Aspen newspaper publisher ticketed for trespassing over tax on newspaper
October 11, 2010
ASPEN – The owner and publisher of the Aspen Daily News was summonsed early Saturday for trespassing after he and a clerk at a local gas station allegedly argued about the tax on the purchase of a newspaper.
Dave Danforth, 60, of Aspen refused to leave the Locals Corner store around 2 a.m. when asked repeatedly by the worker and responding officers, Aspen police Sgt. Mike Tracey said.
Danforth said Sunday that he merely made an offhand remark to the clerk as Danforth was leaving the store, “something about, ‘Have you fixed your tax problem?'”
Danforth and store officials apparently had a long-running feud about whether a tax was being charged on the sales of newspapers, Tracey said.
“The store has proved to him numerous times that he’s not being charged the tax,” he said, adding that Danforth “wasn’t in a state to recognize that he was in the wrong.” Asked if alcohol was a factor, Tracey said, “I believe so.”
Danforth said his parting comment sparked a tirade from the clerk, who called police.
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“I said, ‘Well, I’m not going anywhere. I want to see how this plays out,” he said.
Danforth described officers’ actions in detaining him as “the typical case of boys will be boys. I was arrested after reaching for my cell phone. The officer didn’t want me to do that,” he said. “I have long thought, and have written numerous editorials in the Daily News, that when police officers have a choice to diffuse or escalate an incident, they make the wrong judgment.
“That’s exactly what happened here,” Danforth said. Officer “Jeff Fain just had to whip out those handcuffs. We’ll see what happens in court.”
He has a municipal court date on Oct. 27.
Danforth was not charged the tax when he bought a copy of The New York Times, Tracey said.