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Jefferson County rocked by allegations of misuse of resources

Rumors of alleged misuse of Jefferson County resources have been spreading over the past few weeks.

Our investigation came after our newsroom received numerous calls and emails on the matter.

After allegations surfaced that Sheriff Blair Olsen’s Wife, Marie, had been using a county-issued cell phone, paid for by local taxpayers, some community members are looking for answers.

“A few weeks ago, I had a bunch of county employees at my house sitting around my kitchen table over there,” said Bruce Baxter of Rigby. “A few of them have lawyered up already. They’re scared, and I don’t blame them.”

A group of concerned Jefferson County taxpayers have signed a petition demanding a full scale, independent, forensic audit of the Sheriff’s Office. Baxter is among those who signed the petition. He said the group will go before the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners as a scheduled agenda item at its meeting next week.

“It’s just a bunch of very concerned citizens that have had some informal meetings, telephone conferences and emails that have decided we’re tired of this crap and we’re going to do something about,” said Baxter.

Jefferson County commissioners issued a joint written statement regarding the cell phone. In that statement they note that since the sheriff needs to be accessed 24-7, a “back-up” cell phone was issued.

Baxter says the recent revelation that receipts were not required for expense report reimbursement prior to 2010 only adds fuel to the fire of public mistrust.

“I don’t trust any of these commissioners anymore after that joke of a statement they put out on the 27th of July. That has to be the most incriminating statement I’ve seen come from a local government,” said Baxter.

We tried to contact the Jefferson County prosecutor, but our calls were not returned.

For the complete statement issued by the commissioners, see the link accompanying this story. (Mobile users may have to switch to full Web view.)

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