The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has been asked to probe a complaint about the residency of Ramsey County Sheriff Jack Serier after a potential political rival raised the issue.
Former Sheriff Bob Fletcher filed the complaint with St. Paul police on Monday, and it was deferred to the BCA because Serier is a police employee on leave for his current post.
The issue has followed Serier since the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners appointed him sheriff last year to fill behind the early retirement of Matt Bostrom. Serier has maintained that he has not violated the residency requirement.
“I’m glad the BCA will have an opportunity to review the facts,” Serier said in a written statement issued Thursday. “I lived in Ramsey County prior to my appointment to Sheriff and continue to do so today.”
The complaint comes during an election year that sees a DFL-endorsed Serier running for sheriff against law enforcement veteran Mike Martin, who said his campaign won’t end despite losing the DFL endorsement.
“I haven’t changed my mind yet,” Martin said Thursday. “My campaign is still in full gear.”
Martin is assistant director of emergency management for the University of Minnesota and was a Minneapolis police officer for 23 years.
Fletcher has been more coy with his intentions, although he has announced that he won’t run for re-election for his current post as mayor of Vadnais Heights. Fletcher said Thursday that he’ll decide this month whether he’ll run for sheriff.
“So, why am I involved [in Serier’s residency]?” Fletcher said. “Because good government requires that people stand up when there’s a flawed process.”
The first day to file affidavits of candidacy for county offices is May 22, with a deadline of June 5.
Fletcher, who served as Ramsey County sheriff for 16 years until losing re-election in 2010 to Bostrom, hand-delivered a long letter to police Chief Todd Axtell outlining his allegations against Serier. It included 19 pages of documents, including an Xcel Energy bill and copies of photos showing Serier posing with his family while allegedly at a home in Stillwater.
“There are additional consequences that have occurred as a result of Jack Serier illegally assuming office,” Fletcher wrote in his letter. “Several persons have profited financially from this act including numerous political patronage appointments made by Interim [sic] Sheriff Serier of individuals from outside the department who are political supporters.”
County commissioners have said they do not plan to investigate the matter.
“Sheriff Serier assured us that residency wasn’t an issue, and that works for us,” said County Board Chairman Jim McDonough.