Colorado Springs, Exclusives, Featured, Original Report, Scott Weiser

Scandal erupts at Monument town hall

MONUMENT — Allegations of corruption involving Monument Trustee and mayoral candidate Jeffery Bornstein emerged this week. A Nov. 24 memorandum from Town Manager Chris Lowe to Town Attorney Alicia Corley charged Bornstein with “illegal or unethical behavior.” Emails and texts show Bornstein cultivating a social relationship with and offering gifts to Lowe in pursuit of a job as code enforcement officer.

Documents obtained by Complete Colorado reveal Bornstein pressuring Lowe to hire him to enforce town code, the same code that bars elected officials from working for or contracting with the town for at least six months after leaving office.

The text messages below are sometimes incomplete and parts of exchanges were not provided. All messages quoted are transcribed verbatim including spelling errors.

On March 2, 2017, Bornstein texts Lowe asking, “Will there be an open position for code enforcement? If I were not a board member would I be a potential candidate?

Twelve days later, on March 14, they arrange lunch together. Bornstein texts, “Perfect I’ll be there 10 to noon see ya then.” Lowe responds later, “Thanks for lunch…I thoroughly enjoy our time together.

Two days later on March 16, they meet again for lunch. Bornstein offers Lowe a gift of liquor in an email, “See you at 1145 don’t do anything promise me…well get this worked out. If you need some scotch tell me your address I’ll drop some bye right now.

A week later, on March 23, this exchange occurs:

Bornstein: “When are you going to post the open position?

Lowe: “What open position? Gary’s?” (“Gary” is former Town Attorney Gary Shupp)

Lowe: “Or permit tech?

Bornstein: “No/yes

Lowe: “Got it. Will let you know, will ask Robert where he is on that.” (“Robert” is Robert Bishop, Assistant to the Town Manager)

Bornstein: “K I’ll discuss more w you at lunch.

A week later on March 30, Bornstein texts, “Just curious this position is out of the realm of board – does the TM not have the empowerment to hire whom ever they choose with or without posting?

Lowe responds, “Politically I think it has to be posted, but ultimately, you are correct, I am the person who employs those folks, just as I have, by ordinance the task to have supervisory authority over all employees elected and appoint.

Bornstein: “We’re on the same page…

Bornstein: “Hope all is well – hey I want that open position very badly – I have great ideas and could exceed beyond any expectations – you could put me in training for the permit side which I could pick up mega quick. I’m reaching out asking for your help…

Lowe: “With your permission I will reach out to cirsa and or cml about whether you’d have to step down to interview. I will just pose it as a hypothetical. Is that okay? Meanwhile, send me your resume from your personal email to c*****owe@****

Bornstein: “Got it – I would think that I would only have to resign if offered the position…Thanks a bunch I’ll get you my resume (:

Lowe: “Like I said, I want a third party opinion to cover us both before we get down that path. I know you’d do well…

Lowe’s third-party opinion likely means the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency (CIRCA), the insurance cooperative that covers local governments and the Colorado Municipal League (CML), which provides advice and services to municipalities.

Four days later, on April 3, Bornstein texts Lowe and offers another gift, “Good meeting w you. See ya in a little…Hey question do your boys like kites? I got a custom one if they would share it?

Bornstein: “I think you did a great job tonight !!! Let me know if there’s anything you need – interesting the feel at the meeting w X missing ??? You got my support..

Bornstein: “I’m really glad to call you my friend and will do whatever to support you 100%.

The next day, on April 4, Bornstein texts, “Ill be sending my doc to you today for review – between us leaders I want it very badly.

Four days later, on April 10, Bornstein texts, “Do you plan on posting position soon?

Lowe: “Yes, pretty soon.

Bornstein: “Ok

Lowe: “We’re trying to see how best to organize, so once we finalize that, we’d be ready to move.

Bornstein makes reference to Lowe’s wife four days later in an April 14 text.

Bornstein: “It was a true pleasure meeting your wife – have a happy Easter and feel better!!

Bornstein: “You got it _ now if we can get that posted next week and close things out hopefully life can be good – have fun w the family (:

Lowe: “I will get it moving.

Two days later, on April 16, Bornstein texts Lowe and offers him yet another gift.

Bornstein: “Hey brother I know you were looking at my smoker and I’m not going to need it so I would like you to have it n:c – let me know (:

The next day, on April 17, Lowe emails Bornstein saying: “Job should be posted tomorrow at latest.

Bornstein repeats his offer of the smoker, “Great – question would you like the smoker?

Later on April 17, Bornstein again texts Lowe, “Sorry to bother you but I do need to know if you’d like the smoker grill – it’s free..

He sends a subsequent message, “Text a 1 if bishop wants smoker? A 2 if he does not – thanks

Lowe responds, “1

Five weeks later on May 25 Bornstein texts Lowe, “Do I have any chance at all w what we discussed a month ago

Lowe: “Re the code job?

Bornstein: “Si?

Lowe: “I don’t have any idea. Directors are responsible for interviewing and selecting candidates. They only come to me when they have made a hiring decision…

Bornstein: “I have no comment –

Bornstein: “And should of know better!!!

Lowe responds: “I don’t know what that means, but I have purposely avoided any involvement at all because I don’t want to damage our manager trustee relationship and personal friendship. Hopefully you feel the same.

In the Nov. 24 memorandum to Corley, Lowe claims Bornstein began “retaliatory action towards the Town staff and the Town Manager” after being denied the job.

Susie Ellis currently holds the position of Code Enforcement Officer.

In the memo, Lowe claims he and Bornstein had breakfast at the Monument Village Inn four days earlier on Nov. 20. Lowe writes that at breakfast Bornstein “lobbied me to set police officer salaries and benefits at an amount more than was presently budgeted,” which was “about $3,000” above local law enforcement wages.

Lowe says Bornstein pushed the pay raise to improve his chances of being elected Mayor in April 2018. Lowe writes, “He then threatened to have me removed from my position if I did not support what he was proposing for the police department.”

Lowe claims Bornstein also prodded him to order clothing and personal protective equipment for town employees from a company Bornstein had recently started working for.

“It was clear to me that Trustee Bornstein wished to force me to purchase items for the Town from him,” Lowe claims in the memorandum. “He made several statements that he would ‘protect’ me if I would make these purchases.”

After an executive session that was closed to the public a month later on Feb. 5, Bornstein and the rest of the Trustees voted unanimously to place Lowe and Chief of Police Jacob Shirk on paid administrative leave pending an investigation for as-yet undisclosed reasons. The Board on Feb. 15 extended Lowe’s administrative leave until further notice.

Shirk also remains on administrative leave.

Bornstein declined to comment on Lowe’s accusations when contacted Feb. 16.

Calls to Lowe and Shirk were unsuccessful as of press time.

Memorandum Page 1
Memorandum Page 2

Correction: A statement suggesting that Bornstein met Lowe’s wife at Bornstein’s home has been removed.


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