In an 11 News Exclusive Investigation…
More than 200,000 in taxpayers’ dollars wasted, 3 firefighters are under investigation, and by Wednesday night, no one wanted to talk about it.
Three Colorado Springs firefighters were getting certified to be paramedics on the city's dime, but police reports show they were expelled for cheating. We tried speaking with the fire department, the district attorney's office, the 3 accused fire fighters, their lawyer and the mayor, no one was willing to give us any answers.
The three accused firefighters are Brian Mudery, Daniel Nally and Kim Trupp. They were attending Pike’s Peak Community College, trying to get their paramedic certifications. Each was required to do 300 hours of clinical work, but a police report obtained by 11 news showed the 3 weren't always showing up when they said they were, instead forging signatures to show they did their work.
We tried to get a hold of the firefighters, but no one wanted to comment. But Brian Mudery's ex-wife did. She says he was in school for about 6 months. “He was almost done. He only had one more clinical. He told he had to get it all done before this deadline, but physically impossible." Gloria Mudery said.
This afternoon, we were promised a chance to speak with Deputy Fire Chief Steve Cox, but when we showed up for the interview, the department spokesperson said he wasn’t available. I questioned her saying we had just confirmed the interview with him and the city attorney. The spokeswoman said, “He’s the acting chief, so there are other things that come first."
So just how much did this end up costing taxpayers? The police report adds it all up.
For tuition and books...$4 to $5,000 each.
The firefighter’s salaries…about $30-thousand dollars.
And to pay for their replacements while they're in school...about $36,000.
That adds up to a grand total of almost $204,000.
The police detective on the case determined there was probable cause for a misdemeanor forgery, and embezzlement of public property, which is a felony. The district attorney's office settled on forgery and theft under 500-dollars, which are both misdemeanors. So, what happened to felony embezzlement? The D.A.’s office won't answer that. We even went to Mayor Lionel Rivera. He says he's known about the case, but he, too, is keeping quiet and says he can't comment.
And what happened to the firefighters’ jobs? When we started this investigation a month ago, all 3 were still with the fire department. Two weeks later, they were off.
After repeated attempts for clarification and details from the fire department, still no comment. The spokeswoman said, “They're releasing a statement and John has that statement." I told her that I don't need a statement, I need questions answered. She said, "Well, that's the best I can do."
As of late Wednesday night, we never received that statement from Deputy Chief Cox. It should be noted, the fire department initiated this investigation to begin with. All 3 firefighters have upcoming court dates and we'll keep you posted.
On another note, all three are now suing the city for wages lost when they were on unpaid leave during the investigation.