TUCSON, Ariz. — A chief deputy with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department has resigned after being indicted in connection with allegations of misusing funds seized under an anti-racketeering law.
Chris Radtke didn’t immediately respond Tuesday to a request for comment left at a Tucson phone listed in his name, and it wasn’t immediately known whether he has an attorney for his case.
County Sheriff Chris Nanos announced Radtke’s indictment and resignation Monday night and said he wouldn’t comment on an investigation conducted by another agency.
However, Nanos said his department has procedures in place to monitor expenditures of anti-racketeering, or RICO, funds.
The Arizona Daily Star reported in February that the FBI was investigating spending on a cafe operated by Radtke’s niece inside the sheriff’s headquarters.
According to the newspaper, Radtke’s niece took over operation of the cafe in 2012 and the sheriff’s department spent more than $10,000 on equipment for the space and allowed her to run her restaurant rent-free and without a county contract.
Sheriff’s officials initially said the equipment was paid for with RICO funds, which is money seized from criminals and given to law enforcement agencies, but they later said the money came from the general fund, the Star said.
The newspaper reported that public records indicated that the county spent more than $30,000 on equipment for the cafe and a second location opened in 2014 inside the county jail.
Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, a former sheriff’s official, told Tucson TV station KGUN that he believed the FBI investigation went beyond the possible misuse of money spent on the cafe.
Carmona said he’d been interviewed by the FBI and had spoken with others who also spoke with agents. He said a common topic was spending of RICO money on an annual awards banquet.
The FBI did not immediately respond Tuesday to an inquiry from The Associated Press and a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Arizona referred questions to a spokeswoman in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Utah, who said she couldn’t comment.
Use of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and its state counterparts have periodically stirred controversy and prompted calls for reforms. Last year, New Mexico barred police from seizing money or assets from people unless convicted of a crime.
Nanos was appointed sheriff by the county Board of Supervisors in July 2015 to complete the term of fellow Democrat Clarence Dupnik.
Nanos faces Republican Mark Napier, a former Tucson police captain, in the general election Nov. 8.