Johnson should pay for his crimes |

Johnson should pay for his crimes

Jan. 21 is an important day for this town and the judicial system of our country. That day Pitkin County District Judge Seldin can make right 14 years of criminal wrongdoing, and sentence Derek Johnson to prison. People typically do not plead guilty to felony crimes they are innocent of. Derek has pleaded guilty and his sentencing is Tuesday.

I worked for/with Derek since 1999 at both D&E and Aspen Skiing Co. as a department manager under his direction. Along with 50 buyers, managers, and assistant managers, we worked our butts off. Long holiday weeks full of overtime spent working to make budget and the guests happy.

November 2019, we find out Derek was stealing ASC property and with his wife’s help, selling it unbeknownst to us or the company for their personal gain. This criminal activity went on for 14 years, to the tune of $2.4 million in profits, and upwards of 8,000 eBay transactions. All this while masquerading as a do-gooder company director, city councilman, football coach, and “mentor” to the youth of Aspen! Upon pleading guilty, Derek told the judge “there is a story I would like to tell at sentencing.” I cannot wait to hear this “story” on Tuesday!

Skico has generously shared profits with management via performance bonuses. Derek stepped on the throats of us 50 buyers, managers and assistant managers by stealing and selling off company assets. Sold legitimately this product could have helped make our budgets on those short years. Spread over 14 years, $2.4 million is $171,428 per year! That would have increased all of our performance bonuses significantly. These two stole from the owners of ASC, they stole from me, the buyers, the managers, assistant managers, employees on the ASC 401K and from this community! They have bamboozled us all, all while living in taxpayer-subsidized employee housing.

This is an unfortunate ordeal and yes, children are involved. But children were involved the entire time Derek and Kerri Johnson willingly engaged in this criminal activity! Their actions were their own. Let them own the consequences! Let the consequences show that criminal activity on this lever is punishable by time served in prison!

I say to Judge Seldin, anything less than jail/prison is a sever disservice to me, my coworkers, the ASC and this community. Maybe time in a cell will allow Derek to reflect and admit he wronged us all. To this day, it appears to me and my coworkers that Derek feels he did nothing wrong. What “story” will Derek tell that will make this behavior right or acceptable?

John Norman