GREELEY – Weld County Clerk and Recorder Carly Koppes is growing more frustrated each day with the information coming out of her office – information that comes from everyone but her, she said.
“This is the first interview I’ve done,” Koppes told Complete Colorado. “I have not been contacted by anyone, and there is no excuse not to contact me. Everyone has my work phone, my cell phone, my email address. I don’t even get a chance to say, ‘Time out, that doesn’t even make sense guys.’”
Koppes said not only has she not been given the opportunity to talk about the alleged issues being reported to the public, but those reports continue to point the finger at Koppes as the root of problems among Weld County Commissioners. She said that idea is preposterous.
She said her silence hasn’t been for lack of trying. Koppes said she has emailed and sent information multiple times rebutting the allegations against her to The Tribune – Greeley’s daily newspaper – but since the original report in October, they have never called her to defend the claims made by several commissioners.
The four commissioners, Barbara Kirkmeyer, Julie Cozad, Mike Freeman, and Steve Moreno, who have been under scrutiny from the public for a series of unethical and borderline illegal activities, did not return requests for comments from Complete Colorado. A fifth commissioner, Sean Conway, blew the whistle on the other four’s activities last year. Since then, they have retaliated against Conway by striping him of his duties as an elected official. Complete Colorado broke the news that Conway is suing the county and the commissioners for the retaliation in an exclusive interview.
Koppes has made several formal presentations to the Weld commissioners and the Weld County Council, debunking the information about her office. She has worked out alleged problems with auto dealers that initially complained about the time it took to send the title work for new cars to the bank, and she has met with the Department of Revenue, Title and Registration section, which didn’t show problems in her office.
Koppes only wants to respond to the allegations against her publicly.
- Commissioner Kirkmeyer told The Tribune that Koppes used a county room against county policy.
“The issue was this, Commissioner (Sean) Conway and Carly Koppes allowed the Republican Executive Committee, a private organization that they belong to, to use our conference rooms when they were told, ‘No,’” Kirkmeyer told The Tribune.
However, Koppes said that was simply not true. She was not informed of the decision until the night of the meeting, after people were already there. She said she booked the room for the very same group that Kirkmeyer booked it for in 2015, so she did not think it would be a problem. An ordinance not to allow private use came up after the incident.
- Commissioner Moreno told The Tribune that Koppes’ uncle-by-marriage, Commissioner Sean Conway, alleged to be representing the entire board and skewed the number of employees leaving various departments to protect Koppes.
“Sean gave the exact same numbers (that had already been) reported; he just broke it down further, instead of handing it over and letting everyone figure them out on their own,” Koppes said. “I don’t understand what Steve’s issue is with that.”
Koppes said she believes the issues with Moreno, the former Clerk and Recorder, are personal. Moreno did not endorse Koppes for office when she ran in 2014.
“I have tried to have meetings with him, and he won’t meet with me,” Koppes said.
- All the commissioners except Conway vetoed Koppes or any of her employees from attending a controversial Emergency Operations Center (EOC) training exercise in Breckenridge. According to a report in The Tribune, Kirkmeyer said: “It’s appropriate for the sheriff to go. It’s appropriate for the assessor to go, for county commissioners to go because we all have roles working in or with the EOC. The clerk and recorder has no role in EOC, before during or after an emergency. So we (said) no.”
Again, Koppes disagrees. Questioning who would be called if a disaster hit on an election day.
“She is very naïve to think I’m am not involved with EOC,” Koppes said. “I am the recording department, keeper of all property records that feeds the treasurer and assessor. If it’s OK for them, if I’m not involved, and I’m not feeding them the info, how are they going to have accurate information?”
Koppes pointed to both the 2008 tornado and the 2013 flood as examples. The tornado hit before the August primary. The homes damaged weren’t a quick fix, and the Clerk’s office had to work with FEMA to track people down.
“It also took out a voting location that we used,” she said. “In the 2013 flood one of the most devastated areas hit was manufactured homes, and again it was in September, just before the election. Ballots go out in October. So I may not be in the first response, but I’m part of the immediate after and the prolonged response. We were still dealing with manufactured home titles until last year.”
Koppes clarified she never asked to participate, but it was her understanding all the other elected officials were invited, so she questioned why not the clerk and recorder.
As for her relationship to Conway, Koppes said that has never been hidden. And it was never an issue until now. She said she’s tired of Commissioners Kirkmeyer, Moreno, Cozad and Freeman using her as a scapegoat to distract from their own problems.
“I find it funny, all of a sudden it’s an issue,” Koppes said. In 2014, Mike Freeman endorsed me. He threw a campaign event for me in Ault. And Julie Cozad supported me. They supported me then and were all fully aware Sean was my uncle. I am their equal. At the end of the day, really the only time they should interact with me is budget time. Other than that, they don’t have oversight of my office. I’m not over there getting into their business.
“How about you just let me do what I’m supposed to do as clerk and recorder. I answer to the public not to them. Let me do my job. And vice versa. I’m tired of them dragging me into this. They need to explain their actions and answer the public concerns. Stop diverting the attention away from themselves. All I want to do is go to my office and be the best clerk and recorder I can be.”