Grand Jury Releases Findings In Rural Fire District Case

A grand jury in Mesa County releases its findings Wednesday in a case involving a Grand Junction Rural Fire District board member, investments and millions of dollars in taxpayer money.

The grand jury's findings come after more than three months of testimony and, while no criminal charges will be filed, the grand jury's report is meant to serve as a reminder to boards that make investments with public monies.

The investments began in the spring of 2001 after board member Stephen Ward was told about an internet services company by Rob Dixon, who would eventually become a rural fire district board member. The focal point of the accusations surrounds missing funds. In less than three years, the board would invest more than $3M. However, questions began to arise when a contractual payment to the city was about a half a million dollars short, prompting an investigation that lasted more than a year.

Starting in Sept. 2005, the grand jury began to hear testimony from 11 principal witnesses, including former board members, to determine what connection Rob Dixon had to the $3.4M invested. In the end the evidence collected did not support an indictment. In a unanimous vote, the nine member grand jury determined the best outcome of this case would be to document the mistakes of the rural fire protection district, which include poor book keeping practices, to serve as a reminder to future boards to handle public funds in a responsible way.

While Dixon has not commented publicly, according to his attorney Scott Robinson, Dixon feels the report speaks for itself as an exoneration, ending years of accusations of wrongdoing.