The Denver Post: The story started with a tip from a viewer. Eric Ross, an investigative reporter for KOAA News 5 in Colorado Springs, took a call from a source who had previously provided valuable information on the alleged mismanagement of park district funds.
This time, it was the Fremont County clerk and recorder who was being accused of misusing taxpayer money. Ross submitted a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request for county checks and cash receipts payable to Clerk Katie Barr, her husband and their Cañon City auto repair shop. His CORA request sparked a police investigation that led to Barr’s arrest last month on suspicion of embezzlement, witness intimidation, fraud and harassment.
“I want to express gratitude to KOAA Channel 5 for making the request and bringing these issues to the attention of Fremont County officials,” the county attorney wrote in a letter to Ross.
It’s not every day a reporter helps put a government official in jail. Journalists do what they do, often hoping to make a difference, but mostly because they love telling stories about their communities. Those who cover government or specialize in investigations tend to be especially passionate about their roles as watchdogs who work, on the public’s behalf, to hold powerful people and institutions accountable.
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