Chris Jacobson recalled from Snowmass Village Town Council
Chris Jacobson is no longer a councilman in Snowmass Village.
In a landslide, 623 of 682 Snowmass Village residents who cast ballots voted to recall the embattled elected official in the town’s first-ever recall election, according to unofficial results announced Oct. 13. With 341 votes, Tom Goode was elected to fill Jacobson’s seat and will be sworn in Oct. 19 at the council’s next meeting.
“I feel great,” said Goode at Town Hall when the results were announced. “It’s something I wanted and something I was looking forward to. I’m looking forward to adding my personality to the council.”
Both Goode and fellow candidate Jamie Knowlton, who took in 257 votes, said the village’s desires were clear in the recall election.
“I love skiing here, I love coming home here, I love living here,” Goode said. “I want to help it to be what I think it should be.”
Jacobson, who faces criminal charges stemming from a June 26 drunk-driving arrest and who hasn’t attended the Town Council’s past eight sessions, responded to an email from The Aspen Times on Oct. 13 but didn’t answer questions regarding the recall, instead focusing his comments on criticism of the paper’s reporting.
Longtime resident Ray Greiser voted early on in the mail-only election. While he supported the recall effort before it even launched, he said for other residents, Jacobson’s lack of attendance at council meetings was their reason for voting him out.
“I think now that the tide turned completely against him mainly because of that,” Greiser said.
Greiser said he agrees with Jacobson’s stance on some local issues, saying that the ex-councilman might have been on to something when saying he felt uncomfortable with a council trip to Beaver Creek in July that was led by developer Harry Frampton and also attended by local representatives of Related Cos., which just last week announced it had entered an agreement to sell Base Village to Frampton’s East West Partners.
“Obviously the guy has some good points, but he just went overboard,” Greiser said. “I hope he’s getting some help (and) that’s why he’s been missing all these meetings and not responding as to where he’s at.”
Another longtime resident, Don Jewkes, also supports Jacobson’s position on some things and voted to keep him in office. Jewkes believed the recall was a “vendetta” on the part of former Councilman Fred Kucker, who along with another former elected official, Jim Hooker, launched the recall effort this summer.
That would stem from last fall when Jacobson brought attention to alleged ex parte communication on the part of Kucker and Mayor Markey Butler while the council was deliberating an application from Related to extend its Base Village vesting rights, which it ultimately approved. Shortly after, resident Richard Goodwin, who also ran as a candidate to replace Jacobson, filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the approval because of misconduct by the council. A judge denied Goodwin’s allegations against the mayor, but depositions regarding Kucker’s conduct are still pending.
“I think what they’re doing is they’re just trying to get him,” Jewkes said. “Unfortunately, what the guy did was he got his butt in trouble.”
In addition to driving under the influence, Jacobson also faces felony criminal mischief charges for $15,000 in damages he allegedly caused to his Pitkin County Jail cell the night of his arrest. Council members are required to leave office if convicted of a felony, according to the town charter, and Jewkes believes citizens should have allowed the case to play out in court.
“He hasn’t been found guilty of anything, he hasn’t been convicted of anything,” Jewkes said. “I think he’s been tried in the papers, the media … everywhere, all through town they were going door to door looking for signatures.”
Jacobson hasn’t told anyone on Town Council or any town staff members where he is or why he has stopped attending council meetings. He hasn’t responded to press inquiries about his absence, although last week he emailed The Aspen Times after Related announced the sale of Base Village.
“I know he hasn’t showed up for the meetings but that didn’t change the way I feel about it from the beginning,” Jewkes said. “We don’t know the whole story yet.”
Snowmass Village retailers combined to generate $2.2 million in revenue in July, which translated to $247,891 in sales tax collections for the town’s general fund, according to the latest tax report available.