Residency investigation in DA’s hands
City officials have turned over their investigation into former City Council candidate Toni Kronberg’s residency to the district attorney’s office. Assistant District Attorney Gail Nichols confirmed that City Hall special counsel Jim True filed an affidavit Wednesday with her office. However, that document and the details of the city’s investigation are not public.”Our documents are not public until we finish our investigation,” Nichols said, adding that she didn’t know how long the investigation would take.City Attorney John Worcester said he gave copies of True’s report on the investigation to City Council members – although that is not public either, he said, citing the attorney-client privilege.Worcester added that if he and True didn’t believe there was sufficient evidence for the DA’s office to pursue, the investigation would have stopped at City Hall. But it hasn’t.
“There’s enough evidence to investigate what’s there,” he said, adding that the DA is the appropriate office to pursue matters that relate specifically to the state constitution. True has been investigating for the past two months whether Kronberg was a legally qualified candidate when she ran for a City Council seat in the past election.Kronberg wasn’t available for comment. But she has always maintained that she has lived in the city of Aspen, and for the past year she has been a caretaker for a homeowner in the Oklahoma Flats neighborhood. Community members filed three complaints after the May election, questioning whether Kronberg lives in Aspen and has for the past 12 months, a requirement to run for office.Ron Erickson, Jim DeFrancia and Andrew Kole filed separate complaints with City Clerk Kathryn Koch, asking city officials to investigate whether Kronberg is a resident of Aspen.
The only proof City Hall requires is a signed affidavit from a candidate. If it’s found that the document was signed under false pretenses, forgery or election fraud charges could be possible.Shortly after the filing of the complaints, the Aspen City Council decided behind closed doors to stall taking action until after the June 5 runoff election.The controversy triggered city officials to consider changing residency requirements to require more proof, which will be a topic of discussion among City Council members next Tuesday.Questions about whether Kronberg has been an Aspen resident for the past 12 months surfaced after several sources told The Aspen Times they believe she lives outside the city limits in Aspen Village, based on her continual presence there.But Kronberg has always maintained that she lives as a caretaker at 230 N. Spring St. in the Oklahoma Flats neighborhood and that she resided there last summer and winter. Denver-based real estate agent Denise Reich owns the home.
Kronberg said she also lived at the Burlingame seasonal housing for a time.On her voter registration form and petition to run for City Council, Kronberg listed 230 N. Spring St. as her permanent address. Kronberg changed her address around the time she filed her petition to run for City Council. She listed 377 N. Spring St., a large riverfront property with a caretaker unit that Reich also owns, as her former residence.Kronberg said the reason she is at Aspen Village frequently is because she rents an office there – in the basement of unit No. 60. Lauren Walkiewicz, a former caretaker at a Woody Creek ranch, said Kronberg lived on the property for nearly a month last summer 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.Kronberg garnered the third-highest count in the May 8 council election, with 487 votes, or 22 percent. In second place was Steve Skadron, who 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. In the June 5 runoff election, Skadron won with 1,546 votes (75 percent) to Kronberg’s 516 (25 percent).
Aspen City Council approved a contract with Daniel Joseph (DJ) Watkins during Tuesday’s regular meeting to move forward with his intentions to operate his proposed “Aspen Collective,” which is currently occupied by Mia Valley’s Valley Fine Art.