After a series of interviews with The Almanac, Puschendorf's status with the Sheriff's Office is still unclear — although he's still listed on the department roster as a disabled employee.
During the interviews, he made a series of claims about the department, including assertions that he has been persecuted by department higher-ups. The Almanac was unable to confirm these claims, and Puschendorf provided no documentation.
Asked for his priorities if elected, Puschendorf said they include addressing a system of mandatory overtime that he considers abusive, resolving an irregular distribution of detectives that shortchanges property crime investigations, and correcting an unfair system of rotation of detective assignments.
He also wants a competitive election, he said, but expects retribution for being outspoken. "I am the lone voice," Puschendorf said in one interview. "Why do I run? Because I'm the last chance and opportunity for the truth to hopefully get out before it gets smothered," he said. Because "they're going to smother me. They're going to do all the bad stuff, but I'm holding the aces in my hand because I have all the secrets. I know where the bodies are buried."
The "truth" he refers to concerns what happened in April 2007 in Las Vegas, when Bolanos was detained by police along with then-sheriff Greg Munks when FBI agents raided an illegal and run-down brothel in a residential neighborhood.
Puschendorf said his account is based on visiting Las Vegas after the incident and researching the facts as presented by media accounts and talking with people who told him they witnessed the events of that night.
Records of that night have disappeared, he claimed, but he said he has thousands of pages of documents, including emails and depositions, that attest to a story that has not been told. He provided none of this documentation to The Almanac. He asserted that Bolanos has demanded silence from everyone.
His papers and the story they tell, he insisted, "is how I've kept my job. I have everybody with dirty stuff and (dirty) laundry. They're trying to do all the stuff to get me. ... That's why I had to go public and run for (sheriff). I'm afraid of getting victimized even further."
Puschendorf, 51, has not worked since April 2016 due to an injury incident in 2014 in which he was told to subdue an inmate in the jail. But while he is not being paid, his name is still on a roster that he provided to The Almanac. He is listed as disabled, but says he has not received any of the disability pay he's entitled to. His situation has been manipulated, he claimed, to effectively render him a ghost on the roster and prevent him from getting due process.
He provided no documentation of efforts on his part to receive disability pay, and no explanation as to why he hasn't filed for disability retirement.
Union management does not have his back and is in cahoots with the sheriff, Puschendorf said.
If he doesn't win the election, he said, he'll try for a recall "and do what it takes to take back control from these corrupt politicians and give control back to the good people of San Mateo County."
This story contains 599 words.
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