Candidate has lengthy court record
This is the first of a two-part series looking at the local court records of the candidates running for Aspen mayor and City Council. Today’s article focuses on council candidate Toni Kronberg, and Wednesday’s story will examine the records of the other candidates. ASPEN Doing business with Aspen City Council candidate Marie Antionette “Toni” Kronberg often means taking her to court. The 52-year-old swimming teacher has been the subject of nearly two dozen lawsuits in Pitkin County Court and also has a misdemeanor theft conviction. Kronberg insisted that her lengthy record as a defendant does not make her unfit for City Council, which has overseen an annual budget in excess of $100 million the past few years. “On council you don’t write the checks,” Kronberg said during a two-hour interview Monday with The Aspen Times. “These [lawsuits] are because of personal circumstances I’ve had in my life. … I’ve done whatever it takes to pay things back. Maybe not as quick as people wanted, but what’s been doable in my life.”In addition to teaching swimming, Kronberg, a 32-year resident of Aspen, makes a living working with horses. She also has worked odd jobs, and said that although she has faced difficult financial times, she makes good on her debts, even if it comes by the way of “slow pay, meaning it takes you a while to pay things off. If I owe money, I will explain what happened and try to work out a payment plan with them.” She added: “If they’re not happy with what I’m saying to them, I say, ‘Bring it to court.'”Indeed, Kronberg has settled many of her disputes by paying the plaintiffs before they take her to trial. And many have done just that. Kronberg’s lawsuit record in Pitkin County Court ranges from defending herself in eviction efforts to delinquent debts. Among those debts is a $467 judgment, including court costs, that remains unpaid, according to court papers. The judgment, records show, comes from a dispute with a landlord.Kronberg said a clear indicator of her financial responsibility is that she has never filed for bankruptcy as a way of shirking her debts. She said she still owes various creditors, but she will make good on it all – even if takes years. “Sometimes it’ll take me three or four years to pay people back, but I still do,” Kronberg said, with a pause, “sometimes five years.”Kronberg also has a criminal record. Three years ago, she pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft after she took $226 from the cash register of her employer of two years, High Alpine Restaurant in Snowmass Village, according to court documents. Kronberg received a sentence of 20 hours of community service and a $50 fine. She also was placed on probation, which expired in January 2005, court documents show. On Monday, Kronberg said the restaurant claimed half her tips to pay for benefits, so she felt justified taking the money, an aspect of the case that court records don’t reflect. “I kind of took the law into my own hands, so to speak,” Kronberg said. “He took half of our tips, so I took them back.”High Alpine owner George Gordon did not respond in time for this article. Kronberg said she did not fight the conviction in court because it was easier to just let it go; she did not want it to become a larger problem by getting into the newspapers.”There have been some nasty campaigns against me,” she said. “I didn’t want this to be an issue.”Most lawsuits against Kronberg were settled out of court or dismissed, though there have been some judgments against her. Kronberg explained the circumstances of many of the lawsuits Monday, saying each case needs to be taken separately. In one lawsuit, the plaintiff was out to get her for political reasons, she said. In another, she said the emotional toll of a teen crime spree in 1999 made things difficult for her; Kronberg had taught swimming to some of the defendants in that case.Kronberg said things also were very tough for her in 2000, when she was the subject of seven lawsuits, because her mother was dying. And she said a 2003 car wreck, for which she received a citation for lack of insurance, was the fault of the person whose car she was driving.”It wasn’t me who didn’t have insurance, it was the car I was driving,” Kronberg said. “His car didn’t have insurance, and I’m the one who got in trouble.”Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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