NewsCovering Colorado


Lawsuit suggests prisons chief engaged in self-dealing and retaliation

Posted at 6:59 PM, Oct 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-04 23:50:11-04
Two semi-trailers full of electronic solid waste were delivered to the East Canon Complex in December. The Department of Corrections paid more than $100,000 to properly dispose of the waste. A whistleblower suspects the trash delivery was a favor by the DOC Executive Director Rick Raemisch to a friend who let him hunt on his property in Chaffee County.

DENVER – A whistleblower is suing the Governor’s Office, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Colorado Department Corrections to try and gain access to documents he believes will expose “self-dealing” by his boss, prisons chief Chief Rick Raemisch.

That whistleblower is warden Angel Medina. He sued the State on Tuesday seeking a report from the CBI which reviews his employment complaint against Raemisch for mistreatment after speaking up over a suspected illegal dumping scheme.

On December 6, two semi-trailers full of electronic disposal waste arrived at the Colorado Minimum Center where Medina was the warden. When Medina questioned the delivery, he was told it was ordered by Raemisch.  The trash was reportedly part of a pilot program between Colorado Correctional Industries and a landfill in Chaffee County.

But a prison is not a landfill and cannot receive solid waste deliveries. In April, inspectors from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment deemed the trash delivery to be a violation of state environmental regulations.

The Department of Corrections was ordered to send the trash to a proper disposal facility. Medina’s attorney William Finger said in a press release that the violation cost taxpayers more than $100,000.

The lawsuit states that  Medina believes Raemisch accepted the trash as a favor to a hunting buddy from Chaffee County named Paul Moltz who let Raemisch use his land and cabins during hunting excursions.

Medina claims he’s been transferred four times in the past 10 months as punishment for speaking out. The lawsuit also alleges that an executive in the Department of Corrections finance office was fired and a third employee who worked for Correctional Industries was forced into a demotion after they voiced concerns over the trash deal.

Medina requested the CBI documents through his lawyer in July. He then requested them personally in August. Both requests have gone unfulfilled. The lawsuit states that Medina believes a lawyer in the Governor’s Office is stonewalling his requests.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday and the state has not yet filed a response. Shelby Weiman, a spokesperson at the Governor’s Office told us they don’t comment on pending litigation. As for the investigation into Mr. Medina’s employment complaint, Weiman said, “we have never promised a specific date for completion of the investigation, but will share the results of the investigation as soon as it is complete.”

A spokesperson at the Department of Corrections referred us back to the Governor’s Office for comment.

CORRECTION: The broadcast version of this story erroneously reported that Angel Medina had been demoted. He has not.  Instead, he’s been transferred four times since January.