Sheriff’s Office under review for diverting $380k to sheriff’s shady non-profit



(The Center Square)- The Arapahoe County Board of County Commissioners is taking control of the Sheriff’s office finances for overspending nearly $1 million and an alleged unauthorized transfer of $380,000 in taxpayer funds to a non-profit that the county claims was “inconsistent with state statutes.”

The non-profit was the Arapahoe County Sheriffs Office Foundation, the county told The Center Square in an email. The Arapahoe County Sheriffs Office Foundation was given its non-exempt status by the IRS in 2022, according to the website Candid.

The form the non-profit filed with the IRS – known as a 990 – didn’t list any compensation for its officers and stated that Kenneth McKlem was the secretary and treasurer and worked an average of one hour per week with the non-profit. Ken McKlem is listed as on the command staff as a bureau chief of public safety for the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Department.

According to the 990, the foundation stated its purpose was to assist the sheriff’s office in “building positive relationships” as well as developing educational programs and improving “law enforcement services.”

The Arapahoe County Sheriffs Office Foundation did state on its 990 that it did receive “a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit.” It stated it received $190,300 in 2022 which was the first year it reported receiving money and that the money was all “public support,” meaning it was taxpayer dollars. A significant portion of the 990 was not filled out or completed.

Arapahoe County described in documents that the transfer of the $380,000 as a “diversion.”

“This diversion of funds was inconsistent with state statutes and approved fiscal policies and procedures, circumventing the Board’s statutory responsibilities over County financial matters,” the county stated in county documents and in an email to The Center Square.

The matter is before the Board of County Commissioners Business Meeting on July 9.

During the County’s quarterly budget review in January 2023, it was discovered that the Sheriff’s office overspent nearly $1 million. According to documents, this is not allowed under state law. During this time, the Board of County Commissioners took extra precautions by stripping away the Sheriff’s Department’s fiscal oversight.

These conditions are as follows:

The Sheriff’s Office implemented monthly meetings with all budget managers to discuss any foreseeable problems.The Sheriff’s Office will present to the Board and the County’s Executive Budget Committee at a quarterly review to share all known budget issues.All Command Staff members will receive training and education from the County’s finance department on budgeting, financial accounting applications, and finance practices.The Sheriff’s Office will meet with the County finance department monthly to ensure that communication is clear and that relevant issues are quickly addressed.The Sheriff’s Office will review overspent areas and develop a plan to compensate for these shortfalls as best as possible within the existing budget.

“The Board takes its fiduciary responsibilities seriously and believes these controls will bring accountability and transparency to residents and community partners as well as bring the Sheriff’s Office into compliance with county fiscal policies, procedures, and statutory requirements.” stated Chris W. Henning, deputy director of communications for the Commissioner’s office, in an email to The Center Square.

The Arapahoe County Sheriffs Office didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

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