Charges avoided

Ex-DA Feldmann's expense fund was being investigated


— No charges will be filed against former prosecutor Charles Feldmann following a yearlong investigation into his use of an expense fund.

Fifth Judicial District Attorney Michael Goodbee, who was appointed to investigate the case, on Wednesday faxed Feldmann's attorney, Kristopher Hammond, a letter summarizing his conclusions in the case.

Neither Goodbee nor Hammond would release the letter Wednesday, saying it will be made public after it has been filed with the 14th Judicial District Court.

The "letter is just what you would expect," Hammond said. "A lengthy recitation of the allegations, a statement (Goodbee) thinks the crimes were committed and a decision not to file charges because he does not ethically feel that charges could be proven in court."

Feldmann, who has not discussed the case since leaving the District Attorney's Office last May, broke his silence Wednesday.

He blamed the ordeal on his former boss, District Attorney Paul McLimans, claiming McLimans initiated the independent investigation purely out of "personal politics."

Efforts to contact McLimans, who is on vacation until Monday, were unsuccessful. Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James, who was Feldmann's supervisor in the Steamboat office, refused to discuss the matter, referring all questions to McLimans.

Feldmann believes McLimans wanted to hurt Feldmann's chances of running for district attorney in the future.

"People who know me have seen through this," Feldmann said. "I'm definitely ready for another chapter."

Goodbee investigated Feldmann's use of an expense fund between October 2000 and May 2001. Feldmann resigned from the District Attorney's Office May 14, 2001.

"I put my heart and soul into that position," Feldmann said. "Words can't explain how I felt leaving last May."

The resignation occurred four days after Feldmann met with McLimans to discuss the expense account.

Three days after the resignation, McLimans asked Routt County Court Judge James Garrecht to appoint Goodbee's office to investigate Feldmann.

The investigation was delayed several times by Goodbee's office, which covers Summit and Eagle counties.

Goodbee said his office's caseload delayed the investigation.

Hammond said the expense fund allegation involves an out-of-town seminar Feldmann attended at the expense of the federal government.

Feldmann followed federal regulations when requesting the funds and reconciling the account after the seminar, Hammond said.

"McLimans was not familiar with the federal government's regulations, but that did not stop him from leveling these accusations," Hammond said.

Hammond said Goodbee made the right decision.

"We are relieved that Goodbee did not cave in to the witch-hunt mentality of our elected DA," Hammond said.

Hammond said his client made it clear during his five years as a prosecutor in Steamboat Springs that he wanted McLimans' post.

"He made no secret he wanted to run for DA in the next election," Hammond said. "And if elected would not keep St. James."

Feldmann "was sometimes a thorn in the side of his bosses," Hammond said. "When Charles did not agree with office policies and decisions, he was never shy about speaking his mind."

Feldmann said Wednesday he has not decided if he will run for district attorney.

"I intend to meet with my advisers, family and friends to discuss my future plans," Feldmann said. "I look forward to putting this entire matter behind me."

Hammond said the length of the investigation hurt his client.

"For the past year, this has received heavy media play, and each story reopens the wound to Charles' reputation and keeps a black cloud over Charles' name," Hammond said. "They wanted a conviction in court, but a conviction in the media is probably the next best thing.

"Charles will never know how much his reputation has been damaged, but at least now he can sleep at night knowing that this is finally over."


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