Van Buren Co. commissioners claim Sheriff broke rules with suit giveaway

VAN BUREN COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The Newschannel 3 I-Team is updating an ongoing Waste Watch investigation.

We reported back in October that Van Buren County Commissioners were looking into some purchases of mens suits made by Sheriff Dale Gribler on a county credit card.

Sources told us the Sheriff got a buy one, get three free deal at a men's clothing store, and gave one suit to his son.

Last week Newschannel 3 broke the news that Sheriff Gribler was exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing in the case, but that's not a sentiment agreed upon by all parties.

In a memo to the Sheriff, the county's commissioners say he should have been charged with a crime.

They also claim that the Sheriff violated his oath of office, and violated county purchasing and budgeting policies.

The long-time Sheriff is accused of lying to two county commissioners, and the letter to him admonishes him for a lack of integrity.

County commissioners also say that the sheriff broke policy by providing that suit to his son.

County leaders are also not happy that Gribler made county purchases from his son, who works at a local electronics store.

They also allege in budgeting that the Sheriff had his own slush fund in hiding money.

As for the Cass County Prosecutor not pressing charges, county commissioners wrote, "...the Van Buren County Board of Commissioners strongly disagrees with this decision and takes this opportunity to air its dismay and disgust at the failure of the criminal justice system to address such a significant violation of the improper use of government funds."

The letter continues: "...that as the County Sheriff and one of the top law enforcement officials of this County, you demonstrated a lack of integrity and violated the sacred principle of "public trust". Your actions have embarrassed the County of Van Buren and brought discredit to you and your office."

Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz made the decision, and told Newschannel 3 last week that he didn't think Gribler had any criminal intent on anything he did, but called the suit giveaway "bad judgement."

In a phone interview late last year, Sheriff Gribler admitted to the I-Team that he overspent line items in his budget, but that he never goes over budget.

He also denied to the I-Team at that time that he gave one of his free suits to his son.