Long-time GarCo County Clerk & Recorder Jean Alberico (Photo: Sopris Sun)
Garfield County is feeling some ripple effects from the Tina Peters scandal, and there’s growing concern about it.
After four terms as Clerk and nearly 40 years of working in the Clerk’s office, long time Garfield County Clerk Jean Alberico, is retiring this year, which means there will be a contested election for the office of Clerk and Recorder in Garfield County for the first time in many years this election cycle. Normally few people care about the Clerk and Recorder’s office in their county, but Garfield County voters need look no further than Mesa County next door to understand the importance of this office and the disaster that can unfold if the wrong person is elected to it, as happened here in Mesa County.
Tina Peters’ mugshot for her latest arrest on 3/9/2022, charged with 8 felonies and 3 misdemeanors related to election tampering
An investigation by the State of Colorado (pdf) has revealed that the quit claim deed filed by Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters last year for property that belonged to her ex-husband was not notarized in accordance with Colorado law.
The case involves a home on Orchard Mesa purchased by Tina’s ex-husband, Thomas Peters, that Tina Peters obtained by filing the questionable quit claim deed.
On December 23, 2021, Thomas M. Peters, filed a lawsuit (pdf) against his ex-wife, Tina Peters, alleging she breached her fiduciary duty and engaged in “theft by deception” to illegally seize a home he had purchased for himself with his own funds after they divorced in October, 2021.
Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters’ mugshot for her latest arrest on 3/9/2022. She is charged with 8 felonies and 3 misdemeanors related to tampering with election equipment
Tina Peters was booked into the Mesa County jail this afternoon on $500,000 cash-only bond after surrendering at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the Daily Sentinel, if she is convicted on all charges, and if they run consecutively, Peters could get a maximum penalty of 28 years in jail and $2.7 million in fines, and Knisley could get a maximum sentence of 21 years in prison and $2 million in fines.
Peters blamed her arrest on Democrats and establishment Republicans who dislike Donald Trump. She gave a long statement to the Daily Sentinel that said in part, “Using a grand jury to formalize politically motivated accusations against candidates is (a) tactic long employed by the Democrat Party.”
Peters is charged with three counts of attempting to influence a public servant (a Class 4 felony), one count of attempting to influence a public servant (a Class 5 felony), one count of criminal impersonation (a Class 6 felony), one count of conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation (a Class 6 felony); one count of identify theft (a Class 4 felony) and one count of first-degree official misconduct, a Class 2 misdemeanor. Peters is also charged with one count each of violation of duty and failure to comply with the Secretary of State, both unclassified misdemeanor offenses.
The grand jury also indicted Deputy Mesa County Clerk Belinda Knisely on violation of duty, failure to comply with the Secretary of State, conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation, and multiple counts of attempting to influence a public servant.
In this exchange during her speaking engagement at the Jefferson County Republican Men’s Club on February 21, a woman in the audience asks election conspiracy-theorist Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters how to get “voters with inappropriate names off the voter list”:
Woman to Tina: “Is there anything we can do at this point, at this election, I mean to get these voters with inappropriate names off the voter list?”
Tina: “Yes, there’s some issues on HAVA [the Help America Vote Act] (pdf). They stand behind HAVA a lot. That is the national voting act where they are bringing in all these drop boxes and making elections “more accessible” to everybody. [Tina gestures using air quotes when she says “more accessible”]. Well, they’re really not. They’re making them more accessible to the ones that shouldn’t be voting.”
Tina Peters is running to replace Jenna Griswold as Colorado Secretary of State.
The ballots were discovered when election workers went to empty the box for the 2020 election, but Peters refused to petition a judge to open and count them and include them in the final vote tally from the 2019 election. In her talk, Peters also got the number of uncounted ballots wrong. 574 ballots were discovered left in the ballot box, not 429.
Peters claimed without evidence that “they stuffed the ballot box with 479 ballots” in order to “take over my office” and said it was part of an effort to “take over the western slope.”
Embattled election conspiracy theorist Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters grins proudly for her mug shot taken upon her arrest on 2/10/2022
Lots of people have been saying it under their breath, but no one has come out and said it publicly. Mostly people have just gotten angry at Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters for her increasingly strange behavior, but maybe it’s time to start pitying Tina.
We can all agree that Tina’s behavior has been very far outside what is considered normal for an elected county clerk:
On February 11, 2022, the same day she was officially arrested and booked on charges of obstruction, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters appeared as a speaker at an “Emergency Town Hall” event held by the right wing extremist group Faith, Education, Commerce United in Castle Rock, Colorado.
During the Q &A, a member of the audience asks Peters:
“I’d like to hear from Tina. Would you bring us up to speed on all this? I read in the paper … I don’t get it, I mean I sort of get it, but the whole thing .. They walk into a restaurant, they arrest you and then they let you go. I don’t get it. Could you give us a nice little synopsis here? What started this in the first place?”
Tina responds by saying in part,
“So I did not go out on a fishing expedition, I did not go out to, you know, find something to prove that Trump won. It was very obvious, I think, to everybody. But when I saw the City Council election, I said ‘there’s no way, there is NO WAY that these people won in our town.'”
Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters grins for her mug shot at the time of her arrest in Grand Junction on 2/10/2022
Update: Tina Peters finally filed a candidate affidavit saying she is running for Secretary of State on 2/23/22.
Adding a whole new level of crazy to her repertoire, after getting arrested last week on charges of obstruction, and then telling an adoring election conspiracy-theory endorsing crowd in Castle Rock immediately afterward that no one can stop her, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters announced this morning that she is running for Secretary of State (SOS), and will challenge incumbent SOS Jena Griswold for the seat.
No proof of candidacy for SOS so far
The only problem is Peters declared on the steps of the Mesa County Justice Center on January 13 that she was running for re-election as Mesa County Clerk. She can’t run for both offices at once, and so far the only candidate affidavit on file with the Secretary of State’s office is the one that says she is running for County Clerk. There is no affidavit on Tracer showing she is actually running for Secretary of State. A call to the Secretary of State’s Campaign Finance Office (CFO), where candidates must submit their affidavits to officially be considered running for any office, revealed that so far no affidavit for Peters’ run for SOS exists either on their website or in the pending queue of the CFO, and Peters hasn’t taken any action to nullify her affidavit to run for clerk.
This post is dedicated to my dad, Daniel N. Fox, who died on 2/11/22 from Covid-19, after catching it from someone who came into his home and inadvertently infected his entire household. Two people out of the three in his household have died as a result. The second person died on 2/14/22.
As the omicron surge recedes in Mesa County, people are starting to gather in large crowds for indoor events again, like meetings, concerts and parties. But is it safe?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests you take into account the type of gathering you’re considering attending: Is it a small gathering of just people you know, or will there be people there from multiple households or with whom you are unfamiliar? Large gatherings with more people from other places pose a higher danger of infection with Covid-19.
Take into account your risk level, and that of others near you: Do you have children under 5 years old at home who are unvaccinated? Or do you live with, visit or work with older people who have weaker immune systems or other health conditions? If you are around people who are vulnerable to the virus, your behavior, specifically carelessly exposing yourself to large crowds and failing to test for infection before spending time with them, can raise their risk of getting Covid-19, and even kill them, as it killed my dad last Friday.
Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters’ mug shot, 2/10/2022
Over-the-top, rogue Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters turned herself in to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office this morning on a misdemeanor arrest warrant around 10:30 a.m., paid her own bond of $500 and was soon released, according to news reports.
This arrest was for obstructing a peace officer as she refused to turn over an IPad pursuant to a warrant for the item issued by the DA’s office yesterday. Peters was believed to have illegally used the IPad to record a court proceeding for her former Chief Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley, who is facing charges of cybercrime and 2nd degree felony burglary.
You can read the warrant for Tina Peters’ arrest here.
The above is a 2 minute video of Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters getting cuffed and detained this morning around 10:45 a.m. by law enforcement officers in the front room at Main Street Bagels. The video was posted on the website of 9News in Denver.
The video shows Peters kicking at an officer, struggling to get away, yelling “That hurts! Let go of me! Give me my car keys!” The officers cuff her and take her outside onto the sidewalk in front of the restaurant.
Peters was detained for resisting a search warrant for her IPad, which she allegedly used to record a court hearing she attended for her former Chief Deputy Belinda Knisely earlier that morning, despite the judge having admonished people inside the courtroom not to record the proceedings.
Screenshot of the packed, angry but well-behaved crowd that faced down the new School Board President Andrea Haitz and the other new school board members Monday night, 2/7/22, as they made moves toward possibly firing district administrators. The screenshot is from a video taken at the beginning of the meeting, before the Board went into executive session to discuss the employment contracts of Superintendent Diana Sirko, Assistant Superintendent Brian Hill and the Director of Equity and Inclusion, Tracy Gallegos. An equal number of people were outside. A student in front is holding a sign that says “Don’t make me use my INSIDE VOICE!”
School Board President Andrea Haitz is clearly rattled in this 7 minute video of last night’s meeting (2/7/22, above), taken before the Board went into Executive Session. Her voice quivers, and she gets items for the meeting out of order.
District 51 School Board President Andrea Haitz has scheduled another Special Board Meeting on Wednesday, February 9 at 3:15 p.m. in the Harry Butler Board Room at R-5, same location as yesterday’s meeting. Like the one on Monday night, this one was also scheduled with very short notice. People have noticed the time of day when Haitz plans to hold the meeting will make it difficult for teachers to attend.
Word is that rogue Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters was handcuffed this morning at Main Street Bagels, around 11:00 a.m. in the front area of the restaurant. Peters was wearing a red jacket, was surrounded by law enforcement officials in county uniforms, including one woman, and some plain-clothes cops. Peters was cuffed with her hands behind her back in the front portion of the restaurant. More soon.
Update, 1:08 p.m., 2/8/22 – There’s information on Twitter from Jesse A. Paul of the Colorado Sun, formerly of the Denver Post, that Tina was “briefly detained and released,” that her detainment did not have to do directly with the breach of an election system, and that authorities are going to release additional information soon.
Meeting agenda quietly put up on the School Board’s website on short notice announcing a special meeting the next day to discuss employment contracts of the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent and Director of Equity and Inclusion
The District 51 School Board’s new conservative majority — Andrea Haitz, Angela Lema and Willie Jones — appear to be getting ready to fire School District Superintendent, Diana Sirko, Assistant Superintendent Brian Hill and Tracy Gallegos, the District’s Director of Equity and Inclusion, who was hired into that position in July, 2021.
The three Board members gave short notice about a special meeting to be held on Monday, February 5 at 5:00 p.m. discuss these three employees’ contracts with attorneys they just hired in January to serve as their own representatives: David Price and Tammy Eret of Hoskin, Farina and Kampf.
The Board members produced the agenda on Saturday evening, 2/5/22, and then quietly slipped it onto the School Board’s meeting website (pdf) on Sunday evening, 2/6/21.