County Employees Engaged in Deceptive Letter-Writing Campaign

Nearly everyone supports the myriad of consumer protection laws that help safeguard us from unscrupulous businesses, unfair practices, and deceptive advertising.

For voters in Larimer County, perhaps we need a new version of caveat emptor – let the voter beware – to alert citizens about deceptive candidate endorsement practices. Several county employees in the Assessors Office and their spouses are politicking for the two Republican primary opponents without honestly disclosing their own personal stake in this race.

In the August 3 edition of The Coloradoan, David Muse of Loveland extolls the virtues of Republican Assessor candidate, Steve Miller, in this letter to the editor:

What Mr. Muse fails to inform Coloradoan readers is that he is currently employed by the Larimer County Assessor’s Office, according to a document provided to Colorado Confidential by the county’s Human Resources Department. Sandy Muse, also known as Mrs. David Muse, felt so strongly about the race that she, too, wrote a letter on July 28 to The Coloradoan, to wit:

I am not willing to wait another four years in hope that the incumbent [Larry Johnson] would figure this out and I should not be expected to. I want to get back to fair property values with an assessor that knows how to do the job.

Ouch. I guess the boss won’t be coming over for dinner any time soon.

In fact, Candidate Miller , who previously served as Assessor from 1989-2002, is so pleased with the outpouring of affection from his stealth former employees and their loved ones that he is listing their letters on his campaign website.

While Alexis Smith disclosed her job as a county appraiser in her July 22 letter, Miller Helped Taxpayers, her husband Robb Smith hasn’t been quite as forthcoming:

In the above letter, Mr. Smith states:

My more than 21 years of military service has taught me to recognize that leadership and responsibility go hand in hand.

Does leadership and responsibility also include a commitment to self-disclosure when one financially benefits from the outcome of an election, as is the case with wife Alexis’ employment in the Assessor’s office?

To date, nearly all of the published employee letters of support for incumbent Assessor Larry Johnson have acknowledged their relationship to the department. However, Monty Wagner seems to have forgotten an important fact in his letter supporting Johnson. He is the husband of Amy Wagner, the current director of assessments. Oops!

To add further to the carnival atmosphere of the Republican primary, Fort Collins resident and busy pro-Miller letter writer Hans Hochheimer chides the Johnson campaign in yet another skirmish in the War of the Assessor Letters

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