11 News Investigation: Your Taxpayer's Dollars Wasted

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In an 11 News Exclusive Investigation…
We continue searching for answers about how $204,000 in taxpayer’s money is down the drain. When we began asking questions, no one wanted to talk. After the story aired on Wednesday night on KKTV 11 News at 10pm, the fire department and the District Attorney’s office was ready to explain.

According to a police report, three firefighters, Brian Mudery, Daniel Nally and Kim Trupp were expelled from Pike's Peak Community College. They were getting certified to become paramedics on the city's dime, but are now accused of playing hooky from their clinical work, and then forging paperwork saying they were there. Deputy Fire Chief Steve Cox says the fire department launched an investigation. "I think you can be confident that we have safeguards in place, we manage employees, and if we find out there is a wrong doing, then we address those issues."

There are roughly 83 city paramedics, answering nearly 100 medical calls a day in the Springs. The majority of them went through the same certification process as the 3 accused firefighters. But did any of them skip out on the necessary training? I told the deputy chief there was a safey concern at the heart of this issue. How does the public trust, if someone is having a heart attack, that the paramedic who shows up at the door has honestly completed his 300 clinical hours? Chief Cox says we can rest assured that they are certified.

After the police investigation, the detective on the case determined it cost taxpayers $204,000 to send the 3 firefighters to school. And in the report, he states there was enough evidence for misdemeanor forgery and embezzlement of public property, which is a felony. Lisa Kirkman, Deputy Chief District Attorney said, “Well, the police officer made the recommendation (of charges), but the police officer is not an attorney.” The DA's office is charging the three with forgery and theft under 500 bucks, both misdemeanors. Kirkman contests that what the firefighters are accused of does not fall under the definition of embezzlement of public property.
"In that situation, a person has to have property and knowingly convert it to their own use. A classic example is getting a travel check for business and then not traveling."

The firefighters, who no longer work for the department, have upcoming court dates and we will keep you updated on the situation. We told you last night about the firefighters are suing the city for lost wages during unpaid administrative leave. Well, Deputy Chief Cox says they are fighting that.