El Paso County Destroys Tapes After We Asked For Them

Photo Credit: Pondering Principles

Many of you have been following the multiple blogs about SpringsTaxpayers.com’s attempts to obtain El Paso County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) Executive Session Audio Recordings.

In June and July of 2019, the BOCC entered into executive sessions (not open to public) to discuss a prospective TABOR overage ballot issue. In that executive session, we believed the Commissioners discussed paying more than $20,000 of your taxpayer money to pay for a poll on the popularity of placing a TABOR refund measure on the ballot. We thought taxpayers would want to know more about that. The county refused to release the recordings.

Here are 3 previous blogs if you’d like to follow all the detail:

Taxpayers Unwittingly Pay for Manipulative Poll

County Commissioners: Release the Executive Session Recording

DA May Challenges Commission Transparency

In early June, Rebecca from SpringTaxpayers.com retained attorney Matt Roane to further pursue the release of the executive sessions’ audio recordings. A reader’s financial contribution made the initiation of this legal action possible. On behalf of all El Paso County taxpayers, we thank you for your support in this matter.

This supporter is like most of our readers, and expects accountability and transparency from local government. This supporter is not a political operative and holds employment unrelated to politics.

Per Rebecca’s attorney’s advice, on June 9th, she once again requested the audio recordings be released. And once again, the county refused her request. Then, on June 12th, District Attorney Dan May appeared in front of the BOCC regular meeting, asking for transparency regarding this issue. At that time, DA May requested that the recordings be released to the public.

Three days after DA May’s BOCC appearance and three days after the County refused Rebecca’s 3rd Colorado Open Records Act request for the audio recordings, the records were quietly destroyed by El Paso County. Rebecca’s attorney was informed of the destruction weeks after it happened. He then requested communications pertaining to the decision to destroy the recordings. The County refused to provide those communications.

Later, understanding litigation was imminent, the County provided a log of the email communications. This log included email dates, subjects, senders, and recipients. Ten emails were exchanged on the “Day of Destruction”. The County is claiming attorney/client privilege of those emails and will not release their content. Aren’t you wondering what they were discussing in those emails the day the audio recordings were destroyed? We are

Rebecca continues to move forward with litigation and has filed suit against County Attorney Diana May. While the audio recordings have been destroyed, concerns about the County’s behavior and actions still remain.

From the start, the issue has been a lack of transparency by El Paso County. SpringsTaxpayers.com will continue to report on this litigation.

As always, we appreciate your support and will continue to fight for transparency within El Paso County and Colorado Springs.

See the suit here.

While we had a donor for the initiation of legal proceedings, we aren’t sure how far this will go, or how expensive it will be. If you can help with a few bucks to defray any future legal fees, we would be grateful.

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