Ninth Judicial District Attorney Sherry Caloia faces lawsuit over alleged thefts by Marble town clerk
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The town of Marble is about to sue Ninth Judicial District Attorney Sherry Caloia in an attempt to recover money former Town Clerk Karen Mulhall allegedly stole over an undetermined period.
Caloia, who used to be a contract town attorney for Marble, won election to her new position last year. She confirmed to the Post Independent on Wednesday that she had received an email this week alerting her to the impending lawsuit.
“It does appear that I will be sued by Marble,” Caloia said somberly, explaining that she expects the suit to be filed in the 9th Judicial District Court in Glenwood Springs, in the same building as the DA’s office.
”They’re asking for $329,000,” Caloia added.
Attorney Marcus Lock, who represents Marble, declined to comment on the matter other than to say, “The action has not yet been filed.”
Marble Mayor Robert Pettijohn was not available Wednesday for comment on the matter.
According to authorities, Mulhall, who worked for the town for 18 years, stole money from the town’s accounts over the course of several years before her dismissal in 2012.
A internal investigation into the town’s accounts, which Alpine Bank officials conducted in 2012, turned up discrepancies that led to a probe by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the results of which have yet to be made public.
Although the CBI investigation focused on allegations that Mulhall stole more than $300,000, the mayor told the Post Independent last year that he believed the total was closer to $800,000.
Mulhall’s body was found in a Denver-area motel in late October 2012, and while an official cause of death never has been made public, persistent rumors around town have indicated that she committed suicide.
The town kept a lid on the matter until November, when Lock issued a statement saying the CBI investigation had begun.
According to Caloia, “This isn’t the first time they told me they were going to sue,” adding that she recently paid the town “a little more than $30,000,” that the town said had been routed through Caloia’s business while Mulhall worked for Caloia, from 2007 to late 2012.
“Karen did, in fact, launder Marble money through my firm,” Caloia told the Post Independent. She said the town demanded that she pay $30,000 or so, and that “the number they gave me was how much I paid.”
She said it appeared that Mulhall had written checks to Caloia’s firm out of the town’s accounts and then paid herself the amount on the face of the check.
“I wasn’t paying attention as I should have been,” Caloia admitted, adding, “She did it over a couple of years.”
Caloia herself, who did legal work for the town “as they needed things done,” stopped working for Marble in 2012. The town government, Caloia said, is accusing her of failing to supervise Mulhall’s work as town clerk adequately, a role that Caloia said was not hers to perform.
“It’s unfortunate,” Caloia said. “She stole money from me. She stole money from Marble.”
But, she stressed, “I got no money from Marble. I had nothing to do with the finances. It’s just heartbreaking for me. But, it is what it is. I can’t change it, and I don’t want to hide it. I want to be as transparent as possible here.”
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