Shelby Co. (ECWd) –
The ISP interview of Don Koonce which we covered in this article, contained a claim that raised a red flag. Koonce claimed to have given his own funds to the purchasers of the guns to reimburse the Shop with a Cop Fund.
“Originally Koonce included the $25 L&L paperwork fee from the Shop with a Cop Fund reimbursement, but then Koonce gave his own funds to the purchasers to reimburse the Shop with a Cop Fund.”
The first red flag on the above statement is why would Koonce give his money to the purchasers to reimburse Shop with a Cop versus simply cutting one check to Shop with a Cop for a total reimbursement?
According to a FOIA response in 2019 they claimed to have recovered 26 guns which were sold illegally in 2018. The list of those guns and who purchased them can be viewed at this link.
The checks cut by the Sheriff to reimburse the purchasers who returned them included a $25.00 transfer fee for each gun purchased. That being the case, logic would indicate 26 guns sold should indicate 26 FFL transfer fees at $25.00 each, for a total of $650.00. The refund checks match those numbers.
This is where we get to see how they played “hide the queen“.
The refund payments reflect Rob McCall purchased one gun and received a $25.00 FFL transfer fee reimbursement from the County.
We note that Rob McCall’s name is NOT listed on the list of the 26 guns sold, so what gun did McCall purchase? According to the current Sheriff Brian McReynolds, McCall purchased a pistol which was on the list of seized weapons. It was one of the guns we said were missing because it was not part of the inventory when we asked Koonce for those records.
We received our FOIA response for all reimbursements made to Shop with a Cop for the $25.00 FFL fee that Koonce claimed he paid the purchasers. The total reimbursements reflect $675.00. Which would indicate the county received more in reimbursements than they paid? Why would anyone pay more than needed, or did they?
We find two very interesting facts in the responsive records. Former Under Sheriff Rob McCall reimbursed $50.00, however, according to the records he only purchased 1 gun which mysteriously was not on the list of guns sold, but rather a gun listed on the seized weapons list. What was the other gun McCall purchased?
Former Sheriff Koonce reimbursed $50.00 for 2 of his illegal gun purchases, however, the records reflect Koonce purchased 3 guns. The original receipt for Koonce’s purchase makes no mention of what his payment was for, but after piecing together all the records we were able to confirm he did, in fact, purchase 3, however, his refund for “returning” the illegally purchased guns included 2 FFL transfer fees. This begs the question, was the undocumented purchase of the CMP Rifle done off the books?
There is no record of a third FFL transfer fee so is this a case of Koonce purchasing a gun without the required FFL transfer requirements being followed?
The other notable red flag is the date of all these reimbursements in relation to the criminal investigation which was initiated in December of 2019. If Koonce knew the gun sales were not legal in 2018, why did we not see any FFL reimbursements to the Shop with a Cop program until February and March of 2020? We spoke about the math not adding up at numerous meetings since early 2019 and questioned why the taxpayers were paying for FFL transfer fees on illegal purchases. We don’t believe our comments triggered these reimbursements because the timeline points to what I would call the “oh crap” moment.
Does anyone find it odd that it took almost 2 years for the $25 FFL transfer fees to be paid back to the taxpayers? Is this a case of Koonce realizing he is under a criminal investigation in December of 2019 so he took steps to clean up the things we had exposed? Why else would it take almost two years for people to reimburse these payments? We would love to see records that support Koonc’es claim that he paid $650.00 out of his own pocket to those involved in the illegal gun sales so that they could pay back the Shop with a Cop program.
The fact remains, the math does not add up on multiple fronts and to date, in spite of the demands from auditors and the County Treasurer, the Sheriff’s accounts have yet to be audited as required by law and are still kept out of the control of the County Treasurer.
We must note that the ISP investigation makes no references at all to any of these documented inconsistencies dealing with illegal gun sales. It’s possible had a better job been done getting to the truth of the matter the Attorney General may have made a much different decision as it relates to holding anyone accountable.
We also note that the ISP said nothing about the illegal gun sales in 2014 which also has problems. The list shows 24 guns were sold yet the receipt from the purchaser only reflects 23.