The Attorney General’s Office is investigating Strafford County Sheriff Mark Brave for theft, falsification in official matters and abuse of office, according to a letter sent to Brave June 2 by Senior Assistant Attorney General Dan A. Jimenez.
Brave is the first Black elected Sheriff in New Hampshire and took office in January 2021. He was re-elected last year.
The letter didn’t include details of what Brave is alleged to have done. It did ask that if Brave’s agency has started or finished any internal investigation into any conduct by him as a witness or subject that he stay that investigation until the Attorney General’s Office investigation is complete.
The letter also provided notice that he should alert prosecuting agencies in his jurisdiction consistent with being on the Laurie List, also known as the Exculpatory Evidence Schedule, of officers with known discipline for matters involving dishonesty in their personnel file.
Brave didn’t immediately return a call seeking his comment.
Strafford County Attorney Tom Velardi said since being notified by the Attorney General’s Office of the investigation, county officials have met with Sheriff Brave, asking him to take a leave of absence while this investigation unfolds.
“He declined,” Velardi said. “Because he is an independent constitutional officer with no direct oversight by the commissioners, he has continued to execute the duties of his office.”
The Commissioners continue to monitor the activities of the Sheriff’s Office to ensure that office is operating, he said. Thanks to the hard work of the staff there, no operation of the sheriff’s office has been interrupted, Velardi said.
“The commissioners and other county personnel are cooperating with the requests of the Attorney General as this investigation continues to unfold. Because this investigation is within the jurisdiction of the Attorney General, County officials are unable to make any further comment on the substance of that investigation or the timing of any future events associated with it,” Velardi said.
Brave told Foster’s Daily Democrat that it is a political attack.
“They are raising all these allegations and rumors, trying to discredit me,” Brave told the newspaper. “This is a political attack by people who are supposed to be in my corner.”
Questions were previously raised about a $100,000 contract his department got from Frisbie Memorial Hospital, which was recently terminated.
Brave’s wife Jamie was the chief nursing officer at the hospital, but reportedly resigned last December after she was arrested for DUI.