Documents reveal extensive travel on taxpayers’ dime by former Jackson County Sheriff

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Five finalists for Jackson County’s interim sheriff are set to be interviewed Friday. As we wait to see who’s chosen as the next leader of the department, we’re learning more about what led to former Sheriff Mike Sharp’s resignation.

FOX4 has been digging into the sheriff’s expense reports and found he was spending a lot of your tax dollars for he and his mistress to travel.

A massive stack of documents spell out five years worth of expenses by former Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp.

Mike Sharp

The records include trip, after trip, after trip, amounting to thousands of taxpayer dollars used for Sharp’s travels and the travels of the woman he admitted to having an affair with: Christine Lynde.

Among the many findings are efforts by county employees to red flag questionable expense, including a rental car with a $250 up-charge for a ski rack.

There were also plenty of expensive hotels and plane trips to destinations coast to coast.

In 2014 alone, Sharp traveled to Washington D.C., Dallas, Alabama, Houston, St. Louis, Jefferson City, and the Lake of the Ozarks twice.

In all, that year's trips ran a bill of over $8200.

At least some of those trips, Sharp admitted his mistress tagged along.

Also in 2014, Sharp’s girlfriend, who didn’t have law enforcement experience, was working as a secretary in the sheriff’s department, and taxpayers footed a $300 bill to send her to the “Midwest Gang Investigators” conference in Springfield.

Over the next three years, extensive travelling continued, racking up costs of more than $20,000.

In 2017, Lynde was transferred out of the sheriff’s office and put “on loan” to HIDTA, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, where she worked as an analyst.

Sources say it’s extremely unusual for a civilian employee to be “loaned out” to another agency, especially when they come with no experience.

As a result, Lynde was sent to several law enforcement trainings, costing almost $8,000.

During at least two of those trips to Phoenix and New Orleans, the former sheriff admits he traveled with her.

At least twice in 2011, a sheriff’s department employee was flagging concerns. One email asks why a rental car was needed days after a conference was ending.

Questions were also raised about hotel costs and meal prices.

It was the second trip Lynde had taken that she stayed days after a conference was over.

One trip, HIDTA didn’t have the funds to cover, so Mike Sharp took money out of his county budget to pay for it.

The affair ultimately proved costly to Sharp, ending his marriage and forcing him to resign.  It was also costly to taxpayers, footing all these bills.

As a committee convenes to pick Sharp’s replacement, the county will be looking to find a leader to help the sheriff’s department move forward and heal from what some have called a “toxic work environment."

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