Internal audit shows finances of executive director for Mesa County Public Health

Mesa County Public Health
Mesa County Public Health(KKCO)
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 9:28 PM MDT|Updated: May. 18, 2023 at 2:15 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - County Commissioners are sounding the alarm on the Mesa County Public Health director.

County Commissioners said Jeff Kuhr, the executive director of Mesa County Public Health engaged in poor record keeping, entered into contracts without competitive bidding and purchased alcohol and gift cards for employees with taxpayer money.

An internal audit into Kuhr’s finances shows a list of purchases. There were purchases made with a purchase card issued by Mesa County. Per p-card procedures, you cannot purchase food for others, and you cannot purchase alcohol.

On March 11th, 2020, Kuhr made a purchase of alcohol using the p-card issued to him by Mesa County.

On March 29th, 2022, Kuhr purchased four $50 master gift cards. The reason for the gift card purchase was so Kuhr could buy alcohol. On two separate occasions Kuhr purchased alcohol while using a prepaid visa card.

Documents we obtained show the p-card use of Kuhr. It also shows receipts from Kuhr’s purchases with alcohol being omitted from certain receipts.

In the initial investigation done by the district attorney’s office, Patrick Steinkirchner, the administrative director for Mesa County Public Health, said he knew gift cards were used to purchase alcohol.

Documents also revealed a time when Steinkirchner said the former county administrator told if he purchased alcohol with his p-card he should not turn in a detailed itemized list of the purchase.

Dan Rubinstein, 21st Judicial District attorney said on March 14th, he is investigating information relevant to the investigation involving Kuhr and will decide if legal action should be taken. Since then the decision to pursue legal action has not been made.

A spokesperson for the county said a public hearing must take place before deciding the fate of Kuhr.