Toni Kronberg case closed
ASPEN ” Former Aspen City Council candidate Toni Kronberg, who has been under investigation for the past six months over whether she lied about living in Aspen while running for public office, will not be prosecuted, according to the district attorney’s office.
“There is not a reasonable likelihood of success off the merits [of the case],” said Assistant District Attorney Gail Nichols on Monday. She declined to discuss details of the investigation or if a lack of evidence was the reason for the unlikelihood of successfully trying the case.
Jim True, then special counsel for the city of Aspen, launched an investigation into Kronberg’s residency in June based on three complaints filed by community members.
After a thorough investigation to determine whether Kronberg was a legally qualified candidate, True said there was enough evidence to turn the case over to the DA’s office, which he did in July.
Kronberg wasn’t available for comment Monday. Nichols said she notified Kronberg and her attorney last week via a letter that she wouldn’t be prosecuted.
Kronberg had maintained that she lived in the city of Aspen and that for the year prior to her candidacy she had been a caretaker for a homeowner in the Oklahoma Flats neighborhood.
Questions about whether Kronberg was an Aspen resident surfaced after several sources told The Aspen Times they believed she lived outside the city limits in Aspen Village, based on her continual presence there.
And despite the lack of merits of the investigation, Lauren Walkiewicz, the caretaker of a Woody Creek ranch, said Kronberg lived and worked on the property for at least a month in the summer of 2006. Walkiewicz said Kronberg told her she was moving to Aspen Village after leaving the ranch.
The only requirement to prove city residency is a signature on a voter registration form. In order to qualify to seek election, a candidate must have lived in Aspen for the preceding 12 months.
Walkiewicz, who has lived in the valley for more than 15 years, said she would like to vote in the city of Aspen but can’t because she is not a resident. She said she thinks the process and the lack of prosecution is unfair.
“That’s frustrating,” she said. “She gets to vote and walk free from it all. That sucks.
“We need a push for truth in voting,” Walkiewicz added. “It shouldn’t be on the honor system because it’s obviously not working. There should be something in place to prove that people live in town.”
Andrew Kole, who ran against Kronberg in the May election, was one of the three residents who filed complaints asking for an investigation.
Kole said he’s disappointed in the outcome and the time it has taken to reach a non-decision.
“I just wanted them to determine if she was a resident,” he said. “Six months, and they’ve come up with nothing. Weenies. I hope they didn’t spend a lot of money on the investigation based these results.”
Kronberg provided the city with a lease proving that she lived as a caretaker for Denice Reich in the Oklahoma Flats neighborhood the previous summer and winter. That lease showed an discrepancy in that Reich’s first name is spelled two different ways, raising questions by investigators.
On her voter registration form and petition to run for City Council, Kronberg listed 230 N. Spring St. as her permanent address. She changed her address around the time she filed her petition to run for council. Her former residence was 377 N. Spring St., a large riverfront property with a caretaker unit. Reich, a Denver-based real estate agent, owns both properties.
Kronberg insisted that she had not lived in Aspen Village during the prior 12 months to running for office. She told The Aspen Times that she only rented an office in the basement of unit No. 60.
Recent letters to the editor written by Kronberg are signed with Aspen Village as her residence.
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Leaders of Aspen Valley Hospital have decided to not seek relief from an $8.2 million loan the hospital received through the Paycheck Protection Program because it does not meet forgiveness requirements.