Aspen councilman critical of Times’ changes

Staff report
Ward Hauenstein

Aspen City Councilman Ward Hauenstein accused The Aspen Times on Tuesday of suppressing free speech.

During the council comments portion of Tuesday’s meeting, Hauenstein criticized the newspaper for removing an editor and not publishing an opinion piece by a columnist. Hauenstein suggested local investors try to buy the newspaper or fund a different news source.

His comments come in the wake of a defamation lawsuit that was filed against the Times by hotel developer Vladislav Doronin, who bought a 1-acre parcel at the base of Aspen Mountain for $76.5 million in March. Doronin withdrew the lawsuit last month after the Times agreed to make edits to previously published opinion pieces and a news article on, Aspen Times publisher Allison Pattillo said.

The affected opinion pieces and articles all contain notes indicating they have been modified, Pattillo said.

Hauenstein also criticized the newspaper for terminating new editor Andrew Travers. Pattillo would not discuss Travers’ departure.

Travers issued a statement Tuesday saying he was terminated Friday after publishing two columns critical of a luxury hotel developer that had been previously withheld.

Pattillo has said previously that a Roger Marolt column about Doronin and a subsequent column critical of the newspaper were not published because the newspaper did not want to disrupt efforts to resolve the lawsuit.