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Lyons officials not forthcoming in knowledge of trustee threats; further action against restaurateur postponed

LYONS — The Lyons Board of Trustees voted Monday night to postpone a decision on whether to permanently revoke the liquor license belonging to Lyons Den Restaurant and Taphouse until after the Department of Revenue finishes its investigation on behalf of the state.

They also put off discussion concerning proper protocols during virtual meetings after one trustee has been accused of texting inappropriate threats to a business owner during the last meeting in which his business license was eventually revoked.

The town council will now hold another liquor license hearing on Feb.16 after Lyons Den owner Randall Yarbrough agreed to continue the license suspension until then.

“I don’t have a business license, so I can’t operate anyway,” Yarbrough said.

The decision came just days after Complete Colorado broke the news that Trustee Wendy Miller sent Yarbrough a private message threatening to shoot anyone who stepped on her property “In an aggressive manner” in connection with a rally Yarbrough planned at his restaurant, which is across the street from Miller’s home.

Miller also texted Yarbrough, Yarbrough said, during the last regular trustee meeting discussing the revocation of his business license.

“She was texting me during the meeting saying, ‘why don’t you just comply? Isn’t it better to keep your business?’” Yarbrough previously told Complete Colorado. “This is not about Lyons anymore. It is much bigger than the town at this point. I understand the town may not like us. We get hate messages every day. But then again, we get support every day, too.”

Yarbrough said Miller asked him if he realized by not complying, he would not get his license back for years.

Miller recused herself from the discussion and vote on Yarbrough’s liquor license suspension at Monday’s meeting, citing the current circumstances — which appear to be worsening.

After Complete Colorado contacted Miller, Mayor Nicholas Angelo and Town Administrator Victoria Simonsen about the messages, only Simonsen responded, saying our inquiry was the first she had heard of it.

“Thank you for your inquiry,” Simonsen said in an email. “This is the first I have seen this.  I will make the Board of Trustees aware of the issue, and it will be reviewed internally before comment.  Unfortunately, that is not likely to occur prior to your deadline.  Please reach out again following any formal Board of Ethics meeting that may be publicly noticed.  Thank you.”

However, Complete Colorado has since learned that Simonsen was not honest about her prior knowledge of the issue.

On Dec. 14 — three days before Complete Colorado reached out — Lyons town resident Meghan Pritt, sent an email to all the town trustees, the mayor, Simonsen and human resource assistant Benjamin Rodman, expressing her concern about the instant message from Miller, similar concerns against Rodman, and concerns over Simonsen not following protocols correctly, among other issues. Her email included, in part, the same message that Complete Colorado sent on Thursday.

Complete Colorado has again reached out to the Lyons town officials involved about any plans for action but had not heard from anyone at press time.

An item scheduled for discussion examining virtual meeting decorum was postponed until the next meeting. Trustee Hollie Rogin agreed to put off the discussion but urged the board to make sure it was done soon.

“It’s probably best to discuss it before the next contentious meeting which is going to be happening shortly,” Rogin said.

In Pritt’s emails she says Miller and Rodman do not reflect positively on the town, especially given their positions with the town government.

Pritt told Complete Colorado the behavior of people that should be held to higher standards is appalling and inexcusable. She fears based on conversations with the mayor that won’t happen, she said.

“We need to hold people accountable for their action and take whatever corrective measure should be taken,” Pritt said. “But per my conversation with the mayor about what kind of corrective measures would be taken, he said no more action will be taken. That is unacceptable. It is misconduct, unethical stuff and it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Town people are collaborating stories and confirming things to me. It just gets deeper and deeper. The things I’m seeing happening in my area is astounding.”

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