Milias takes steps to sue Aspen |

Milias takes steps to sue Aspen

ASPEN – Former Election Commission member Elizabeth Milias put Aspen City Hall on notice Friday with a three-page letter reserving her right to sue for more than $150,000 in connection to claims of defamation and civil conspiracy.

Through her attorney, Robert McGuire of Denver, Milias’ letter alleges that Aspen City Council allowed former councilman Jack Johnson to make “defamatory attacks” by providing him “unfettered access to the public podium in violation of municipal law.”

The notice also claims that Johnson coordinated his attacks against Milias with “one or more city of Aspen employees.”

Johnson’s remarks in question came Oct. 26 and Nov. 9 in the Council Chamber of City Hall, the notice says. They came after he filed a Colorado Open Records Act [CORA] requesting the electronic communications by the Election Commission, on which Milias had sat.

Johnson, after receiving the e-mails, interpreted that Milias, along with then-election commissioner Chris Bryan, furthered the goals of Marilyn Marks by privately communicating with Marks about the release of ballot images from the mayoral election of May 2009.

Marks ran for mayor in that election, ultimately losing to Mick Ireland. Milias was the campaign treasurer for Marks, who later sued the city for the release of the ballot images. A district judge dismissed the suit earlier this year.

Meanwhile, at the Oct. 26 City Council meeting, Johnson, during public comment, accused Milias of not providing all electronic communications per the CORA request.

“Given the highly embarrassing nature of the documents in the public record that Ms. Milias has already chosen not to produce but were available elsewhere, it isn’t surprising Ms. Milias wishes to stonewall,” Johnson said at the time. “That is illegal.”

Milias’ notice claims that “Johnson’s defamation included statements that Ms. Milias had engaged in misdemeanor criminal conduct.”

Johnson said he stands by his comments.

“I never said she’s guilty of misdemeanor conduct, but she may have been,” said Johnson, who is running for the District 1 seat on the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners in the November election. “That’s up to an attorney or judge to determine, not me.”

Milias, in an e-mail statement to the Times, said: “This is not a lawsuit, it the not a threat of a lawsuit, I am just reserving my right to sue.”

Milias and Bryan no longer sit on the Election Commission because their terms expired.

Jim True, special counsel for the city of Aspen, declined comment when contacted Friday.

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