Lee Mulcahy’s interview with Pitkin County commissioners doesn’t go so well | AspenTimes.com

Lee Mulcahy’s interview with Pitkin County commissioners doesn’t go so well

Mulcahy regroups in fight with Skico

Former ski instructor Lee Mulcahy’s attorneys have taken over his 3½-year-old dispute against Aspen Skiing Co. with an amended lawsuit that contends his constitutional rights were violated and he is owed damages.

Mulcahy hired the prominent Denver law firm of Haddon, Morgan and Foreman in March after he represented himself in the litigation for a couple of years. Attorney Ty Gee filed an amended complaint against Aspen Skiing Co. on March 26 seeking a court declaration that Skico violated Mulcahy’s protected rights of free speech under the Colorado Constitution. Mulcahy is seeking an injunction prohibiting Skico from enforcing a ban of Mulcahy entering any of its property. He is also seeking compensatory damages and legal costs.

Mulcahy is seeking a jury trial. Attorneys for Skico haven’t responded yet to the lawsuit.

Mulcahy was a 15-year employee of Skico and one of the top-ranked instructors at Snowmass Ski Area. He wrote a letter to the editor of local newspapers critical of his employer in summer 2010. That triggered a feud that got nastier over the coming year. Mulcahy was fired in January 2011. Skico said it was over his performance and violation of company policies. Mulcahy said it was because he talked to other ski instructors about starting a union.

Skico banned Mulcahy from entering its property and the federal land it leases for its ski areas when he distributed flyers advertising a meeting over Skico’s treatment of rookie ski instructors. He is trying to get that ban nullified.

Mulcahy also claims in the lawsuit that he suffered damages when Skico fired him for retaliatory reasons.

“On matters relating to employment practices in and around the Aspen area, including its own employment practices, Skico is thin-skinned and highly protective of its interests,” Mulcahy’s attorney wrote in the complaint. “As exemplified by its conduct toward Mr. Mulcahy, Skico moves quickly and preemptively to shut down speech critical of Skico or its many related businesses or speech supporting or containing political content it disagrees with.”

— Staff report

Lee Mulcahy got a chilly reception from Pitkin County commissioners Tuesday during an interview for a citizen board position, prompting the Aspen activist to tell two of the elected officials to “show some cojones.”

Mulcahy appeared before the commissioners, who interview and appoint applicants to various citizens boards, to make his pitch for a seat on the Senior Services Council.

But the interview got off to a rocky start when county commissioners Chairman Steve Child asked Mulcahy if he has resolved his feud with Aspen Skiing Co. (see sidebar).

Mulcahy didn’t answer the question directly, first thanking his parents, God and friends.

“I think there’s a very serious point in allowing me to serve,” he said. “Are you going to allow Skico to bully me?”

Commissioner George Newman reminded Mulcahy that commissioners denied him last year for a board appointment. “You’re using this forum as a political statement,” Newman said.

Mulcahy countered by saying politics influence commissioners’ decisions and his apparently pending rejection was another example of that.

“This is a slap in the face of direct democracy and a slap in the face of everyone who wants to serve,” he said.

Commissioner Rachel Richards told Mulcahy she wouldn’t be voting for his appointment.

“I have to say I just think you bring a lot of controversy to whatever form or activity or gathering that you’re in, and I don’t know if it’s intentional,” she said. “But I really cannot see putting you on their board.”

There are four vacancies and five alternate vacancies on the board. “We have a lot of applications before us,” Commissioner Patti Clapper said.

Mulcahy said his reason to serve on the board is simple: “Because I’m really good with people, loving your fellow man. That’s why I’m here.”

When Newman re-enforced his objection to Mulcahy’s appointment, Mulcahy wagged his finger at him and Commissioner Michael Owsley.

“I hope one of you would show some cojones, at least for me,” he said at the interview’s conclusion.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com


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