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Pima Sheriff's commander indicted in federal probe

Chris Radtke

Pima County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Chris Radtke has been brought up on federal charges related to the mismanagement of public funds, authorities said Monday night.

The Star reported last November that when Radtke's niece took over operations of a café inside Sheriff's headquarters in 2012, the department spent more than $10,000 on equipment for the space, and allowed her to run her restaurant rent-free and without a county contract.

Officials initially said the equipment was paid for with RICO funds, which is money seized from criminals and given to law enforcement agencies, but they later said the money came from the general fund.

A public records request showed that the county ended up spending more than $30,000 on equipment for the café in headquarters and the second location that owner Nikki Thompson opened in 2014 inside of the Pima County Adult Detention Center.

It's unclear what specific charges Radtke is facing, but he submitted his resignation to the sheriff's department on Monday.

In a news release sent late Monday night, Sheriff Chris Nanos said he wouldn't be commenting on another agency's investigation.

"In regards to RICO money expenditures, there is a stringent process in place with independent review from an outside agency," Nanos said. "There is also an audit on the backend of all expenditures and we will continue to review all processes to make sure checks and balances are working appropriately."

In February, the Star reported that the FBI was investigating Nanos, Radtke and former Chief of Staff Brad Gagnepain, who later committed suicide, in connection with the newspaper article about the cafe.

When contacted for comment at the time, Nanos became upset, and said that he hadn't been approached by the FBI, but an investigation would be a waste of taxpayer money.

Nanos was appointed Sheriff by the Board of Supervisors in July 2015 to complete the term of Clarence Dupnik and is seeking his first full term as Sheriff in the November 8 election.

During the past several months, the FBI investigation has been the focus of Nanos' political challengers campaigns against him, and was also discussed in a news conference held by Dr. Richard Carmona last week, during which he said many department employees- including himself- had been interviewed.

When asked about the investigation in late September, Nanos told the Star that he hadn't been formally interviewed by the FBI, but he had spoken to an agent, who told him he was "in the clear."

Contact reporter Caitlin Schmidt at cschmidt@tucson.com or 573-4191


 


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