Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Former Mayor Charged with Making Harassing Calls to Colorado Paper

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Former Mayor Charged with Making Harassing Calls to Colorado Paper

Article excerpt

FORMER FRISCO, COLO., Mayor Jim Spenst faces a June 8 hearing on charges he harassed a local newspaper publisher and staff with threatening phone calls and mail.

According to the Summit County Sheriff's Office, threatening calls were made and poison pen letters were sent to the offices and homes of Ten Mile Times managers and journalists over a period of several years.

Times co-owner and publisher Miles Porter IV said the harassing calls and mail were part of a pattern of actions against the paper taken by officials of the small, 1,700-population ski resort town 75 miles north of Denver.

Porter said when he started his 7,500-circulation, free-distribution paper 10 years ago, it was with the intention of being a town booster and supporter of economic development.

"I thought here in a resort area, we would avoid controversy..... We figured if the town did well, we would do weXl," he said in a telephone interview.

Porter was even appointed chairman of the Frisco planning commission, but relations between the publisher and town leaders soon soured.

"They found me liking to do things in the open," Porter said. "They felt I was out of sync with the town philosophy. They said I wasn't a team player ....I've never been much of a team player. Since then, it seems, most of the people in the town have come around to my way of thinking."

Porter says he was booted off the planning commission, his efforts to mend fences were rebuffed, and the town imposed an advertising boycott on his paper. …

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