Kevin Kelleher requests county take DVD scandal to grand jury

By Charlie Warner
Argus News Editor

“There is a difficult and troubling issue that has not been resolved here in Houston County. It has to do with local law enforcement officers copying DVDs. I’m not talking about one or two copies, but hundreds of copies on a monthly basis.

“I realize the county did conduct an investigation, but it appears as if no one that was really involved in this was named or received the consequences.

“I have concerns when county employees, who wish to bring this out in the open, won’t because they are afraid of reprisals from our law enforcement officials. People should not live under this type of fear.”

That was the opening statement made by former county commissioner Kevin Kelleher, who addressed the Houston County Board during last week’s meeting.

Kelleher was referring to an alleged incident that was investigated during the summer of 2010 that resulted in the reprimands of Information Systems Director Andy Milde and former Finance Director Casey Bradley.

In July and August of 2010, the county board held a number of closed door sessions to discuss allegations of county employee misconduct. An outside investigator was hired by the county and Milde and Bradley received written reprimands.

Eighteen months ago Bradley was written up for failure to report an infraction to the state auditor’s office. Milde was cited for personal use of county property.

At the Aug. 24, 2010 county board meeting Milde said, “I’m aware that it happened, now that this has come forward. I wasn’t aware until after the fact that it was done.” Milde added that he had not personally copied DVDs.

At last week’s board meeting Kelleher said all of the facts had not surfaced.

“There are county employees out there who have information and want to come forward. But they are afraid of retaliation. There is a high probability that illegal activity has taken place. I’m asking the board to clean this up and be done with it,” Kelleher added. “I’m asking the board to contact the Minnesota Peace Officers Association.”

Board Chairman Jack Miller said he has discussed the matter with Kelleher and agrees that there should have been a broader investigation.

“I feel we attempted to flush this out, but we ran into a stonewall. People didn’t want to talk,” Miller said.

The other three commissioners attending the meeting (Justin Zmyewski, Teresa Walter and Steve Schuldt) were not on the county board in 2010 when the investigation took place.

“I thought this was taken care of,” Walter said.

“This was investigated by an outside source, previous to when I got on the board,” Schuldt said. “I too thought it had been resolved.”

Zmyewski asked if and how the board should move forward with the issue.

Kelleher said there would be an inherited conflict of interest if the county decided to investigate this “in house.”

“My family was in law enforcement. I realize the county attorney’s office and law enforcement need to have a good working relationship. This needs to be taken out of house and handled by an outside county attorney. This needs to go to a grand jury,” Kelleher said.

Miller told Kelleher if he felt that strongly that more needed to be done with this issue, that he should contact the proper authorities and make his case.

“But who do I take this to?” Kelleher asked. “If I am going to proceed with this, who is the chief law enforcement officer to file this with? If there is in fact, involvement by law enforcement officers I can’t go there.”

Miller suggested Kelleher contact the Minnesota Peace Officers Association.

No board action was taken on this matter.

You can contact Charlie Warner at [email protected]

  • ex-con

    I don’t see how this benefits anyone, rather it be taypaper or employee. The point has been made and the problem resolved.

    What are we looking at here, copyright issues, obstruction of justice, or what?

    I see lots of taxpayer money going down the Root River.

    Kevin, leave it alone……please……..

    • mrs

      I, on the other hand, agree with Mr. Kelleher. The county employees who were caught participating in illegal acts were given a mere “slap on the wrist” and were not punished in any way. I, for one, do not feel comfortable knowing that our law enforcement is able to get away with such acts. Just because they are law enforcement does not, in ANY way, mean that they should be able to break the law; especially with county equipment that WE taxpayers are ultimately paying for. So yes, “ex-con,” maybe our taxpayer money will ‘go down the Root River’ if an investigation is pursued; but our money is already being wasted on these law enforcement officers who care more about themselves than the citizens of Houston County. I’d rather see my taxpayer money go towards an investigation to get rid of these officers, rather than paying for their DVDs. THANK YOU, Mr. Kelleher.

  • Kevin Kelleher

    Ex-con, how has the problem been resolved? By the contacts I’ve received, the “we’re above the law” attitude is still operating in the County. Law Enforcement must not only enforce the law but OBEY the law to keep the public trust. This has not happened here and the perpetrators have not been held accountable.
    What we’re looking at here is, yes, all of the above and more.
    OK, now anyone with more information, please contact me. You can remain anonymous but I’ve stepped up, now it’s time for you folks to do so as well. Kevin Kelleher

    • eagle1

      Mr. Kelleher if you wanted to stay so extensivley involved in county affairs you should have tried staying a county commissioner. We have a group currently elected commissioners that should know how to handle their job. How would you have liked it if an excommissioner tried to tell you what you should be doing when you were an elected official?

      While you are trying to dig up dirt on others why don’t you fill everyone in on why you no longer work for the Houston School District. I am sure that the readers would be more than interested to know what was going on there and might have a different opinion of you if they were better informed.

      A lot of people including myself think this has been dragging on for way to long and the current commissioners need to address ending it now. The current county commissioners should have told Mr. Kelleher the minute he walked into the meeting that it has been dealt with and is over.

      Mr. Kelleher I realize you are probably trying to gain some “face time” for a future run at another elected position. However, I think the people of this area decided the last time around they didn’t want to elect you. Maybe you need to find a real job like the rest of us and worry about yourself.

    • ex-con

      Kevin, not much has changed since your younger banty rooster days. Yes, cops love to complain, they have it down to an art and you stopped to lend an ear.

      The previous leadership has already handled this, but you waited for some new people to be elected into office, then bring it up? NOT COOL!

      You want a criminal investigation, on want? DO you know that for a criminal conviction, beyond a reasonable doubt is required. That is far different than the civil requirement of preponderance.

      In the meantime you are causing lots of problems within the office, which places everyone on edge. Maybe that’s what you want?

      So, just want if your platform here?

      Your are undermining the both the sheriff and commissioners.

      Also, show me a company or business where the employees don’t use company equipment/property, just a little. Yes, it’s wrong, even a little, but it’s done all the time. So how do we stop it, should we fire everyone and fill the new jail, OR should we educate the employees a little better, then more on with the work that we’ve been hired to perform……………….

      Have a good day sir………..

  • town crier

    bravo eagle1!! kev u are just trying to stir up some dust to get your name out there for a bid at re election. who would want an ex-commissioner who was a blow hard at every meeting thinking he was god back in the saddle?? esp when he was so smart and adament that ho co needed a new jail then he and another numpty ex commish show up after the fact saying WE DON’T NEED IT. like eagle 1 says get a REAL job like the rest of us and work for a change. dig up some dust in your own fields and leave the current commissioners alone. you are lucky they didn’t say blah blah blah blay or where is he getting his information from?? the heating vents above the office?? how does it feel NOT to be heard. go away… move to alaska and run up there. we don’t want your EX expertise in houston county anymore.

  • curious resident

    As for this DVD scandal a or whatever it is, JUST QUIT TALKING ABOUT IT. I am sick of hearing about it. Over the last couple of years all I hear from Mr. Kelleher is complaining about the current commissioner’s decisions. First it is the extra large jail that he got everyone convinced we needed in the first place, and now it is this stupid DVD deal. What is next? Does anyone else see that Mr. Kelleher loves to stir up dust as we say in Houston. I did find something very interesting in all of this however. I have been a Houston resident for the past 60 years and over the past few years we have been dealing with the same problems. Mr. Kelleher has been publicly scrutinizing every move of our school district makes. Until now I just thought that Mr. Kelleher had moved on to another position but I see in the post earlier that there may be more to this story. I am curious as to what happened with Mr. Kelleher and why he is no longer employed by the school district. Eagle1 could you possibly fill me in on this? I know there are several more Houston residents that are curious to know. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Mr. Kelleher is looking to win votes for future office but this is not the way to win votes in my book. As for this DVD deal, it is OVER.

  • Kevin Kelleher

    If I and my cronies were guilty of a crime and it was published in the paper, I think what I might do is respond under the cover of anonymity and try to pile garbage on the accuser. Good job guys! Won’t work though. Way to thick skinned for you brave citizens.
    At the Board meeting I gave to the Board and the press an email which detailed the “operation” with names and quantities of DVDs copied.
    Sorry heroes, it’s not over, it’s just begun!

    • town crier

      oh goody… we can hear more crap coming from your big mouth. how bout giving us the reason u were dead set on the big bad mighty jail u conjured up and then all of a sudden its NOT the thing to do. no one likes u in houston county so how about picking up your belongings and carpetbag in another area. u are noting but a big joke that everyone laughs at behind your back. there are some who are brave enough to call YOU a spade a spade. so hey spade… go shovel dirt in someone elses neighborhood.

    • eagle1

      Mr. Kelleher how come you haven’t told the readers how your employment ended with the Houston School District yet? I don’t consider this “garbage” in any way and don’t think the other readers would either!

      You haven’t been to a Houston School Board meeting for a while now. I guess you have found another issue to look into here. We can only hope you find another problem to dig into soon. If only the people of Houston County appreciated all your hard work you do……NOT!!!

      I guess I was also wrong about you needing face time for a future run at office, as long as you have a couple commissioners believing your every word you must feel like you are one of them. It’s a good thing we have three other commissioners that can think for themselves.

  • Looking for the truth

    This is one of those situations that gets covered up by the “good o’le boy system” and people involved are more than likley thinking what can we do to make this go away. I guess my first thought to to man up and be accountable for Your actions; the people handing out the dicipline should not take the easy road with minimal consequences; Some questions that should be asked: Why are employess making copies of DVDs in the first place? Why is it being done on the taxpayers dime? Moving on and back to the accountability issue, why are these employees are allowed to conduct what ever business they want on county time? Most of them have not had the reins pulled back and have not been told what they are expected to do. There are 5 supervisors in the sheriff’s office, and one would think one of them could give some direction to the underlings! I see the town crier is upset and taking pot shots at the complainant in this issue, and states everyone is laughing behind his back, which is an unture statement, as I am not laughing behind his back, so not everyone is doing so. And I also see some racial over-tones as well. I like Kevin and I live in Houston County, so that is another lie made by the town crier. Looks like an emotional response from this person. The botton line is, the sheriff’s office has never held it’s employee to much accountability, and the last 6 years have not been any different, as it is alway the fault of some other department; When every anything happends, it is all hush hush, and keep it quiet, so we can get the rug out and sweep everything under it. I think this issue needs to be brought out, and the persons involved terminated. Ignore it and bad mouth the people complaining is not the way to solve and resolve issues, believe it or not. The Sheriff’s Office needs a house cleaning and doing it by means of retirement is just too slow and breeds more of the same type of mis-conduct over a period of time. An outside agency from outside of the area should investigate this, not a department next door, so the good o’le boy system can continue to work. I am quite sure that my employer would not tolerate me making DVD copies and his time, noting that the Sheriff’s Office employees make more per hour than many of the residents of Houston County do. Seems they should be able to afford a $3.00 DVD rental. Keep on it Kevin, You are at the tip of the Ice Berg, and I am sure these people are watching themselves pretty closely so they don’t shoot themselves in the foot again, or leg as it were.

  • jlbd9

    Good job Kevin. You have them worried.

  • ex-con

    Most copyright litigation is civil in nature, check it out for youself on the internet.

    If you open up this can of worms (DVD’S), you may only pile on the information for a great civil action, costing the taxpayers lots of

    Why cut off the nose to spite the face?

    Is the lack of common sense the new norm here?

    Move along, there’s nothing here……….

    check out the link below

  • justthinkin

    Before I make any comments regarding this issue, it would be nice to obtain a copy of the investigation involving the theft of these materials. The who, what, when, where, how and why of the facts involved. It would certainly make a difference to me of what the investigation provided. That is if the ordinary citizens of this county are allow to gander at such things? Mr. Kelleher, Do you have knowledge of where a citizen may get a copy?

  • Js68

    Maybe these people forgot to read the first part of the movies they were coping, that said the goverment will fine them up to 250,000 dollars or 8 years in jail!! Maybe the Sheriff will let these guys out on work release, or maybe they could mow the new jails grass, or shovel the snow, or maybe they could paint some lines on the parking lots. I think Kevin should keep looking into this so all this stuff stops for these people that don’t do any thing wrong. And maybe hard working people that live in HC could get a good job and feed there kids.

  • Looking for the truth

    The public should be able to obtain a copy of the investigation as a matter of public information. The Sheriff should be able to provide a copy of this info. I also think we need to look at more than just the copy of the DVD issue, and that is why are the taxpayers paying county employees a salary to copy DVDs? This is tax payer money being used to something other than what it is intended to, and that is theft. This whole thing needs to be opened up. I would suggest that the persons involved are their own worse enemies and that they may have done something to cause the stir, other tham the copying of the DVDs. The diciplinary action taken should be public information. I think the Sheriff and whomever else is involved in the investigation should just open everything up and get it all out in the open and be done with it. This is more than likley got going away and it is possible that this may be an issue in the next election, as there is now a fresh retiree that may be looking a the “big badge”.

  • Kevin Want to be

    Wow, reading these makes me laugh out loud!!
    Looking for the Truth should be a comedian!!
    The Best news I read was the fresh retiree doesn’t work at the court house any more.

  • King ding-aling

    These deputies are doing a great deal of work in there off time. Don’t think they are just watching illegal copyrighted materials only. They also take inmates to the bank in La Crosse and leave them there while they aren’t working. Full service!

  • justthinkin

    I can not comment on the DVD scandal, as I do not have enough information as yet to form an opinion one way or another; however, I do believe that Houston County, as many other counties in the nation have done, should form a citizen’s review board to investigate any and all actions taken by public employees that can be considered, illegal, immoral, or against public interest.

  • justthinkin

    An afterthought. Mr. Werner, could you, as editor of the Caledonia Argus provide the public with the facts of what the above-mentioned DVD investigation found. I am not as familiar with the Freedom of Information Act as you possibly are. Who, what, when, why, how and the amount of things taken would certainly help in the public’s decision on what actions should have been and possibly should now be taken regarding this matter.