King releases letter, denies allegations

ALPENA — Former Alpena County undersheriff Terry King on Friday denied the allegations that led to his resignation this week, providing more detail on his claims that he was targeted for reporting wrongdoing by others.

King addressed the issues in a letter to county residents released Friday by his attorney, Matt Wojda.

King, who had been on paid administrative leave since April, resigned this week after Sheriff Steve Kieliszewski gave him the choice to step down or be fired. King had been the subject of an internal investigation for improperly billing the state for the county’s contract for providing security at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center and improperly interfering in an Alpena Police Department investigation into an alleged gunman trespassing at Ella White Elementary School in 2018.

“At no time did I violate any office policies or break any state or federal laws,” King said in his letter. “I worked in the best interest of the Department and the people of Alpena County. God willing, I look forward to the privilege of serving as your next Sheriff and continuing my work.”

King has stated publicly that he intends to run for sheriff in 2020.

Kieliszewski could not be reached for comment on Friday.

In the letter, King individually addresses each of the allegations leveled at him by Kieliszewski:

∫ Kieliszewski alleged King charged the state for administrative hours at the CRTC while King was still employed at the sheriff’s office. King contested he was cleared by base leaders to assume supervisory duties during periods when the assigned staff sergeant was unable to serve as supervisor. The hours for that responsibility, he said, were on top of his role as undersheriff and not recompensed by the county because he was on salary. He said that the hours he reported, which included time outside of regular work hours, were accurate and approved by CRTC staff.

∫ Kieliszewski expressed strong concerns about a rumor connected to the incident at Ella White. Information gathered during a recent interview by the Alpena Police Department implicated King as having suggested a witness not take a polygraph test requested by police. The new information from APD led in part to King’s being placed on administrative leave on April 5 while an internal investigation was conducted by Kieliszewski. King’s responded that two earlier investigations had produced no proof of the rumor and denied having ever told anyone under investigation to not participate in a polygraph.

∫ Kieliszewski said King put the county in peril of a lawsuit when King reported concerns about the tethering company used by the county in a letter to Circuit Court Judge Michael Mack and that information ended up in a competitor’s hands. King said the information was shared at Mack’s request as part of an effort to be sure county parolees were adequately monitored.

∫ During a November 2018 snowstorm, King reported a civilian’s improper use of a police radio to the 911 director. Kieliszewski said the report given by King at the time did not match the 911 director’s version of events. King responded that he made the report because he feared the improper use of police radio by a civilian could lead to the county being censured. King said he was instructed by the sheriff to not pursue the matter further.

On Monday, the sheriff had released the letter he’d written King outlining the allegations against King and giving the undersheriff the choice to quit or be fired.

In that letter, the sheriff states that none of King’s actions “may not rise to the level of misconduct.”

However, “My decision is not based on any one incident but rather a general lack of trust in your judgement that has been growing over the last year and a half,” Kieliszewski’s letter said.

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693 or jriddle@thealpenanews.com.

Former Alpena County undersheriff Terry King's letter addressing allegations by Justin Hinkley on Scribd