Dan Maes's latest explanation for being fired as a Kansas cop: Evildoers (and girlfriends) beware!

It's hard to pick a favorite claim by GOP gubernatorial hopeful Dan Maes. His accounts of himself, from "I did so drive 80,000 miles" to his denunciation of Denver's bike program as a UN plot to his boasts of undercover police work invite us into a realm hitherto unknown, at least this side of a rabbit hole.

But Maes' latest jaw-dropper, concerning why he was fired as cop in Liberal, Kansas, is in a class by itself.

According to this interview with the Associated Press, Maes now says that he lost his police job after he initiated an investigation of a gambling ring that apparently involved members of his then-girlfriend's family. While visiting her parents' home in 1985, he explained, he saw "ledgers and recording equipment" that suggested an illegal bookmaking operation.

Yes, you read that right. Maes snitched on his gal-pal's people. And got canned for his trouble.

Or so he says. But what kind of doofus would admit such a thing if it wasn't true?

Maes told the AP his superiors dismissed his concern as "trivial" and didn't do anything with his information. But the Kansas Bureau of Investigation set up a suspenseful meeting with him in a motel room a few weeks later; he compares the tension to the movie Serpico. (KBI officials have denied Maes worked in an undercover capacity for them.)

Not long after that, the chief of police told Maes he was "being dismissed because I was associating with people of bad character." It's not clear from the interview if Maes means his association with the girlfriend or the state agents was the problem.

Probably both. The story simply can't end there. Surely there's more to come. When you're in a "spiritual battle" for the soul of the state, as Maes says he is, no good deed goes unpunished.

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Alan Prendergast has been writing for Westword for over thirty years. He teaches journalism at Colorado College; his stories about the justice system, historic crimes, high-security prisons and death by misadventure have won numerous awards and appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies.
Contact: Alan Prendergast