Colorado Springs — The victim of a fender-bender collision is accusing Richard Skorman, President of the Colorado Springs City Council, of intimidation and unethical behavior for his intervention in a minor traffic accident. Skorman denies the accusations but not his involvement.
His intervention appears to relate to a relationship with a woman involved in the accident.
Around 3 p.m. on March 21, Madalyne Mykut rear-ended Colorado Springs resident Barb Sutherland.
Following the crash, Mykut seemed desperate to avoid police involvement according to Mrs. Sutherland, who said Mykut offered her $100 not to call police and to let her leave. Mykut said she would go to jail if the accident was reported.
Mrs. Sutherland told Mykut “You can do whatever you want. If you feel you need to leave, then leave.” Mrs. Sutherland says that Mykut responded, “I can’t do that, that would be leaving the scene of a crime.”
Skorman arrived on scene about 6 p.m.
Following a lengthy delay caused by a dispatching error, police arrived around 7:30 p.m.
In a written statement to Complete Colorado, Skorman said, “I received a text on the day of the accident around 3:30 p.m. from the lady who rear-ended Ms. Sutherland’s car. The lady who texted me cleans my home, and was concerned that she would not be able to arrive at my home to clean due to the accident.”
Mrs. Sutherland says that Skorman introduced himself as the president of the city council and that he would vouch for Mykut.
Skorman denies Mrs. Sutherland’s claim, “I did not identify myself at this time as a member of our City Council.” Later he said “I gave her my business card and reiterated that I could verify the lady’s identification.”
Mrs. Sutherland refused to agree, telling Skorman that because Mykut could not produce a driver’s license or any other form of identification, she could not agree to anything. Mrs. Sutherland said, “I told him that she could do whatever she wanted, but I wouldn’t agree to just exchange information because she didn’t have any identification.”
Mrs. Sutherland says Skorman persisted in demanding Sutherland agree to let Mykut leave.
Skorman started out at a reasonable conversational distance says Mrs. Sutherland, but as time passed he moved closer, and his tone became more intimidating as he repeatedly said “Don’t you know who I am? I’m the president of the city council.”
“He kept saying it over and over and over,” said Mrs. Sutherland, “I was angry that he was in my face over a traffic accident that he had nothing to do with. I was just appalled at his behavior because I knew full well when he pulled up who he was, just from being in the community. I could definitely tell he was sending me a message. It was intimidating.”
Mrs. Sutherland also says Skorman berated her repeatedly, accusing her of causing the accident by jamming on her brakes and saying that she didn’t care about children because Mykut had a child waiting at home.
Skorman denies Mrs. Sutherland’s characterization of the incident. “I certainly did not use my position with the City to threaten her; as stated earlier, I only identified myself and my position so that she might think my verification of the lady’s identity was trustworthy,” he said.
“Ms. Sutherland also, for the first time, said that there appeared to be a discrepancy between the lady’s registration and insurance information,” said Skorman, “I told Ms. Sutherland that I didn’t know that (which I didn’t), and that I understood. I then told her I was sorry and left.”
“The entire discussion may have lasted 3 to 5 minutes. I made no threats and said nothing in a threatening manner,” Skorman added in his defense.
Mrs. Sutherland’s husband William, who came to the scene after Mrs. Sutherland called him, says the discussion went on closer to 30 minutes as Skorman became increasingly agitated.
Mr. Sutherland said, “He started to talk to me and asked basically why we had the girl here that long. I said, well, we have a problem, she doesn’t have any ID at all.” He said Skorman told him at the scene that Mykut’s license “was taken by the courts in California.”
Skorman denies Mr. Sutherland’s statement.“Ms. Sutherland and I never discussed that the lady’s driver’s license had been revoked, and in fact, I thought her license/I.D. had been left at her home. I did not discover the fact that her license had been revoked until later, well after my discussion with Ms. Sutherland.”
Fox 21 News reporter Sarah Ferguson, in a Mar. 23 broadcast about the incident, said, “Skorman also claimed that he had no idea the other woman’s license had been revoked in California, just thought she had left it at home that day.”
Mr. Sutherland backs up his wife allegations that Skorman was trying to intimidate, “At first he wasn’t aggressive, I felt that he was just trying to use his position. Then as it went on I could see that he was getting a little agitated,”
Mr. Sutherland added that when Mrs. Sutherland didn’t do as Skorman wished, the intimidation escalated, “I didn’t feel that he was going to attack my wife in any way physically, but he was definitely starting to move a little bit toward her. He would lower his voice a little bit. When he made the remark about ‘you don’t care about children’ he was trying to make that under his breath so I couldn’t hear it.”
“He kept pushing the fact that ‘I’m a city council member, why don’t you let her go,’ putting this all on us, like we caused this whole situation, we’re doing this stuff, he’s city council member, we should know who she is, I can vouch for her,” Mr. Sutherland continued, “I thought he was somewhat aggressive.”
Mrs. Sutherland says she warned Skorman several times that the police told her to call them if anyone became aggressive. “My wife did have to ask him several times to leave,” said Mr. Sutherland. Skorman eventually left the scene.
Why Skorman came to the scene is a story all its own. He told Fox 21 News that Mykut is a “family friend” who works in Skorman’s home, and in his written statement to Complete Colorado he said, “The lady who texted me cleans my home.”
The relationship between Skorman and Mykut appears more complex than that.
In 2011, when Skorman was running for Mayor of Colorado Springs, he faced “deadbeat dad” allegations. Colorado Springs Gazette reporter Daniel Chacón debunked the rumors in an April 18 article that year. Chacón wrote, “Skorman said he believed he was the father of a young woman whose mother he dated in the early 1980s, before he married his wife, Patricia Seator.”
Madalyne Mykut, who is now 38, is that young woman.
Chacón reported that Skorman became quite attached to Mykut when she was a child and was a surrogate father to her until he and Mykut’s mother, Elizabeth, separated. He lost touch with her until Elizabeth contacted him around 1994. A DNA test revealed he is not Mykut’s biological father. “’I was actually kind of heartbroken at the time,’ said Skorman, who said he spent about a year getting to know the young woman, who is now in her 30s,” wrote Chacón. Elizabeth Mykut passed away in 2014.
A search of court records shows Mykut having 12 different traffic cases go to court in El Paso County Court going back as far as 2000 and she has been repeatedly cited and convicted for driving while under restraint as well as driving while under the influence, careless driving and leaving the scene of an accident.
Mykut is currently facing trial in county court on numerous traffic-related charges and has a pre-trial conference hearing before a judge on Thursday, April 18. She also faces other court reviews extending out as far as Jan. 4, 2022 on a deferred sentence for careless driving from Nov. 2016.
The Sutherlands are concerned that Skorman’s actions are unworthy of a public official. Mrs. Sutherland said in the Mar. 23 Fox 21 News report, “His behavior is not in the best interest of the citizens of Colorado Springs…I want him investigated and held accountable for his actions.” She continues examining her options for filing formal complaints.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated.