Anne Landman

Einstein Bagels is rounding up change to support a group that is facing multiple sexual assault and EEOC claims

Einstein Bagels asks people to round up their purchase to the next dollar to donate to a Christian missionary youth group that has been charged with widespread sexual assault, misconduct and harassment.

Einstein Bagels in Grand Junction is asking customers to round up their change to support an evangelical Christian missionary youth group, Young Life, that is facing a slew of sexual misconduct lawsuits by former club participants across the country and at least four Equal Employment Opportunity Complaints for racial discrimination, improper termination and other sordid allegations.

The group, Young Life, came under federal investigation after students, members and volunteers across the country reported they had experienced unwanted sexual advances and solicitations, racially discriminatory comments and treatment, and verbal harassment consisting of sexual innuendoes, comments, jokes, inappropriate texts and social media messages, grooming, inappropriate physical touching, sexual assault, racially discriminatory treatment and retaliation against volunteers who reported such events.

People forced out of Young Life for reporting sexual misconduct

A sign in Einstein’s window urges people to round up their change to support Young Life

After Becca Wong, a Young Life student leader in Michigan, reported an incident of forced oral sex on another member to the organization’s leadership, the leadership forced her out of the organization “in direct retaliation” for reporting the assault, Wong says. In an interview to Michigan Daily, Wong said,

“It’s a very harmful experience but when you’re in (Young Life), you really drink the Kool Aid and you really believe everything they’re doing… Leaving Young Life was a very eye-opening experience, and you can’t really see the problems in Young Life until you’re out of it.”

Laureana Arellano brought a lawsuit after she was racially and sexually harassed at a Young Life summer camp in Colorado in 2019. Arellano said in her legal complaint that a coworker assaulted her by “shoving his hand down her apron and groping her genitalia.” Court paperwork says that when she reported it, a manager told her it was “God’s plan.” Arellano reached a settlement agreement with Young Life, the terms of which are undisclosed.

Brie Boatman, a former staff member who left YoungLife in 2018, said

“Women are not safe in this ministry if Young Life is going to listen to our stories and do nothing about it.” 

CMU and many local businesses continue to support Young Life despite allegations, lawsuits & complaints about misconduct

A host of prominent Grand Junction businesses support Young Life by participating in a discount card program the organization uses to raise money to send youth to Young Life camps. The organization also flourishes on college campuses, including at Colorado Mesa University, which welcomes the group in spite of its fraught reputation.

Young Life is a $500 million, Colorado Springs-based organization that works to lure young people into Christianity. It starts recruiting kids as young as middle school, is present in all 50 states and in over 100 countries around the world.

If you have experienced sexual assault, harassment or other misconduct while in Young Life, you can report it to Business Insider, which is compiling reports on such incidents, at rpremack@protonmail.com, or contact the Denver-based law firm, Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC, that is handling many  cases against Young Life already, at 303-578-4400 or fill in the contact form at their website. 

This photo from Colorado Mesa University’s website shows the university promoting Young Life, a nationwide Christian missionary youth group based in Colorado Springs that has been accused of sexual assault, sexual harassment and racial discrimination

 

Grand Junction businesses that support Young Life despite sexual assault allegations

A host of Grand Junction businesses endorse Young Life, which has been charged with sexual misconduct against members and volunteers, doing nothing about it, and even working to cover it up

Ethics Commission rules third complaint against Tina Peters is valid

Tina Peters’ mugshot for her arrest on 3/9/2022, charged with 8 felonies and 3 misdemeanors related to election tampering

At their meeting today, May 17, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission (IEC) unanimously ruled the third ethics complaint they received about Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters is non-frivolous. The vote means they will proceed to act on it.

The third complaint, assigned Complaint #22-22, is about Peters’ acceptance of a purported $800,000 donation from fellow election denier Mike Lindell, CEO of the My Pillow Company, in violation of Article 29 of Colorado’s Constitution, which limits the value of any gifts an elected official can accept to $65.

House Rep. Boebert (R) touts “replacement theory,” the far-right, white supremacist conspiracy theory increasingly behind mass shootings

In a video taken last September, House Rep. Lauren Boebert touts “replacement theory,” the racist ideology that led an 18-year old to massacre ten Black people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York on Saturday, March 14, 2022.  Payton Gendron, the shooter, left behind a 180-page manifesto that showed he was fixated on the idea that White people in the U.S. are being intentionally replaced — the same idea Boebert spouts in this video.

New ethics complaint against Tina Peters will be heard by CO Independent Ethics Commission tomorrow

A third ethics complaint (pdf) was filed against Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters on May 9, 2022.

This one is about her failure to report contributions to her legal defense fund, in particular the $800,000 donation that My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell said he made to Peters’ fund. Lindell disclosed the donation at an election denier event at the state Capitol April 5.  9News in Denver described it as the single biggest contribution ever made to any elected official in Colorado history. The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission (IEC) designated the latest complaint as Complaint No. 22-22. It is the third ethics complaint filed against Peters since she became a high-profile election denier.

First Congregational Church welcomes trans kids amid furor over School Board President Andrea Haitz’s transphobic memes

The First Congregational Church sign (Photo: Shirley Zimmerman Kodis)

After the uproar over anti-transgender memes District 51 School Board President Andrea Haitz posted recently on her personal social media accounts, the First Congregational Church at 5th and Kennedy in Grand Junction took steps to make it clear to the public that their church welcomes transexual kids. The church is directly across the street from Grand Junction High School.

Church Administrator Beth Rakestraw said on her social media account that “Transkids are loved and welcomed at my church!” The church describes itself on its website as a “progressive Christian community” and says “We welcome all people regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender preference, ability, and disability…At our church you don’t have to check your brain at the door. We believe that science and religion are not mutually exclusive. … No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome here.”

Haitz tried to walk back her posts by telling the Daily Sentinel that people had “misinterpreted” her memes because they “don’t understand satire,” but that was disproved after Heidi Hess of One Colorado revealed to the Daily Sentinel that Haitz belonged to the Facebook group Reboot 2022, whose mission statement says “Transgender is not an option.”

Like Enstrom Candies? You might want to re-think that. They’re one of Boebert’s biggest donors.

Enstrom Candies is Lauren Boebert’s 4th biggest donor. Source: OpenSecrets.org

GovTrack officially lists Colorado House Representative Lauren Boebert as a participant in the January 6th, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters. She has had zero accomplishments while in office. Instead, to cover that up, she lied to her constituents and took credit for

Enstrom Candies, a favorite coffee shop, ice cream shop and candy factory in downtown Grand Junction, is Boebert’s 4th biggest donor

accomplishments achieved by Democrats. She supports Putin and Russia with her votes. She embarrassed all of Colorado with her shocking outbursts at the 2021 State of the Union address by President Biden, shouting out loud at him while he was talking about his deceased son. She openly insulted a group of Jews visiting the U.S. Capitol. She made homophobic comments about Transportation Secretary Pete Butigieg about his taking parental leave to care for his two newborn twins.  Boebert made bigoted jokes to intentionally disparage a Democratic colleague. She challenged a wheelchair-bound House colleague to a sprint. She mocked the death of a 42 year old cinematographer who was accidentally killed on the set of a movie by a firearm. Boebert wants government to take orders from the church.

Lauren Boebert

 

 

 

D-51 School Board President Andrea Haitz belonged to anti-transgender Facebook group

Screenshot of members of the transphobic Facebook group, Reboot 2022, taken on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, after which time her name was removed.

A May 13, 2022 Daily Sentinel article discussed the outrage District 51 School Board President Andrea Haitz’s recent anti-transgender social media posts generated among people in the valley. 

In her own defense, Haitz told the Sentinel she didn’t mean the memes to be hurtful, and that she “has gay and lesbian friends.” Haitz said the “memes had been misunderstood” because “people don’t always understand satire,” and said that people “made up what they thought I meant by it.”

But people didn’t make up anything, and they most definitely did not misinterpret the intent of Haitz’s posts.

How do we know?

Court rules Republican County Clerk candidate Julie Fisher is not competent to run elections, either, and was complicit in Peters debacle

Julie Fisher, who is a candidate for Mesa County Clerk and Recorder in the Republican primary June 28th. The judge found she has insufficient experience to run elections and was complicit in the Tina Peters/Belinda Knisley capers.

On Tuesday, May 10, 2022, District Court Judge Valerie Robison granted an injunction that prohibits Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley from running  elections through 2022, making it the second year that the two top officials in the Mesa County Clerk’s Office have been barred from having anything to do with elections.

No less important, though, were Judge Robison’s findings about current employee in the Clerk’s office and Republican candidate for County Clerk Julie Fisher, whom Tina Peters had dubbed her “Second Chief Deputy Clerk.”

Robison found Fisher did not have adequate experience in handling elections, hadn’t taken the election training provided by the Secretary of State and that the position Tina had appointed Fisher to, “Second Chief Deputy Clerk,” was a fake position.

The Court ruled “there is no statutory provision for the position of “Second Chief Deputy Clerk” in the Clerk and Recorder’s Office.

Essentially, Tina invented the “Second Chief Deputy Clerk” position to do an end run around the County Commissioners and the Court, and appoint her own hand-picked person to perform her job in her and Knisley’s absence.

But Judge Robison wasn’t having any of that.

D-51 School Board President’s transphobic social media posts draw condemnation

District 51 School Board President posted this photo to social media recently on her personal account

Recent social media posts by District 51 School Board President Andrea Haitz, and one in particular that she posted on Mother’s Day, are drawing condemnation, disgust and shock from many Mesa County residents who saw them.

Need an abortion in Grand Junction, or on the western slope? Here is updated information.

NOTE: I’ve written about how to obtain an abortion in Mesa County before on this blog, most recently in 2020, but the landscape on this issue keeps changing. Some options disappear while others expand, and with potential changes looming on the national policy front, I’m re-visiting the topic, and will continue to update it periodically. 

In light of the recently-leaked draft Supreme Court ruling indicating the right wing majority of the U.S. Supreme Court is likely next month to formally overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that assured abortion was legal throughout the U.S., it is prudent to revisit the issue of abortion in Colorado, and specifically how to obtain one in Grand Junction and on the western slope.

First of all, there is no reason to fear losing the right to have an abortion in Colorado, ever. Abortion will stay legal and accessible in Colorado, whatever the Supreme Court does.

Indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters attends event in Mar A Lago May 5

Tweet Tina Peters posted on May 5, 2022, about her trip to Mar a Lago, Florida

Indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who is out of jail on $25,000 bond, went to an event at Donald Trump’s estate in Florida on May 5.

As a term of her bond, she was ordered not to leave the state, and would have to have obtained approval from the court before making this trip. The only exception the Court granted to this requirement, made at the time Judge Matthew Barrett lowered her bond from $500,000 to $25,000, was for Peters to attend the funeral of her father, who died in North Carolina during the night she spent in the Mesa County Jail, according to Peters’ attorney. It is unclear whether Peters sought or received approval from the Court for this trip. UPDATE: Peters has now been granted permission by the Court to leave the state.

FEC: Boebert campaign accepted “apparently excessive prohibited and impermissible contributions”

Lauren Boebert heckling the President during the State of the Union address

Rep. Lauren Boebert’s first quarterly campaign finance report of 2022 shows her campaign for the primary election accepted thousands of dollars in “apparent excessive, prohibited, and impermissible contributions,” according to a warning letter (pdf) the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) sent to her “Lauren Boebert for Congress” campaign office in Rifle.

Convicted felon Rod Blagojevich to headline campaign fundraiser for indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters

Kyle Clark of 9News in Denver reported yesterday (video) that convicted felon Rod Blagojevich will headline a Saturday, May 14, 2022 fundraiser for indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters‘ campaign for secretary of state. The fundraiser will be held at Dunafon Castle, a wedding venue in Lakewood, Colorado owned by Debbie and Mike Dunafon, who also own Shotgun Willie’s strip club in Glendale, Colorado. The Dunafons are hosting the fundraiser. The cost to rent the venue on a Saturday for a group of up to 150 people is $9,400.00.

G.J. citizens rally to protest draft Supreme Court opinion indicating Court will vote to eliminate the constitutional right to abortion

Supporters of abortion rights attend a hastily-called rally in front of the old Mesa County Courthouse on 5/3/22 to protest an impending Supreme Court decision that threatens American womens’ right to obtain an abortion.

The Mesa County Women’s Right Action League organized a rally on short notice today in response to a leaked draft of a major Supreme Court decision published by Politico that indicates the far right majority on the Court will vote to eliminate women’s constitutionally-guaranteed right to obtain an abortion, a right women have had for 50 years. The rollback of womens’ freedom would be unprecedented.

Featured speakers included Jennifer Hancock, a board member of Cobalt, a Colorado-based organization that that helps people get access to abortions, Heidi Hesse of One Colorado, Jeriel Clark and Pastor Valerie Carlson of the American Lutheran Church.

Boebert supporters fail in legal effort to disqualify Don Coram from the primary

Rep. Don Coram (R-Montrose)

A Denver judge ruled on Wednesday, April 27, that Don Coram, a Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives 3rd Congressional District seat, can remain on the primary ballot and challenge GOP incumbent Lauren Boebert.

Coram had petitioned onto the ballot and turned almost 2,000 signatures in to the Secretary of State. A petitioner must have 1,500 valid signatures to qualify for the primary ballot. Of the number Coram turned in, 1,536 were validated, but four voters in the district filed a lawsuit challenging that number, claiming some of the signatures the Secretary of State had accepted were actually invalid. The lawsuit specifically challenged 390 of the signatures that had been accepted.

Just how much are taxpayers paying Tina Peters and Belinda Knisely not to do their jobs?

Tina Peters

Everyone wants to know just how much Mesa County taxpayers are shelling out in salary and benefits to indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisely for not doing their jobs while they obey conditions of their bond to stay away from their workplace and co-workers. During all this time of not going to work, they have continued to collect paychecks.

Thanks to the County, we’ve got the figures.

Between August 10, 2021 and April 22, 2022, Knisely collected a total of $71,524.14 in salary and benefits including health and disability insurance, and Tina collected a total of $83,958.88 for a grand total paid to the pair since August 10, 2021 of $155,483.02.

Belinda Knisely

The two are indicted on multiple felony charges related to election tampering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tina Peters hires attorney who defended Bannon’s co-conspirator in “We Build the Wall” fraud

Harvey Steinberg (Photo: BestLawyers.com)

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters has hired big-gun Colorado criminal defense attorney Harvey Steinberg of Denver to defend her in her criminal case(s).

Steinberg is the lawyer the Denver Broncos and other high-profile sports figures keep on speed dial for whenever they get busted for rape, road rage, domestic violence, DUIs, driving with a suspended license and such.

Steinberg is also the guy who defended Steve Bannon’s accomplice Brian Kolfage in the “We Build the Wall” fundraising scam.

“We Build The Wall” was a private fundraising campaign in which Bannon and accomplices, including Kolfage, defrauded hundreds of thousands of MAGA-heads out of over $25 million through an online crowdfunding campaign. Bannon and Kolfage pitched the campaign to unsuspecting Trump supporters as a private effort to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. Bannon and Kolfage promised Trumpers they would “not take a penny in salary or compensation” for their efforts, and that “100% of the funds raised …[would] be used in the execution of our mission and purpose.”

What happens if Tina Peters gets elected, convicted and sentenced to prison?

Kyle Clark of 9News in Denver answers the question of what happens if Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who is currently under indictment for ten felonies related to election tampering, gets elected as Secretary of State AND gets convicted of the crimes she’s been charged with?

State law says a person can run for office while under indictment and can even serve in office after being convicted, but state law also says a person cannot serve from prison.

If Peters is elected Secretary of State in November and is convicted of her alleged crimes and sentenced to prison, the the governor can appoint someone to fill her vacancy.

Governor Polis is up for re-election in November.