Conflict-of-interest charge contested
MINTURN – Mayor Gordon “Hawkeye” Flaherty pleaded not guilty Thursday to the conflict-of-interest charge he’s facing for for defending a friend in municipal court in August.The charge stems from an Aug. 11 court hearing in which Flaherty defended Jim Hoza and his vacant Main Street lot, which the town was trying to clean up. Town law states that a government official may not appear on behalf of any private person, business or entity other than himself, his spouse or minor children.
If Flaherty were convicted on the charge, he would have to pay any court-related fees the town spends on the case and forfeit his position as mayor.Hoza’s lot was in disarray and drew complaints from some residents. Vehicles, lumber and boulders, among other items, littered Hoza’s property.
Since August, the property has been largely cleaned, and some residents have said Flaherty was just sticking up for his friend, and the issue has ballooned. Town Attorney Allen Christensen told the Minturn Town Council on Aug. 17 that Flaherty might have violated town law by counseling Hoza. On Aug. 25, the council voted 4-1 to pursue criminal charges against Flaherty.
Flaherty contended in August he wanted the court to hear both sides of the complaints against Hoza.A pretrial hearing on Flaherty’s conflict of interest charge could take place as early as Jan. 12.Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or email@example.com.Vail, Colorado