FORT WAYNE — A formal complaint alleges Allen County Sheriff Ken Fries and County Councilman Paul Moss violated the county’s ethics policy after Moss was pulled over during a drunken-driving investigation that led to no arrests or charges.
Philip Pease, a former county employee, filed the complaint Monday with the Allen County Ethics Commission.
About 2:30 a.m. June 2, Moss was pulled over by Allen County police while driving a Cadillac with five or six passengers, all in their early 20s. Moss made a phone call to Fries and was ultimately let go after refusing to take a portable breath test.
In his complaint, Pease said Fries “should have immediately informed Moss that he could not get involved in the situation and terminated any further communication.”
The complaint states that ethics were breached when Fries “interacted with officers at the scene, which was unnecessary and unwarranted.”
The report claims ethics were compromised because Moss is part of a governing body that oversees the budget of the sheriff’s department. Moss also has a financial interest in the situation because any recorded criminal activity would harm his career and credibility, the complaint said.
Calls to Moss and Fries weren’t answered or returned Wednesday.
Moss, 48, is serving his eighth year on the council. He opted not to run for re-election to the council and instead ran for state House District 52 in the GOP primary but was defeated by Ben Smaltz of DeKalb County.
After the incident, Moss emailed a statement to media stating he was providing a safe ride home for his daughter and her friends that morning and had agreed to take a more reliable test at the Charles “Bud” Meeks Justice Center. While waiting, Moss called Fries, asking him to expedite the situation.
Moss has previously said he made no other requests and was granted no special treatment.
Fries confirmed that Moss refused to take the portable breath test and said he also spoke with an officer at the scene who told him Moss might have been drinking but did not appear drunk.
A Fort Wayne police officer who was supposed to help administer the tests on Moss was told Fries had issued an order to disregard the call. Fries later said the city officer’s report was inaccurate.
The complaint will be reviewed at the July 20 meeting of the Allen County Ethics Commission, said Thomas Hardin, an Allen County attorney who sits on the board. Other members include former Allen Circuit Court Judge Thomas Ryan and local business owner Wendy Stein.
The public meeting will be in the Allen County Commissioners’ chambers at 1:30 p.m., Hardin said.
Pease used to work for the county but was terminated in early 2010, county spokesman Michael Green said.
“Anyone can file a complaint,” Green said.