State Rep. Tim Leonard facing possible jail time

Magistrate: “[T]he Court will enter a punitive sanction and I can tell you Mr. Leonard, you are not going to like it.”

State Rep. Tim Leonard facing possible jail time

The campaign website for state Rep. Tim Leonard of Evergreen portrays him as a successful businessman and devoted father who’s dedicated to “[r]aising healthy, holy, and happy children.” But what his site doesn’t say is that Leonard repeatedly has disregarded a judge’s order in his divorce case – so much so that what has been ruled his contempt of court may land him in jail before year’s end.

Leonard, a real estate broker, was appointed to his House District 25 seat last January, replacing then-Rep. Jon Keyser, who resigned to run for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Leonard is vying to win his first full-term in the seat in November.

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He and his ex-wife, Monica Leonard, divorced in 2013 after 20 years of marriage. They have six kids. One is a recent college graduate, another is in college, and the other four are under the age of 18.

As part of their divorce settlement, Monica Leonard was granted sole decision-making about the minor children’s education. She has complained to family court that Leonard repeatedly has disregarded that order.

During a hearing in Jefferson County District Court on Sept. 29th, a magistrate scolded Leonard for repeatedly shrugging off the judge’s order and interfering with his ex-wife’s educational decisions.

This time, it could cost him his freedom.

Magistrate Marianne Marshall Tims found Leonard in contempt of court on two charges related to educational decision-making. She said she intends to enter a punitive sanction, which she told him could be a jail sentence of up to six months. But the hearing adjourned after 5 p.m. in the business day, after the bailiff had ended the shift.

“If it was earlier, Mr. Leonard, you need to know that a sheriff would be coming to take you into custody,” the magistrate said, according to a transcript of the hearing obtained by The Colorado Independent this week.

The transcript shows that Leonard repeatedly has attempted, sometimes successfully, to make educational decisions for his children that conflicted with decisions made by his ex-wife. According to his own testimony, he was found in contempt of court in September 2014 for trying to opt out one of the children from a particular state standardized test. The transcript shows that the school was aware of the court order and disregarded his instructions, so the child took the test.

One of the two latest contempt findings against Leonard was for his attempt to opt another child out of a federal standardized test. Leonard told the magistrate that the federal test was “educationally insignificant,” although he did not explain what led him to that conclusion.

“He’s not qualified to make that determination,” the magistrate said in her ruling.

Monica Leonard is the only parent “that would have the ability to opt [the child] out,” Magistrate Tims added. “He doesn’t have the authority to do that regardless of how insignificant he has decided testing will be… He has previously been held in contempt for exactly what was done here today. He finds that this meant different kid, different test. That’s contrary to what the Court finds today.”

Magistrate Tims said it was “mind blowing to me” that Leonard figured the court order from September 2014 had to do only with one kind of testing and for only one child.

“[T]he Court will enter a punitive sanction and I can tell you Mr. Leonard, you are not going to like it,” she said.

Her other contempt finding was for Leonard’s refusal to allow one of the younger children to use an iPad at school. The devices were given to every student in that child’s class. Because Leonard forbade his child from using it, the teacher had to single out that child for supplemental work in lieu of using the iPad.

Leonard testified that he does not have internet access at his home to be used by a child of that age.

The magistrate ruled that he may restrict the iPad’s use at his home, but not ignore the decision about education made by his ex-wife for the child to use the device at school.

“I don’t know if we are going to go through all of the kids and all of the issues before they grow up and reach the age of maturity, but at this rate it sure seems like we are,” an apparently exasperated magistrate said.

After a marriage that spanned two decades, Monica Leonard was granted an annulment by the Catholic Church in June. Her sister, Mary Miller, told The Independent that Monica Leonard homeschooled the children for 20 years, but after the divorce put four of them in public schools – a decision that her ex-husband has objected to, preferring they attend an online school at home instead.

Leonard is a co-founder of Golden View Classical Academy in Golden, a public charter school whose website touts a curriculum aimed “to recover lost tools of learning in order to cultivate wise and virtuous men and women who will be responsible citizens of our republic.”

Since 2012, when Monica Leonard first sought the divorce, Miller estimates Leonard has filed more than 80 motions against his ex-wife on a variety of issues.

Monica Leonard told the magistrate that “I filed for divorce because of his controlling and manipulative behavior. It’s four years later and he is still trying to control me in every fashion possible.” Their youngest is now nine, and to go through another ten years of this will be “hell,” she said.

For his part, Leonard said his family has run into a few problems with public schooling. He found it objectionable that a school would teach on iPads, and pointed out that the school’s permission form required approval from both parents. “Like all parents, I am quite restrictive about screen time with my kids,” especially one so young, he wrote.

“If the magistrate decides on jail time for this, she would be clearly overreaching as this is not a ‘contempt’ worthy cause,” he added.

On the testing issue, he wrote, “Like many other parents, I requested opting our son out of the [federal] PARCC Exam last spring. This followed on the heels of the State Board granting Jeffco Public School District the waiver they requested to not be penalized for lack of student participation. Likewise, my child’s school was granted a waiver the prior year to not administer the PARCC test.

“Again, this would be a major overreach by the magistrate to hold me in contempt and warrant jail time on an issue so many clearly determine is not necessary for a child’s education,” he wrote.

Leonard noted that any order by the magistrate “is appealable to a judge.”

“It’s always unfortunate, that during these divorce court battles, common sense goes out the window and the kids suffer,” he wrote. “This has not reduced the sadness of our situation and the trauma for our children. Clearly there is a problem with the system.”

Leonard will be sentenced for his punitive sanctions on Dec. 9 at 1:30 p.m.
Photo credit: Colorado General Assembly

 

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About the Author

Marianne Goodland

has been a political journalist since 1998. She covered the state capitol for the Silver & Gold Record from 1998 to 2009 and for The Colorado Statesman in 2010-11 and 2013-14. Since 2010 she also has covered the General Assembly for newspapers in northeastern Colorado. She was recognized with awards from the Colorado Press Association for feature writing and informational graphics for her work with the Statesman in 2012.

12 Comments

  1. liberty on said:

    Shame on the Colorado Independent for digging up dirt in an obvious attempt to sway the election toward their preferred candidate. Coming from a divorced family, I can only imagine how difficult this has been on both parents, and especially the children. Stories like this only seek to HURT and bring more hatred. “He’s not qualified to make that determination,” the magistrate said in her ruling. WHAT?? A parent is not qualified to determine whether his child should be forced to take a standardized, computerized, data gathering test?? Do you see NOW why parents choose to homeschool?! Mr. Leonard has just as much right to decide these things as Mrs. Leonard does. Equal parenting rights and I do not see why the mother is the only one who can make these decisions? Once again, Ms. Goodland strikes with her hack pieces of what she calls “journalism”. What a joke.

  2. Suzie Strauss on said:

    As a friend of Monica’s, I can tell you that unfortunately, this article does not begin to tell the history of the last 3 years of litigation.
    Monica was a stay at home mother who homeschooled their 6 children for 19 years. Since Jan 2014, Monica has been paying Tim as much as $2,412/month in child support. Since their divorce was finalized in Oct 2013, he has taken her back to court three times to amend the child support, including as recently as Jan 2016, he then appealed that ruling because it wasn’t enough, the appeal was denied, and in July he filed yet another motion to get the child support Monica pays him increased. She was a stay at home mom for 20 years, he is a real estate consultant who also owns a coffee shop. Why is she paying him child support?
    That is only one small part of the litigation. Tim has even appealed their annulment to Rome. Not the family man he pretends to be!

  3. FIN JeffCo on said:

    Wow. If this beacon of civility stays in office, just think how he’ll advocate for the PUBLIC schools that JeffCo’s PUBLIC students deserve.

    He’s cofounder of GVCA (far, far from a public institution) which is the only charter that was approved during the sickly WNW term. They were ousted for their secrecy, disrespect, and, lack of accountability.

    Good god, any other public official who is known to be associated with Julie Williams, let alone the other two of that recalled slate, needs to be part of the larger purge of the gasping and dieing far right from Colorado governance.

  4. James on said:

    Divorce is never easy on any family. My sister had to continually ask for increased child support because it didn’t cover any type of extra-curricular activities. We don’t know the specifics, nor should we. When someone has kids to care for, that is the priority.

    GVCA has been a great add to Jeffco. Clearly with 700 applications for 100 seats, a curriculum that many families are attracted to.

    As far as Mr. Leonard goes, I have had the opportunity to meet with him several times. I am deciding my vote based on his integrity & how he has worked in the community. He has 4 kids in Jeffco schools so he has strong ties to the community & in the community. He is a sound businessman who will make decisions based on if it is good for families, good for businesses & good for the community in which we live. I’m voting for Tim Leonard. His divorce is his business not the communities.

  5. Will Morrison on said:

    Seriously, folks, what kind of decent, hard working, upstanding citizen files 80 complaints against his ex? That is NOT the act of a sane person. This is clearly a guy with major control issues. That is NOT who you want representing you unless you’re the same way.

    now, as to whether he is a good businessman or not, who cares? That has NOTHING to do with his conduct as a governmental official. The two things are opposed in action, to think that one could be good at one and then honest in the other is a nonsense game.

    The point of being a businessman is to make money, however you have to. Trump would be a perfect example of that, if he hadn’t lost so much along the way.

    The point of government is to keep business from screwing everyone to death for their own fun and profit. Putting the screwers in charge doesn’t make the game ANY better for the screwed, does it?

    In fact, that is EXACTLY the reason so many people don’t trust government in the first place. We keep putting people with alterior motives in place, and then we get pissed when all they do is set themselves up for greater profits at OUR expense. Why would one think they would do anything else?

    Corporations USED to have to prove that they were acting in the PUBLIC GOOD in order to keep alive as a business. They could be and were shut down for NOT complying with this requirement all the time, about 500 or so a year. They also had a 20 year time limit, couldn’t own other companies or property, and could only do one thing. No selling cars and being a finance company at the same time.

    Nowm, corporations are seen as people, my friend, and they can own anything, get away with anything, do anything, and live forever, amassing huge wealth along the way that they can then play political games with it, ALWAYS at OUR expense.

    If you don’t like how we’re getting shafted, stop putting business people in government. They only twist it to work for themselves, and that’s at your expense every time.

  6. Emerson on said:

    This is shaping up like an MMA fight. I’ll bet this guy has so many skeletons in his closet it would blow your mind. My message to the Colorado Independent, “Dig Baby Dig!” Almost 80 motions against his ex-wife…are you kidding me? This guy is psycho! He needs a taste of jail. He’ll make a great jail house lawyer. God help us if this guy gets elected.

  7. Martha N. on said:

    He sounds like a textbook narcissist who I would NEVER want in a political position. Is this the same guy that they think tried to scam campaign finances with a fake political consulting company? So glad someone uncovered this. When is the Denver Post going to pick up on this story? #Denverpost #lunatic #corrupt

  8. Tasia on said:

    I don’t typically comment on stories like this but for goodness sake, who has the time to file 80 complaints against their ex spouse, no matter the circumstances. That to me, spells bitterness, anger and the continued threat and aggravation and never ending control and manipulation that this Mr. Leonard continues (and I use the term Mr., loosely) to emotionally beat down his ex wife. The stress this woman must be under must be tremendous and the fact that she divorced him and yet, cannot seem to be rid of him must be so mentally exhausting and emotionally draining.

    In another previous article written by this same reporter, she mentions the fact that campaign donations by Mr. Leonard’s political supporters seem to have been paid to “Reared Strategic Inc.” for consulting services. That company does not appear to exist or be registered as noted by the reporter who not only checked the business name with the Secretary of State and the Jefferson County Assessor’s Office but also google earthed the address, and also took the time to visit the address Mr. Leonard listed, only to find that there was NO SUCH ADDRESS and NO SUCH BUSINESS! Sound fishy to you….I think so. This needs some more investigation, especially since this man is up for re-election. There seems to be two stories going on here – dishonesty and basic human decency.

    Another comment posted above favors Mr. Leonard and believes Mr. Leonard is a sound businessman, and a successful one, so then I ask you…..if that is indeed the case, why on earth would his wife who homeschooled their children for 20 years and was a stay at home full time mother, pay him $2,400 in child support a month. How financially successful can this Mr. Leonard be if his ex wife has to pay him? He obviously doesn’t make much money. I’m all for successful women but something about this doesn’t ring true. I don’t understand how she can be paying him.

    This Mr. Leonard has too much time on his hands, spent working on filing complaints. No wonder the judge is entirely fed up with his shenanigans and jail time is in the cards.

    Sadly, in amongst this are children that must suffer greatly.

    I say, man up and give your ex wife a break or someone needs to take away your man card!

  9. FIN Colorado on said:

    O James,
    GVCA is a “good add to Jeffco.” Hm. I think your “700 in line for 100 seats” is a bit of a stretch. Not even close. Can you prove that? Aren’t they re-running their enrollment drive?

    And did those kids in the business park warehouse get destroyed by PARCC and MAPS like the rest of Jeffco’s kids last May? NO. Why not? Shouldn’t all publicly funded schools be held accountable for test scores?

    Yeah, I acknowledge that the non-testing curriculum is what some parents want (am I close to it, James?) but if GVCA, HVAC, ACA, and EIEIO, get away without accountability and still moan for public money, then so should the other 175 school communities in Jeffco who probably similarly value more learning and less testing.

    Is that the curriculum difference that constitutes the “great add” James? Or is it something closer to indoctrination of young minds? closer to inculcation? No, not that, because parents of GVAC want the earnest inculcation of a repetitive, non-liberal, hard-right, exclusive program that can say “no”‘ to certain applicants. The teachings are close enough to Sunday-style for me to complain, would you refute that?

    All I’m sayin’ is that public schools should be kept as public institutions, fully public. Not partial, like a life-like, back of the mouth denture. Fully. Like a transparent, fully open and out-proud drag queen.

    S/he gonna make sure all voices are at the table. S/he gonna make sure everyone is treated with r-e-s-p-e-c-t! Kids and adults. S/he….enough.

    If GVAC and its daddy Tim along with those folk out in Pennsylvania want to have a place in public school credibility, in Jefferson County, Colorado, where any plain public person or employee who knows a wad of what’s going on, can say “yeah they’re public and should get our public money,” then good. I’ll stop.

    But it’s not enough to be “public enough,” James. Public schools should be kept as public institutions. Period.

  10. A man from Pine on said:

    This article would have been much more credible had it been published on November 9th, the day after a major election. Now it has just become another hit piece for the Democrats, one of a long list of sleezy, distorted “news” articles they are using to move the gullible voting public. I will not only vote for Tim Leonard, I will send him some money to help him get elected. Tim’s divorce is his personal business. He will represent my business much better than the liberal Story ever could. Story must be hurting in the polls to generate this kind of mud slinging at the last minute. Seems like Jeffco and Colorado are reaching new lows in journalistic and electoral integrity, especially when it comes to education. I am disapointed to see The Colorado Independent stoop so low.

  11. Suzie Strauss on said:

    To a man from Pine…
    Yes, send him some money, and he will use it to pay the political consulting firm that no one seems to know anything about…not the Secretary of State’s office, nor the Assessor’s office. According to his campaign filings, he has already paid them over $9,500! So I’m sure he will gladly accept your money.

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