Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis is no stranger to criminals–does the name Montgomery Chitty ring a bell?–and that is perhaps as it should be for an officer of the law. But even his most slavish supporters of the new-age Sheriff may have to admit he has gone too far this time.
On official Pitkin County letterhead, Braudis wrote a letter in support of convicted felon Bert Fingerhut for his Mountain Rescue Aspen volunteer activities. Braudis also admitted he barely knew Fingerhut.
“That struck us that a sheriff would write a letter supporting a criminal,” Assistant U. S. Attorney Karl Buch said. “And he wrote it on his professional letterhead.”
Kudos to Rick Carroll, who broke the story, for showing Sheriff Braudis will no longer get a pass from local newspapers for conduct unbecoming a law enforcement officer sworn to uphold the law. Braudis’s disappearance in summer 2006 for alcohol rehabilitation was denied by the Sheriff’s Office and his addiction was never acknowledged. And the Sheriff’s refusal to support the drug laws for decades continues to be striking, particularly as the Roaring Fork Valley continues to roar with illegal immigration, crystal-meth busts, and the shooting last week of a police officer in Glenwood Springs.
The lingering question: if Braudis openly supports criminals, then how can he be expected to uphold the law?
Worth noting, according to Carroll, is that “federal authorities say Bert Fingerhut cheated bank investors out of millions of dollars.”