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A retired Colorado Supreme Court justice joined dozens of other former judges from across the nation to demand that federal immigration enforcement officers stop arresting immigrants at courthouses.

Michael Bender, former chief justice of the Colorado Supreme Court

Former Chief Justice Michael Bender joined 67 other former judges from 23 states in the letter published Wednesday that said the courthouse arrests were making immigrants afraid to testify in criminal procedures and disrupting the judicial system.

“Together, we have presided over thousands of cases in trial and appellate courts,” according to the letter. “We know that judges simply cannot do their jobs — and our justice system cannot function effectively – if victims, defendants, witnesses and family members do not feel secure in accessing the courthouse.”

The letter specifically cites when Denver City Attorney Kristin Bronson dropped the prosecution of several domestic violence cases in 2017 because the victims, who were immigrants, refused to testify because they feared running into officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in court.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and more than a dozen high-ranking city officials sent a letter last year to the ICE office in Centennial criticizing immigration officers’ actions after they made arrests at the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse and near a high school. The next month ICE officers arrested another man at the courthouse.

ICE agents have arrested immigrants appearing in court to dispute a traffic ticket, those who are victims of a crime and parents in family court. The courthouse arrests dissuade immigrants from appearing in court, even if it’s for their own protection, according to the letter. The arrests have also caused courthouse fights and makes it difficult for court employees to work.

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ICE officials rewrote policy concerning courthouse arrests in January, but the judges don’t believe it went far enough.

The new policy bars officers from arresting immigrants visiting the courthouse as family members or witnesses in many cases, but not all. The judges said such “fine-line distinctions” will not be enough to calm immigrants’ fears and called for a complete ban on arrests in courts, like the policy that forbids the agency from conducting law enforcement activities in churches, schools and hospitals.

“Following nearly two years of high-profile ICE courthouse activity, only unequivocal guarantees and protections will restore the public’s confidence that it can safely pursue justice in our nation’s courts,” the letter states.

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Woodland Police Department
Kelsey Berreth

The fiancé of a missing Woodland Park woman has cooperated with investigators searching for her by providing his phone and completing multiple interviews with law enforcement, according to the man’s attorney.

Patrick Frazee has also provided mouth swabs for DNA analysis and photographs, his attorney Jeremy Loew wrote in a statement.

Kelsey Berreth was last seen in a Safeway grocery store in the small mountain town on Thanksgiving. Berreth texted her employer, Pueblo-based Doss Aviation, on Nov. 25 to say she wouldn’t be at work the following week, Woodland Park police Chief Miles De Young said at a news conference Monday. She texted Frazee that day as well, the chief said.

Berreth’s phone pinged a cell tower near Gooding, Idaho, on Nov. 25, but nobody has heard from her since, De Young said. Berreth’s mom reported her missing on Dec. 2.

Frazee last saw Berreth on Thanksgiving when he picked up the young daughter they share.

“Mr. Frazee hopes and prays for Ms. Berreth’s return,” Loew wrote. “Mr. Frazee will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and continue to parent the child he shares with Ms. Berreth.”

Frazee did not attend the news conference because he was only told about it an hour before, Loew said.

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“Had he been given more advance notice, he would have participated,” Loew wrote.

Investigators have searched Berreth’s home and work, and have no suspects in what they call a missing persons case. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the FBI are assisting with the search.

Anyone with information about Berreth is asked to call Woodland Park police at 719-687-9262.

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Eye-opening allegations have thrown plans into chaos for the expansion of the Colorado Convention Center and put other major construction projects in the spotlight, too.

On Tuesday afternoon, city officials sent a highly unusual press release, declaring significant problems in the development process for the $233 million project and calling out two development companies by name. On the same day, the city asked the Denver District Attorney’s Office to look into the question.

The city has terminated its contract for the project with Trammell Crow, which was managing the convention construction, and Denver announced that it would take a closer look at Mortenson, a general contractor that was competing to build the project.

Now, legal experts say that a criminal investigation could follow, and the fallout is spreading. Meanwhile, letters from the city’s Department of Public Works give more detail to the allegations.

City officials alleged that Trammell Crow “attempted to eliminate a bidder,” “improperly released City documents” and “altered plans without the City’s knowledge,” in a letter signed by Eulois Cleckley, director of the Department of Public Works. The Denver Post received the letter — addressed to a top Trammell Crow official — and others in response to a records request.

The newly released documents also show a more distinct connection to Mortenson. The city mentioned the company in Tuesday’s press release but didn’t specify its alleged involvement. In a separate letter, though, Cleckley said the company “has been implicated in violations of the City’s requirements with regard to the integrity of its bidding process for the RFP and the Request for Qualifications that preceded it.”

Trammell Crow and Mortenson have each launched internal investigations and promised to cooperate with the city, according to written statements from the companies.

Denver voters approved partial funding for the convention center in 2015. The plan is to add 250,000 square feet atop the Champa Street side of the center, plus technology upgrades and lobby renovations of the existing building. The initial price estimate was $104 million, but that number has since grown to $233 million. The budget gap will be funded in part by a new tax on hotel stays.

The project was in the bidding phase, meaning that companies had submitted proposals in a competition to win the right to work on the project. City officials were preparing to interview a “short list” of three companies — Mortenson, Hensel Phelps and PCL Construction Services. The city also sent letters to the latter two companies announcing that the bidding process was cancelled, but it made no allegations against them.

Construction was to begin late in 2019. The city hasn’t announced a new timeline.

“With the reopening of the bid process, the city will work to minimize any delays and pursue all available legal remedies to recover damages,” wrote public works spokesperson Nancy Kuhn in an email.

Trammell Crow, based in Dallas, has worked in Denver for 50 years, claiming $2 billion in Denver metro projects over the last decade. Mortenson, headquartered in Minneapolis, emphasizes its expertise in “virtual design and construction,” a specialty that it used on the sharp angles of the Denver Art Museum.

Mortenson and Trammell Crow have partnered previously on major projects in Colorado:

  • The Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center was developed by Trammell Crow with Mortenson as a major contractor.
  • Trammell Crow is the developer and Mortenson the general contractor for the $196 million redevelopment of the Denver Water headquarters.

The Denver Water project is still under way.  “We do not know what, if any, impact they will have on our project,” wrote Denver Water spokesperson Travis Thompson in an email. “We are gathering facts and determining our next steps.”

In a statement Tuesday, Bill Mosher, Trammell Crow’s top representative in Denver, said that the alleged actions were “in no way” authorized by the company and “are contrary to the firm’s values and longstanding business practices.”

The scandal already has delivered significant consequences, and they’re likely to keep coming. Trammell Crow’s now-canceled contract was worth about $9 million; it wasn’t immediately clear how much of that sum the company will collect.

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The city also is re-examining Mortenson’s pre-qualification status for bidding on city contracts. The company recently completed three other contracts with Denver Public Works, and it still holds an on-call contract with that department.

The City Attorney’s Office handled the initial investigation. City officials then referred the matter to the Denver District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday, according to the DA’s office.

That referral could lead to a criminal investigation, according to Jason Schall, a local defense attorney and former federal prosecutor.

“For it to start in the civil City Attorney’s Office … suggests a violation of a nondisclosure agreement, something like that,” he said.

“But clearly that entity, the City Attorney’s Office, had something that bothered them, potentially something that would be criminal, that they would send across the street to the DA’s office. The DA’s office has more resources to investigate — principally the grand jury.”

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Skiers and snowboarders are rejoicing in abundant early snowfall, helping Colorado resorts get off to an exceptional start to the season after struggling through the Christmas holidays last year.

In the northern mountains, the snow came early in November and kept falling, with accumulations well above average. Since Thanksgiving the central mountains have done well and the southern mountains have received “decent” snow, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

Winter Park has received 90 inches as compared to 52 inches at this point last year and a 10-year average of 71 inches. Currently the resort is offering 1,309 acres of skiable terrain as compared to 107 acres at this time last year. Winter Park spokesman Steve Hurlbert did not divulge specific skier visit numbers, but said the number is double what it was at this time last year.

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“At the end of the season last year, we finished about average, but it came late so it felt like we were always trying to catch up because we got that slow start,” Hurlbert said. “When you start strong like we have this year, it makes a world of difference. I feel a little bit like Mother Nature owed us after the last two starts that we got, and she’s definitely delivering this year because it has been great.”

Breckenridge offered more terrain and snow at Thanksgiving this year than it did at Christmas last year. Sara Lococo, senior communications manager at Breckenridge, said the amount of skiable terrain and snow there and at the other Front Range mountains owned by Vail Resorts — Keystone, Vail and Beaver Creek — is comparable to what was offered in mid-January last year.

Breckenridge stands out, having received more than 11 feet of snow.

“Things at Breckenridge are awesome right now,” Lococo said. “We’ve had a bit of a record-breaking season so far with earliest openings ever for the Imperial Express Chair, the highest chair in North America, and we just opened Peak 6 on Friday, which was the earliest opening since that terrain first opened in 2013.”

Vail has the most open terrain in North America at more than 5,000 acres. The famed Back Bowls were open for Thanksgiving weekend, one of the earliest openings for that terrain in the last decade.

“There’s definitely an energy you can feel in all of our mountain towns right now, how excited everybody is with the snow and the number of powder days already, and we haven’t even hit Christmas yet,” Lococo said. “There’s definitely a lot of happy skiers and snowboarders out there.”

At this time a year ago, Copper Mountain had 225 acres and eight lifts open, serving 19 trails. This week it stood at 1,093 acres with 15 lifts serving 90 trails. Copper Mountain doesn’t divulge year-to-date snow totals, but spokeswoman Taylor Prather said November snowfall was 58 inches this year and 20 inches last year.

“This is the earliest year we’ve been able to offer skiing out of all three villages on opening day,” Prather said. “We’ve never been able to do that before. Aside from that, we’ve already opened terrain off of the Alpine lift and in Spaulding Bowl, which is huge. It’s a great start to the season. We’re definitely excited, and we hope the momentum continues.”

In southwest Colorado, Telluride has received 84 inches of snow, which is slightly above average, and is operating 10 of its 17 lifts. This weekend it will open the Prospect and Gold Hill lifts, which didn’t open until late January last year.

Jim Kalina, a forecaster for the National Weather Service in Boulder, said the season began with a persistent flow of moist air from the northwest that is typically a favorable pattern for the mountains to get snow.

“The pattern has kind of changed a little bit,” Kalina said. “We’re now in a more progressive pattern, where an upper-level trough (low pressure) moves across, followed by a ridge (high pressure) and a trough. It’s probably not as favorable for the mountains to get snow. They’ll still get some, but not as much as they’ve seen.”

The difference, Kalina said, is that the early storms lasted three or four days. Going forward, he expects a repeating pattern that will see a day of snow followed by a couple days without. It still adds up to great skiing and big Christmas holiday business for Colorado resorts.

“This is the best start to the season we’ve had in at least five or six years,” said Winter Park resident Joan Christensen. “Thanksgiving weekend conditions were like midwinter.”

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Perhaps the best thing about living in the future here in 2018 America is all of our made-up words.

Just in the realm of baking, we’ve conjured the terms procrastibaking, holibaking and distractibaking. Since we, too, love to give things ridiculous names, we thought we’d add one more to the culinary lexicon: Intimibaking.

Intimibaking is the feat of baking something that seems absolutely impossible, something that should probably be left to the pros. Think soufflés, croquembouche and Baked Alaska. But maybe you’re feeling ambitious. Maybe you’re on top of the world and no meringue is going to stop you. Maybe you’re thoroughly defeated and you need to tackle cream puffs to get your groove back. Enter the intimibake.

Wanting to feel like I accomplished something more than just hitting “Add to Cart” on Amazon this holiday season and curious whether my amateur baking skills could stand up to a true intimibake, I joined Jodi Polson, pastry chef at Beast + Bottle and Coperta, for a Buche de Noel-making session.

The Buche de Noel (or yule log; no need for the title to be intimidating, too) might be the perfect seasonal intimibake. The yule log is a traditional European dessert, a cakey representation of an actual log that you’d put on a fire to burn for warmth. Burning that last big log was a way of saying goodbye to winter, and then, somewhere down the line, the yule log got turned into a cake and became associated with Christmas. As these things do.

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With everything that goes into creating the yule log, it definitely fits the intimibake bill. The rolling of the cake, the glossy ganache, the little cake that literally stands up on top of the main cake — it seems like there’s much that could go wrong.

“It’s one of these things where you can make it more complicated if you want to, or keep it simple,” said Jodi Polson, pastry chef at Beast + Bottle and Coperta.

“Simple” is relative. Regardless of how elaborately you decorate your yule log, there are still a lot of steps to get it made, filled, rolled and frosted. Polson shared her recipe and walked us through it, and while it definitely takes some time and effort, it’s doable. (If you don’t want to spend the time and effort because, you know, it’s December, you can order one of Polson’s from Coperta for $69.)

To break it up, you can make the cake a day ahead, and to make it even more festive, try adding crushed candy canes to the buttercream filling. Go intimibake crazy!

AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post
Buche de noel at Coperta on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2018. Buche de Noel (Yule Log), Jodi Polson, pastry chef Beast + Bottle, Coperta

Serves 10-12

For the Chocolate Sponge Cake

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • ½ tsp + ½ tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup + 1/3 cup sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together the cocoa powder and all-purpose flour.

Combine the chocolate, oil and vanilla and melt over a double boiler. (You can also microwave gradually at low heat.)

Using a stand mixer’s whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until frothy, then slowly pour in the first addition of sugar and salt (not all at once or it will clump); whip until stiff peaks form.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks and second addition of sugar and salt until thick and pale; this should take a couple minutes. Beat the melted chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture.

Gently fold the meringue into the chocolate mixture in thirds. By the last third, it should be almost, but not completely, incorporated.
Fold the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture in thirds. Don’t overmix, as we don’t want to lose the air.

In a half sheet pan, grease the bottom, line with a sheet of parchment paper and grease paper. Spread the cake batter evenly into pan, touching it as little as possible. Bake cake 10-12 minutes until it’s springy in the middle. Note: The rolled cake needs at least four hours in the fridge before decorating, so plan ahead! For rolling instructions, see ‘Assembly.’

AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post
Buche de noel at Coperta on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2018.

For the Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 1/8 cup sugar
  • 8 oz butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions:
Combine the egg whites and sugar over a double boiler and cook, whisking occasionally until the sugar has completely dissolved. This will take about 20 minutes or so.

Pour the mixture into a mixer and whip until thick and cool to the touch. You want it to double in volume, about 10 minutes.
Add butter a few tablespoons at a time, while still whipping, until all the butter has been incorporated. It should be fluffy and look like whipped cream.

Stir in the vanilla and mix on low to smooth out buttercream, about 5 minutes.

AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post
Buche de noel at Coperta on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2018.

For the Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:

1 lb dark chocolate (Polson uses 72%; you can use chips, discs or a chopped bar)
1 pint heavy cream

Directions:
Place dark chocolate in a large bowl. Heat cream over medium heat until just about boiling.
Pour cream over chocolate, stirring a bit, and let sit 5 minutes.
Stir the mixture with a rubber spatula until completely smooth and incorporated. Stir from the middle. It may look like it won’t come together, but it will!
Use immediately if pouring, or let sit until slightly cool but spreadable.

AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post
Buche de noel at Coperta on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2018.

Assembly:
Allow the cake to cool for about 5 minutes before rolling. Lay a large towel on the counter. Run a knife around the edge of the cake pan so it doesn’t stick anywhere. Flip the cake out onto the towel and peel off the parchment paper.

Roll it lengthwise with towel inside the roll. Let it cool rolled up with the towel for 10 minutes.

Unroll and spread the buttercream over cake as evenly as possible. Roll it back up, using the towel as a guide. Roll the cake in parchment paper and place seam-side down in the fridge to chill, overnight or at least four hours before decorating.

To decorate, place the cake on a board or platter. Cut each end at an angle – these cut pieces will be your branches. Assemble the cut pieces like arms of a tree with one on top. You can use the leftover buttercream or ganache as glue. Cover everything with ganache using a spatula or spreader. Don’t worry about getting a perfect covering; it looks even better if you make bark-like marks with your spreader.
Add some powdered sugar (snow!), sprinkles, hot-cinnamon candies (like Red Hots), gum drops or whatever you’ve got to make it look festive.

“I never quarrel with a man who buys ink by the barrel,” former Indiana Rep. Charles Brownson said of the press. But we need your help to keep up with the rising cost of ink.
Get your first month for just 99 cents when you subscribe to The Post.

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IRVING, Texas — The NFL has toughened its standards on a rule that requires teams with head coaching vacancies to interview at least one minority candidate.

The new standards come in apparent response to accusations of teams, including the Oakland Raiders during the last hiring cycle, circumventing the Rooney Rule by interviewing minority candidates not deemed to be legitimate contenders to land the job.

Under the revisions announced by the league Wednesday at an owners’ meeting at a Dallas-area hotel, a team with a head coaching vacancy must interview at least one minority candidate from outside its organization or from the list of recommended candidates compiled by the NFL’s advisory board.

Previously, the rule said only that at least one minority candidate needed to be interviewed, without further specifications.

The NFL denied that the changes were made specifically in response to the coaching search of the Raiders or any other team.

“Our focus was simply: How do we make the Rooney Rule better?” said Robert Gulliver, the league executive in charge of human resources.

The NFL concluded in January that the Raiders had complied with the Rooney Rule when they hired Jon Gruden as their coach and signed him to a 10-year contract estimated to be worth about $100 million. The Raiders said they complied with the rule — named for late Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, the former chairman of the league’s workplace diversity committee — by interviewing their own tight ends coach, Bobby Johnson, and USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin.

But some outside observers said they believed that the Raiders had violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the Rooney Rule, with owner Mark Davis only focused on pursuing Gruden. The Fritz Pollard Alliance, the diversity group that works closely with the league on its minority hiring practices, said it believed that Davis and the Raiders had violated the rule.

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Similar allegations have been made about the head coaching or general manager searches of other teams over the years. The Rooney Rule also applies to GM vacancies.

The new standards announced Wednesday also say that if a team’s top decision-maker, such as the owner, is involved in the interviewing and hiring process at the outset, that top decision-maker must remain involved in the process through its conclusion. So a team, for instance, could not have its owner involved in interviewing certain candidates while not participating in any interviews with minority candidates.

Teams also are to maintain complete records of the interviewing process. They are encouraged but not required to interview multiple minority candidates.

The league reasserted that teams will be disciplined for any violations of the rule.

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Gov. John Hickenlooper called Tuesday’s testy televised meeting between President Donald Trump and Democratic congressional leaders “unfortunate for the country” and suggested leaders in Washington are too busy fighting for political points rather than solving the nation’s biggest problems.

“It has literally nothing to do with solving problems that we should be working on,” he said in an interview with The Denver Post on Wednesday morning.

The aim of Tuesday’s meeting between Trump, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was to find a budget compromise to avoid a partial federal government shutdown later this month. Trump is requesting$5 billion for his border wall, while congressional Democrats only want to authorize $1.3 billion.

A photo-op before the meeting quickly spiraled, with all three leaders exchanging jabs. The day ended with Pelosi questioning Trump’s “manhood.”

This type of political discourse, Hickenlooper said, “doesn’t reflect well on anybody.”

Hickenlooper, Colorado’s term-limited governor who leaves office Jan. 8, is expected to announce before the end of March a bid to become the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee to challenge Trump for the White House.

As Hickenlooper winds down his work in Colorado, he and his team have been busy interviewing dozens of political operatives that specialize in polling and digital media. The Washington Post reported that Hickenlooper’s operation has interviewed 80 potential hires.

Hickenlooper will likely be one of many Democrats vying for the nomination. The governor, who has built a brand on compromise and bipartisanship, could be up against the likes of liberal firebrand senators such as Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

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Hickenlooper is expected to run as a Washington outsider with a proven record of problem solving. Tuesday’s Oval Office showdown coupled with what observers expect to be two years of increased acrimony with divided government in the nation’s capital, could provide grist for Hickenlooper’s message.

“The stuff I’m going to be talking about is finding ways to bring people together and create solutions to the most pressing problems — and the most significant long-term problems that we face,” the governor said.

Ending economic inequality, expanding vocational training and curbing health care costs are just some of the issues Hickenlooper suggested Washington should occupy itself with.

“I think the country has to shake itself awake and recognize that we are spending a fortune on health care,” he said. “And we’re not getting the value we’re spending.”

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The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office this week confirmed it’s investigating “possible criminal activity” at the Shambhala Mountain Center, a Buddhist retreat in the foothills west of Fort Collins.

Sheriff’s officials will not specify what type of allegations are being looked into, and declined to comment further.

“LCSO has received information about possible criminal activity involving the Shambhala Mountain Center,” said David Moore, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office. “Investigators are sorting through that information to see where it leads.”

Karl Gehring, The Denver Post
The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya at the Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes is seen in this 2012 photo.

News of the Larimer County investigation comes months after Shambhala International, a Buddhist organization founded in Boulder in the 1970s, became embroiled in a sexual misconduct scandal surrounding its leader, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.

The allegations surfaced in a three-part report called the Buddhist Sunshine Project that detailed allegations from anonymous women with first- and secondhand accounts of sexual misconduct by Mipham and other high-ranking Shambhala officials. Some of the misconduct detailed in the Sunshine Project report is alleged to have taken place at the Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, which is about two hours northwest of Denver.

Mipham stepped aside from his leadership position over Shambhala International — now based in Halifax, Nova Scotia — in July. He conceded in a letter to his followers that past relationships he engaged in had caused “harm,” but did not address the broader allegations of misconduct or any illegal activity.

“I struggled to find my way, and fumbled with unhealthy power dynamics and alcohol. I failed to recognize the pain and confusion I was creating,” Mipham wrote in the July 10 letter.

In August, Michael Scott, Mipham’s attorney, refuted the allegations in the Sunshine Project report: “The Sakyong categorically denies assaulting anyone, sexually or otherwise, sexual contact with minors, or any other criminal offence.”

Carol Merchasin, a retired attorney who contributed to the Sunshine Project report, told The Denver Post she was contacted by the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office in November. She said she was interviewed by investigators twice, and their questions revolved around allegations of sexual contact with minors. Merchasin said she has no firsthand knowledge of the allegations, and only interviewed the woman who described the alleged criminal activity.

The woman who made those allegations also has been contacted by the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Merchasin said.

Shambhala’s Colorado mountain retreat

The Shambhala Mountain Center is one of the organization’s two international programming hubs in the United States. It features a sweeping wooded campus where the Sakyong and other teachers come to lead meditations, and has been visited by the Dalai Lama.

Michael Gayner, the Shambhala Mountain Center’s executive director, said the retreat has not been contacted by the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office. He said he’s not aware of any criminal investigation.

“SMC is committed to the safety and well-being of its participants and community members, and it is the policy of SMC to fully cooperate in any governmental inquiry,” Gayner said in a statement.

Shortly after the allegations were brought to light last summer, the Shambhala Mountain Center’s staff affirmed its support for victims of sexual assault. “We stand with the women who have come forward. We will do what is right, even if it jeopardizes our existing power structures or financial position,” the statement, signed by 63 staff members, said.

After the Sakyong stepped down for a period of self-reflection, the nine members of the Shambhala’s governing body, the Kalapa Council, resigned. An interim board replaced the council as the governing body of Shambhala, and Canadian law firm Wickwire Holm was contracted to conduct a third-party investigation on behalf of Shambhala International.

The results of that investigation are expected to be made public in January. They will be released after the interim Kalapa Council reviews the findings to ensure the report “maintains the confidentiality requested by individuals,” the board said in a statement.

Mipham plans to remain in his period of reflection until January, when he will make a statement, Shambhala officials said.

Following a series of articles in Boulder’s Daily Camera newspaper last summer about the allegations against Mipham, the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office offered to make a presentation at the Boulder Shambhala Center on how victims can report sexual crimes. The Boulder center’s executive director and District Attorney Michael Dougherty exchanged a phone call, but there was no follow-up from the Shambhala Center and a presentation was never arranged, said Shannon Carbone, spokeswoman for the Boulder DA’s office.

Leaders with the Boulder Shambhala Center, established as the first of more than 200 meditation centers now under Shambhala International, did not respond to requests for comment.

The Sunshine Project report does not include any claims of wrongdoing at the Boulder Shambhala Center, and the Boulder Police Department confirmed that is not investigating any allegations involving the center.

Deep roots in Boulder

Shambhala was founded as a secular, Western-focused form of Tibetan Buddhism in Boulder in 1970. Its founder, Mipham’s father, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, has had a checkered history of his own. Trungpa was known as a charismatic teacher and leader, but also was reported to have been a heavy drinker and womanizer. Neither Trungpa nor Mipham proclaimed to be celibate monks, and both married.

Trungpa died of liver failure in 1987 at the age of 48.

Trungpa also founded Boulder’s Naropa University, the country’s first accredited Buddhist university. The Sunshine Project report triggered Mipham’s removal from Naropa’s Board of Trustees. The board found the accounts of sexual misconduct to be “credible and believable” and voted to remove Mipham from his symbolic non-voting board seat.

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The shake-up in Shambhala’s leadership has caused ripple effects for the community. Donations to some mediation centers have dwindled, causing one in New York to shutter. Other meditation centers have taken steps to distance themselves from their one-time leader.

The Shambhala Mountain Center is in the midst of a capital drive as it needs to construct a wastewater collection system. Currently, $150,000 remains to be raised of the $2.7 million price tag, according to the center’s website.

“I think that, for everyone, it is good that this is being investigated,” said Merchasin, the Sunshine Project co-author who says she was interviewed by the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office.

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State law prohibits any higher education employee to be contracted for more than five years. So why did University of Colorado Board of Regents approve a six-year contract for new football coach Mel Tucker on Wednesday?

In a word: oops.

Wednesday morning, the board voted 6-2 in favor of Tucker’s contract to run Jan. 1, 2019 through Dec. 31, 2024. That’s six years. Based on the language of the approved contract, which includes annual raises of $275,000, the deal is worth $18.5 million rather than $14.8 million.

Mel Tucker’s contract: Inside the CU Buffs’ head coach’s deal

However, Ken McConnellogue, CU’s vice president of communications, told The Denver Post the extra year was an oversight and the contract will be amended to run through 2023.

Specifics on the process to amend the contract were not immediately available.

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The approved contract mentions the Dec. 31, 2024 expiration date three times. However, in the portion that lays out what bonuses Tucker can receive for on-field performance, two of the incentives could only be obtained in the “second through fifth Contract Years.” Meaning, had he achieved those goals ($50,000 for winning seven games in a season and $25,000 for each additional victory), he wouldn’t be able to receive those cash bonuses in 2024.

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Mel Tucker’s contract as the new football coach at the University of Colorado was officially approved by the CU Board of Regents on Wednesday, binding the two parties through Dec. 31, 2024.

The terms that were approved Wednesday, by a vote of 6-2, will pay Tucker a salary of $2.4 million beginning Jan. 1, with annual increases of $275,000 through Dec. 31, 2023. The five-year deal is worth almost $15 million.

Included in the contract is lucrative incentive compensation, in addition buyout information. Should Tucker terminate the contract before it expires (i.e.: he’s hired by another program), he’ll owe CU $5 million (if termination occurs during 2019), $3 million (during 2020), $1.8 million (during 2021) or $1 million (between 2022-23).

Should CU chose to fire Tucker without cause, the coach will be owed his salary in the year the termination occurred, multiplied by however many years he has remaining on his contract.

Tucker, 46, can receive bonus compensation if any of the following incentives are met:

  • Win six games in the 2019 season ($50,000)
  • Receive $25,000 for each additional win after six victories in the 2019 season.
  • Win seven games in a season from 2020-2023 ($50,000)
  • Receive $25,000 for each additional win in a season after seven victories from 2020-2023.
  • Be invited to a bowl game ($100,000)
  • Be invited to a New Years Six bowl game ($175,000)
  • Be invited to the College Football Playoff ($450,000)
  • Win the national championship ($750,000)
  • Win the Pac-12 South ($25,000)
  • Win the Pac-12 championship ($50,000)
  • Be named Pac-12 Coach of the Year ($50,000)
  • Be named National Coach of the Year ($100,000)
  • Team attains a graduation success rate of 75% ($50,000)
  • Team attains an academic progress rate score of 965 ($25,000)
  • Support of student-athletes toward academic skills and development of academic culture (up to $100,000)
  • Welfare and development of student-athletes and support from the football program engendered from the CU student population (up to $100,000)
  • Development of football program outreach, culture and reputation on campus (up to $100,000).
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Tucker also has an annual salary pool of a minimum of $3.2 million to pay his staff of assistant coaches.

Tucker, 46, spent the previous three seasons as the defensive coordinator at the University of Georgia. He was hired to replace Mike MacIntyre, who was let go Nov. 18 after posting a 30-44 record over six seasons at the helm.

MacIntyre was introduced as the new defensive coordinator at the University of Mississippi on Monday with a three-year deal worth $1.5 million annually. Because it’s not a collegiate head coaching job or a position in the NFL, CU is contractually obligated to pay off the remaining $10.3 million left on an extension the board approved for the former Buffs coach in June 2017. But university officials told The Post earlier this week that they’re negotiating with MacIntyre on the final monetary terms of his separation.

Language was added to Tucker’s contract stating that should he be fired without cause and he then gets any job relating to athletics, the university would reduce what it owes him based on his new salary.

Mel Tucker annual salary
  • 2019: $2.4 million
  • 2020: $2.675 million
  • 2021: $2.95 million
  • 2022: $3.225 million
  • 2023: $3.5 million

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