Zansberg: Denver city attorney lied, violated open-records law

From CBS4 (Denver):  The Denver City Attorney’s Office apparently violated state open records law, which states knowingly withholding records is a misdemeanor, when officials either withheld or destroyed a critical document and said it did not exist. CBS4 has now obtained the document which city officials claimed was non-existent.

The newest controversy emerges from the case of Stuart Shapiro, a senior Denver city attorney who was placed on paid leave due to allegations of misconduct in the Jamal Hunter case. The city paid Hunter $3.25 million in connection with injuries he received at the Denver city jail. Shapiro, the assistant city attorney assigned to the case, was placed on leave when the settlement was announced in July 2014.

Just over a year later, Denver City Attorney Scott Martinez sent Shapiro a 14-page letter dated August 11, 2015 terminating him citing “extremely poor judgment” in the Hunter case. After CBS4 reported on the termination, reliable sources said the city attorney reversed course and rescinded the termination within days. But when CBS4 asked for that letter in August 2015, city attorney officials claimed the document did not exist.

Nicole Holmlund, Director of Administration for the City Attorney, wrote,”There was no letter or memo or any documentation provided to Stuart Shapiro in August 2015 rescinding his termination, and thus there are no documents responsive to your request.”

The letter rescinding the termination- which the city attorney said did not exist- was obtained by CBS4 this week. Dated August 24, 2015, it was sent to Shapiro at his home address and says the previous termination notice “is hereby rescinded. Until further notice you will remain on paid administrative leave.”

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