Archive for Friday, May 25, 2001

Besieged sheriff says he won’t quit

Bribery charges won’t stick, Reno County lawman maintains

May 25, 2001

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— Reno County Sheriff Larry Leslie says he won't resign despite allegations that he accepted $284,875 from a Hutchinson business to influence county commissioners to award a jail contract.

"I am here every day to do what I am supposed to do. My intention is to continue doing exactly that," Leslie told the Hutchinson News on Wednesday.

"I haven't had anyone call me or write a letter to me that hasn't been supportive."

Leslie and his attorney, Mike Gillespie, said they expected the sheriff to be vindicated of the 34 charges of bribery against him.

"The sheriff has done nothing we feel will shake the confidence that the people of Reno County have in him," Gillespie said.

Wednesday in Reno County District Court, a preliminary hearing in the case was set for July 5. Leslie, MgtGp Inc. owner Gerald Hertach and his company all have pleaded innocent to 34 bribery counts each.

Assistant Kansas Atty. Gen. John Bork, who is prosecuting the case, turned over two boxes containing about 6,000 documents to Gillespie and to Hertach's attorney, Steve Joseph, who also is representing MgtGp.

Meanwhile, Reno County commissioners met behind closed doors with County Counselor Joe O'Sullivan to discuss the county's options regarding the jail annex contract with MgtGp.

Monthly payments from Hertach to Leslie are alleged to have begun on June 5, 1998. The payments continued until Jan. 11, three days after then-Reno County Dist. Atty. Tim Chambers asked the Kansas Bureau of Investigation for an inquiry into the relationship between Leslie and MgtGp.

County commissioners would not comment on what they discussed during Wednesday's executive session, but no decisions were made.

O'Sullivan said he thought he would have some recommendations for the commissioners to consider at a meeting next week.

"I am working on the matter," O'Sullivan said. "I'm not about to discuss our options, or what course of action we might take, in the newspaper."

He said the contract "involved a lot of complicated legal issues" that commissioners would have to consider before making any decisions about the arrangement with MgtGp.

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