Court filing denies additional allegations of Sheriff's Office retaliation

Dan Schwartz
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christesen and other defendants have denied additional allegations — made in an amended complaint — that they retaliated against former employees, according to a recent court filing.

Four former sheriff's office employees filed an initial complaint against Christesen, Sheriff's Office Capt. Brice Current, then-Undersheriff Ron Anderson, the sheriff's office, the county and its board of commissioners in April 2014.

The complaint claimed unjust demotions, workplace harassment and demands to support Christesen's 2014 re-election campaign. A response to the complaint denied the allegations. Another response filed on Sept. 4 to the amended complaint, which contained more examples of alleged retaliation, denies those allegations.

A mediation conference is scheduled for Monday.

Efforts to reach the defendant's Albuquerque attorneys for this story were unsuccessful. Efforts to reach the Albuquerque attorney representing plaintiffs Lisa Haws, Matt Wilcox, and Shane and Beth Utley were also unsuccessful.

Christesen said he's not certain if the lawsuit will be settled before it reaches trial. Whatever happens, he said, will be a business decision.

"If it were up to me, we would be going to trial in May," he said.

Dan Schwartz covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606 and Follow him @dtdschwartz on Twitter.