Cañon City police confirmed to News 5 that they have an open criminal investigation into Katie Barr, the Fremont County Clerk and Recorder.
The investigation was launched following an inquiry submitted by News 5 back in September.
Over the summer, News 5 Investigates received a tip that Barr was potentially mismanaging county finances for her family’s personal gain and then allegedly altering the books to cover it up. Tuesday, Cañon City police executed search warrants related to the case.
“We have a large number of records that we are going through,” Chief Daric Harvey said. “This investigation came to light as a result of a request from KOAA Channel 5 asking for some documents from county government and that sparked a conversation between county government and the police department to look at some of the improprieties Channel 5 asked about.”
According to the Fremont County Board of Commissioners, Barr has voluntarily removed herself from the operations of the Clerk and Recorder while the investigation continues. Chief Deputy Dotty Gardunio is fulfilling the duties of the elected office.
The Fremont County Board of Commissioners sent a press release Wednesday morning that reads, “The County Commissioners took immediate steps to place additional financial safeguards in place. In addition, a review of every department and every elected official’s office will be conducted in the near future concerning cash handling and banking activities.”
The release goes on to say, “We exercise great caution with respect to all county financial operations. We take appropriate actions when new information comes to light, which is the reason we contacted the Cañon City Police Department.”
Police Chief Daric Harvey says he can’t comment on specifics because of the active investigation, but he did confirm they are looking into accounting records and payment ledgers Barr utilized.
According to a release from CCPD, Fremont County reached out to their office to handle the investigation as they are “an unaffiliated police agency with jurisdiction.”
Assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation was requested to provide technical assistance with the financial aspects of the investigation. CCPD clarified that this is not a federal case and no charges have been filed as of Wednesday.
“Anytime the government is involved in a criminal probe, the police department’s goal is to be as transparent as possible because the citizens have a right to know what their government is up to and what they are doing,” Harvey said.
We reached out to Barr for comment, but have not heard back.
Stay with KOAA.com for new developments as they become available.
Katie Barr’s husband, Chad, has his own set of troubles. News 5 Investigates has learned he is accused of illegally selling a customer’s car over a contract disagreement on repair service costs.
Barr owns a repair shop and is being sued by Justin Trouard, a Colorado resident.
Trouard took his Ford truck in for repairs and says he agreed to pay Barr for repairs with cash and a Harley Davidson motorcycle. After repairs were made, the complaint alleges Barr backtracked on the agreement and wanted cash. When Trouard didn’t pay the amount Barr was asking, Barr allegedly to re-titled the vehicle and sold it.
At a court hearing on Sept. 5, a judge ordered Barr to return the vehicle pending the outcome of the case. Barr did not comply and failed to show up to a hearing.
In court Tuesday, Barr asked to retain legal counsel in this case. He told a judge the vehicle is no longer in his possession.
He’s due back in court Nov. 22.