Charges filed against Avon councilman |

Charges filed against Avon councilman

Cliff Thompson
Peter Buckley

The charges are in connection with a “spamming” incident 14 months ago that clogged a server at a local e-mail and Internet provider, Vail.Net.

In October 2001, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the FBI seized 12 computers from Internet, a home computer business operated by Buckley and his wife, Debbie. Under investigation is whether the equipment had been used in three separate spamming incidents reported by Vail.Net in September 2001.

Spam messages are bogus e-mails forwarded to clog up an e-mail server.

Nearly 20,000 “spams” had flooded and overwhelmed the Vail.Net e-mail server, and the company’s 7,600 e-mail customers experienced service interruptions and very slow service.

Buckley said Wednesday he’s eager to refute the charges.

“I finally have a chance to clear my name, both for my customers and my constituents,” Buckley said. “That’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

Prosecutor Brenda Parks said analysis of the seized computers was conducted by both the CBI and the FBI, which assist the Eagle County Sheriff in investigating cyber crimes.

“I decided to file the case based on evidence of a massive virus/spam being sent,” she said.

Investigators apparently based the charges on evidence indicating the electronic Internet Protocol, or electronic address, of the Buckley’s computers appeared on the spammed messages.

District Attorney MIke Goodbee two weeks ago filed three identical felony charges of computer crime/transmit virus against Buckley. Conviction carries a sentence of two to six years and fines of $2,000 to $500,000 per charge and a mandatory parole time of four years.

If convicted, Buckley would be required to relinquish his council seat, which he has held for two years, pursuant to the bylaws of the Avon Town Charter.

The complaint filed with Eagle County District Court alleges three separate incidents, on Sept. 6 and 7, 2001, in which Buckley allegedly spammed Vail.Net.

Investigative reports indicate there may have been some antagonism between the Buckleys and business competitor Vail.Net. Buckley had applied for a job with Vail.Net nearly six years ago, but was not hired, the report stated, and has “held a grudge,” quoting Vail.Net’s John Uhley.

Peter and Debbie Buckley both serve on the Avon Town Council. She won re-election by a narrow margin in November fall despite a campaign of attack ads funded a former councilman, Rick Cuny, who often clashed with Pete Buckley. Cuny’s ads showed a married couple in bed discussing council business and questioned the propriety of having a married couple on the same elected board. They appeared nationwide in newscasts.

Buckley’s initial court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 15, after which a trial date will be set.

Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555 ext 450 or

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