Aspen mayor was directed to safe house
ASPEN, Colorado ” Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland said he was whisked off by authorities to a safe, undisclosed location Wednesday night after a suicide note by Jim Blanning threatened him.
Ireland said he was prepared to help staff barricades Wednesday night to prevent people from wandering into evacuated portions of downtown when Blanning’s suicide letter came to light. Blanning left his letter at the door of The Aspen Times sometime between 7:02 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. In it, Blanning wrote, “May Mike [Mick] Ireland rot in hell.”
When the Times turned the letter over to authorities, they quickly directed Ireland to the safe location. Ireland said he wasn’t concerned for his life, but agreed it wasn’t a good idea to stay in his home while Blanning’s whereabouts were unknown. Ireland didn’t disclose where he was taken. He said he stayed in a plain room with just a bed and chair.
Ireland said Blanning’s animosity for him stretches back to the late 1980s, when he was substituting for a reporter at The Aspen Times who was on a leave of absence. Ireland scrutinized Blanning’s procedures of obtaining mining claims in areas like the backside of Aspen Mountain. Later after he was appointed as a Pitkin County commissioner, Ireland pressed for a county policy to contest Blanning’s ownership of scores of mining claims.
Ireland said it was always in the back of his mind that Blanning could take some drastic action against county officials because of the dispute.