The text of the Secretary of State’s lawsuit against Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters (pdf) essentially says Deputy Clerk and Recorder Belinda Knisley lied to State employees with Tina Peters’ knowledge when she told them a non-employee County Elections staff allowed to access voting equipment last May was a County employee, when in fact he was not, and had never been a County employee. Knisley, described in the suit as a “possible successor” to Tina Peters in the Elections Department, is specifically named as a Respondent in the suit in addition to Peters.
The unauthorized person has been identified by the Daily Sentinel as Jerry or Gerald Wood, the husband of Wendi Wood, who is described as a “pastor” at Beit Lechem Ministries, a Fruita church that was damaged in a fire in January of 2020. Wendi Wood appears to also be a member of Stand for the Constitution, the group that has been organizing protests against the Covid-19 vaccine mandates for health care employees adopted recently by local medical and elder care facilities to protect their patients. Stand for the Constitution is also the group that has been repeatedly pressuring the County Commissioners and Grand Junction City Council members to declare the City and County “constitutional sanctuaries,” where federal laws can be willfully ignored or disobeyed.
The Secretary of State’s lawsuit states,
“Respondent Knisley informed the Department of State that Gerald Wood was an employee of her office. In fact, Wood was not and never has been a Mesa County employee. Upon information and belief, Respondent’s misrepresentation of Wood’s status to the Department of State was done with the knowledge of Respondent Peters. Upon information and belief, Respondent Knisley and Sandra Brown [another employee of the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder’s Office] facilitated the improper presence of the individual identified as Gerald Wood at the May 25 trusted build.”
A “trusted build” is a software update performed by the voting equipment manufacturer that has been approved by the State of Colorado.
Knisley was suspended with pay (yes, that’s with pay) on August 23, 2021 by Mesa County Human Resources Director Brenda Moore.
If the Court rules in favor of the Secretary of State in the lawsuit, Wayne Williams will be considered a paid contractor of the Board of Mesa County Commissioners and Sheila Reiner will be “classified and compensated as a temporary Mesa County employee,” although the suit doesn’t say if this pay will be in addition to Reiner’s pay as Mesa County Treasurer, which is her current position.
Like Knisley, Mesa County Elections Department employee Sandra Brown is also now prohibited from “supervising, accessing, or participating in any aspect of all elections occurring under the [Election Code] until otherwise instructed by the Secretary,” although Brown is not named as a Respondent in the lawsuit.