Candidate’s residency could throw wrench into runoff
ASPEN The validity of Aspen’s runoff election June 5 might be in doubt because of questions about whether City Council candidate Toni Kronberg lives in Aspen.But unless a member of the public formally lodges an objection with the city clerk, challenging Kronberg’s claim that she lives in Aspen, officials say no action will be taken.Questions about whether Kronberg has been an Aspen resident for the past 12 months have surfaced after several sources told The Aspen Times they believe she lives outside city limits in Aspen Village, based on her continual presence there.In addition, Lauren Walkiewicz, a caretaker at a Woody Creek ranch last year, said Kronberg lived at the ranch for nearly a month before the owner requested that she leave so he could have her caretaker unit for guests.Kronberg denies those claims, saying she lived on the Woody Creek ranch for four days. She insists that she lives at 230 N. Spring St. in the Oklahoma Flats neighborhood and that she resided there last winter and summer. She also lived at the Burlingame seasonal housing for a time, she said.Kronberg said the reason she is at Aspen Village frequently is because she rents an office there – in the basement of unit No. 60. Public documents on the Internet show Kronberg’s residential listing as 60 Aspen Village Road in Snowmass.On her voter registration form and petition to run for City Council, Kronberg listed 230 N. Spring St. as her permanent address. The only requirement to prove city residency is a signature on a voter registration form.When a reporter questioned her about her residency last week, Kronberg said she would produce a letter on Monday from Oklahoma Flats property owner Denice Reich, saying she has been a caretaker at the Reich home for the past year. The Times received no letter.Reich on Monday refused to comment on Kronberg’s residency, except to say “I think it’s cruel and rotten that you are going after Toni like this,” before hanging up.According to the Colorado Revised Statutes, an objection must be filed with City Clerk Kathryn Koch, who has 48 hours to accept or deny it. If any controversy arises between the clerk, a resident or the candidate, the district court will step in and investigate the complaint. However, there appears to be some confusion within City Hall as to what would happen to the runoff election, since City Attorney John Worcester is on vacation in Mexico. Koch speculated that nothing would change until the investigation was complete.”I would believe that [the election] would go on, and if malfeasance was found, that person would not take office,” Koch said.Jim True, who is working as an attorney for the city on contract, said nothing will happen without a formal complaint.”I would think that there would be a complaint filed, an investigation and a determination,” True said.Kronberg garnered the third-highest count in the May 8 council election, with 487 votes, or 22 percent. Her opponent, Steve Skadron, received 862 votes, or 39 percent. In order to win a seat on the council in the first go-round, a candidate must garner 45 percent of the vote, plus one.Skadron said Monday that he would prefer to just move on with the runoff election. He received nearly double the votes Kronberg did and is confident he’ll win.”I support whatever is best for the community, and if that means we have to have another electoral process, then that’s what we’ll do,” Skadron said.If Kronberg doesn’t meet the requirements to hold public office, a runoff election between Skadron and the next-highest vote-getter, Michael Wampler, would seem unlikely.”I wouldn’t jump back in,” Wampler said. “I’d give it to Steve. I think he won and the runoff is ridiculous.”Council candidate Andrew Kole, who received 300 votes, said if Kronberg’s residency is in violation of city laws, he wouldn’t fight for a new election.”From my point of view, Steve Skadron wins because he had the majority of votes,” Kole said. “If they gave him the seat, I wouldn’t object. He only needed 28 votes.”Carolyn Sackariason’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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