At the Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, special meeting called by the commissioners for the apparent purpose of hiring outside counsel to represent the county in the Jackson Fork appeal, Lt. Dave Siefkes from the sheriff’s office was present, which I found highly unusual since members of that office normally do not attend commissioner meetings. When someone representing that office is present at commissioner meetings it is usually the sheriff and always for a reason of some interest to him, which was not the case in this instance.
Further, executive sessions have never been attended by persons without a clear interest in the subject matter of the meeting. I indicated to the commissioners that I was there to represent the board to ensure proper executive session protocol was adhered to and nothing more, if the board desired that. Chairman (Joel) Bousman indicated that it was appropriate for me to stay, although something seemed amiss with the manner in which he assented to my offer. Present at the special meeting were the Board of Commissioners, county administrator Matt Gaffney, county clerk (Carrie) Long, Brady Oltmans from the Roundup and a few others.
After the public left the room for the executive session, Matt Gaffney immediately chastised me for being present and indicated that I should be required to leave. After I protested, chairman Bousman intolerably instructed me to leave prior to beginning the executive session, which I immediately did.
It became clear to me that this was probably an orchestrated attempted setup. While it is beyond inappropriate for Mr. Gaffney to ever have any say in how or when I represent the commissioners under any circumstances, he had the opportunity to lodge his objection prior to the doors being closed for executive session but did not.
This would seem to be calculated on his part, probably because he incorrectly believes I could not disclose his antics due to executive session confidentiality.
Lt. (Dave) Siefkes appeared without apparent reason again during the regularly scheduled commissioner meeting held Tuesday Jan. 18, 2022, as well as the following meeting, his arrival coinciding with mine.
After the Jan. 13 meeting I began to dig deeper into this bizarre happening, and to ask individuals why Lt. Siefkes was routinely showing up to commissioner meetings after I arrived. I spoke to each commissioner except Joel Bousman and none had any idea why Lt. Siefkes had begun attending meetings, or why he first showed up at the special meeting Jan. 13.
I first spoke to Sheriff Lehr, who was quite hesitant to discuss the matter but eventually when pressed stated that there was concern about a declination of representation letter I had sent the commissioners in the Jackson Fork appeal.
He said that Joel Bousman had instructed Carrie Long to call the sheriff’s office to ensure a law enforcement presence because of this concern. This made no sense; however, he would not elaborate further. I have written numerous declination letters during the course of my career as a lawyer when I have a conflict, all are in substantially similar format to declination letters any lawyer would draft, and none contain anything resembling a threat.
During a subsequent conversation when I pressed him, the sheriff changed his tune and said people found me threatening, without reference to the letter. He again refused to explain what I had allegedly done, or who had lodged complaints against me. I also spoke to Lt. Siefkes, who refused to comment beyond affirming that people felt threatened by me.
I next called county clerk Carrie Long. Regarding the presence of Lt. Siefkes she said, “They were just there.” I told her I knew such was not the case. She refused to provide additional information, saying it was being “blown out of proportion.” She did not deny that Joel Bousman had told her to call the sheriff’s office to be present when I am at commissioner meetings indicating the obvious, that her statement “they were just there” is not accurate. County Clerk Long said she did not want to become “part of any talk” and would not speak about this issue unless “in court.”
Following my conversation with Carrie I spoke to Commissioner Joel Bousman, who indicated the reason that Lt. Siefkes showed up every time I arrived at a commissioner meeting is because we had some county employees who were feeling threatened by me. He said he can’t speak for them as to the nature of the threat. He declined to say who had made the allegation that I had threatened somebody. He said there was fear I would file a lawsuit but would not elaborate as to the basis of this assertion.
I have never threatened any county employee, official, or any other person for that matter with physical violence. I demand answers from each of the above-referenced individuals as to who I allegedly threatened and the precise nature of the threat, and most importantly I demand that any proof related to these false and disgusting allegations be brought forward and publicly disclosed.
The public deserves the information necessary to decide whether this is an attempted nefarious character assassination and collusion among individuals associated with county government who have motive to attempt to damage my reputation or worse, or whether the allegations against me have merit.
Perhaps Sheriff Lehr would better serve the public he swore to protect by addressing the lack of leadership which defines his office, rather than waste law enforcement resources stalking and harassing me in gestapo-like fashion.
Many in the community have expressed that there are too many law enforcement officers in the sheriff’s office and that is a hard argument to counter when in good ol’ boy fashion the sheriff chooses to harass a law-abiding former law enforcement officer and current prosecutor as opposed to fulfilling his official duties.
Lt. Siefkes should be out enforcing the law and seeking out criminals instead of following me around, but that would not fit the narrative the sheriff apparently wishes to propagate.
I deserve better than this, and more importantly the citizens of Sublette County deserve better.