Limo-service owner call charges ‘bogus’
EAGLE – Though he may soon be cleared of criminal case against him, the owner of a local Hummer limo service says he wants an explanation from the police about his case.Prosecutors have asked an Eagle County judge to dismiss charges against Jonathan Levine, 44, the owner of Hummers of Vail Inc. Levine faces two counts of criminal impersonation, a felony. “Every charge they brought against me was bogus,” said Levine, who has faced charges for 18 months. “The police don’t like me and wanted me to leave town. I have done nothing but help the community.” Eagle County District Judge Richard Hart said he will make a decision on the case by Sept. 26. District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said though the police had probable cause to make an arrest, prosecutors found the case wasn’t strong enough to bring to trial. Levine said his legal problems started two years ago after he attended an Avon Town Council meeting, where he complained that police were targeting locals for speeding.”After that came out in the paper, they wanted me gone, they wanted to get rid of me,” Levine said. Avon Police Chief Jeff Layman said the case originated when a man called police accusing Levine of using his identity to participate in auctions on the eBay Web site.”We requested and got information from eBay in regards to this case, which we used to substantiate the allegation,” Layman said.Avon police arrested Levine in April 2004 after a 2-1/2-month investigation and charged him with using multiple false identities to sell items on eBay. According to police reports, Levine used 11 aliases. “I want the police to acknowledge that what they did was wrong,” Levine said. “They need to explain to the community why they did this to me.”Layman said the police department will respond similarly to any citizen’s complaint.”We presented the information to the District Attorney’s office and they agreed that probable cause existed so they charged (Levine),” Layman said. “We consulted with the D.A.’s office frequently during the prosecution of this case as we do in every case. It’s important to get that input.”Levine originally faced seven felony charges, including drugs and a sexual assault charges, and seven misdemeanors. All charges have been dismissed but the two counts of impersonation.Rhidian Orr, Levine’s attorney, has requested the court to dismiss the case “with prejudice,” which means it can’t be re-filed in the future. Though prosecutors have asked the charges to be dismissed, they want the ability to file charges again if new evidence surfaces. “Our big concern is that the state was obviously mistaken in filing these charges,” Orr said. “We’re trying to protect (Levine) of being persecuted.”So far, the case has cost him $100,000 and more money in lost business, Levine said.”Why would a hotel call you if they think you are a criminal,” he said.”It’s not over yet,” he added. “We have a long way to go.”Vail, Colorado
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