to protect his children. And he is still the city manager of Fort Morgan.

      The police still report to him, until the commission in charge of implementing 2E – which includes Jeff Wells – finalizes its recommendations.

      So yes, political appointees suck. Especially when they supervise the people who are responsible for making them follow the law. But in this case,  an election would be an improvement. There is no process to be recall or fire Jeff Wells. As city manager, he is in charge of personnel matters.  He can continue managing the city, supervising police until he and his cronies figure out how to implement amendment 2E, and he can continue abusing his kids.

      • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

         Sounds like a perfect reason to have someone NOT in the same chain of command investigating the charges.

        Which is why, in many cases, police departments have agreements with other departments for investigations of police misconduct; why district attorneys have lawyers and investigators from other jurisdictions take over when there is an apparent or perceived conflict of interest or existing relationship; why state police and even federal law enforcement can be called in when there is a possibility of political malfeasance.

  4. Diogenesdemar says:

    So, I guess that’ll be the end of Yuma CSI?!?

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