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Wilk threatens Mick Ireland

Jeremy Heiman

Smuggler Mountain landowner Wilk Wilkinson threatened County Commissioner Mick Ireland Tuesday, saying he would have his license to practice law taken away.

The outburst came during the latest round of an ongoing dispute over ownership of Smuggler Mountain Road.

Wilkinson told commissioners he believes the road does not belong to the county because, among other things, the mining claims it crosses were carved out of public land before the road was built. Under federal law, a road must be established before land under it is taken out of public domain in order for the road to automatically be a public right of way, Wilkinson claimed.

Ireland argued repeatedly with Wilkinson, asserting there is no proof that the road was not there when the claims were staked. He also voiced his impatience at the duration of the series of meetings that have taken place on the issue.

Charging attorney Ireland with failing to uphold his sworn duty as a commissioner, Wilkinson said, “I’m not trying to f– around here, but I will go after your law license.”

BOCC Chairwoman Dorothea Farris flashed a “time out” signal with her hands and asked for a two-minute break. As Farris ushered Ireland out of the room, he complained about having to submit to what he called “this type of intimidation.”

Wilkinson continued his tirade, accusing Assistant County Attorney Debbie Quinn of lying in her rebuttal of his claim to the road.

After tempers cooled, Ireland and Farris returned and the discussion continued.

“I’m just trying to get at the truth in this situation,” Wilkinson said, “because the truth has been thrown in my face, and my land-use application has been denied, and it’s cost me a lot of money.”

Wilkinson is appealing the denial of an excavation permit that would allow him to make repairs and changes to the road. He claims some of the road, a popular recreation route, belongs to him.


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