CRESTONE — In response to an article which appeared in the Crestone Eagle this month, Alder William Lakish, facing charges of forgery and stock/bond and criminal impersonation, felony five and six charges, posted a rebuttal of his alleged offenses last week on Facebook.
The Crestone Eagle article, written by reporter Lisa Cyriacks, recounted the same facts reported in recent articles on Lakish featured in the Center Post-Dispatch.
The charges against Lakish were brought by District Attorney Crista Newmyer-Olsen after Lakish listed himself as a registered agent of the White Eagle LLC with the Secretary of State’s Office. Brian Kramer, Julie O’Halloran and a Brian Hendry have been listed with the Secretary of State’s office as the LLC owners since 2011.
Lakish again claims, as he has in past Facebook refutations of his charges, that Kramer and O’Halloran gave him permission to register the White Eagle under his name. In his post he states: “I never represented myself as the legal agent of the property even though Brian and Julie had encouraged me to represent myself as their legal agent based on our handshake agreement to pay the past due taxes.”
But in his report on Lakish’s behavior, Saguache County Undersheriff Jim McCloskey noted Lakish “fraudulently represented himself to the Secretary of State as a registered agent, the Saguache commissioners, the county treasurer and also the U.S. Postal Service,” because he moved the mailing address so the true owners of the property could not receive correspondence, in violation of state statutes.
When McCloskey questioned Lakish after Kramer and O’Halloran filed the complaint with the Saguache Sheriff’s Office, Lakish told him he was living “inside the lodge.” Lakish told McCloskey that no one owns the lodge and no one was doing anything with it, so he switched the LLC with the Secretary of State. When McCloskey asked him who gave him permission to make the change, Lakish said “Nobody.”
According to Lakish, as told to McCloskey, he had no documents to reflect permission for any change, saying it was done on a handshake — that Kramer agreed to let him “manage the building,” so he thought that gave him the right to change the LLC. Eventually Lakish did admit to McCloskey he had no right to jump into the LLC.
The White Eagle was condemned by state plumbing and electrical authorities, then County Co-Administrator Wendi Maez confirmed in 2017. It is not clear how the building became “inhabitable” without first addressing and remedying the issues causing the condemnation. Legal opinions show that such condemnations are true condemnations.
Discrepancies in Facebook posts
In the most recent post last week, Lakish writes that Kramer and O’Halloran “claimed their ‘legal’ managing partner Brian Hendry had passed away from cancer the year before” and could not sign off on the LLC, which is why he could obtain nothing in writing from the couple. But in a Nov. 11, 2017 email to this reporter, Lakish told a different story:
“Brian Kramer told me that he and Julie hadn’t been able to get contact info for Brian Hendry for several years and last they knew he was going back to Canada with serious health problems and they presumed he was either in dire health somewhere or deceased,” so Kramer did not actually tell Lakish he was dead. Hendry eventually surfaced, and in his most recent post Lakish comments: “I discovered that Brian Hendry was in fact alive and well in Canada.”
Next Lakish contends that: “My lawyer recently attempted to obtain transcripts of the county commissioner’s meetings to prove this point beyond a shadow of doubt, but they apparently had not yet started keeping recordings on file of the meetings back when that occurred.”
This reporter has had copies of these minutes for story-writing purposes for several months. They can be downloaded from the county website. Lisa Cyriacks posted the minutes in question on Lakish’s Facebook page in response to his post.
Next, Lakish begins to unfold a tale of an elaborate plot perpetrated by Kramer, O’Halloran and Cyriacks to allow him to think he was an agent so he would pay taxes and improve the property — only to have Kramer and O’Halloran file charges against him and profit from his lost investment. He also makes other accusations against the couple that could become actionable for him legally, further complicating his ongoing court case. But only a hint of what would later become full-blown allegations appeared in the email sent by Lakish on Nov. 11, 2017:
“Are they trying to take the building back and not compensate me for the many thousands of dollars in repairs and taxes which I have invested? If so, that is pretty far from moral or ethical, and what is legal or not will have to be settled in court before a judge.”
Lakish then puts forth varying versions of his story, offering different reasons for not continuing to make payments on the White Eagle’s taxes. He wrote in his Nov. 11, 2017 email:
“I only made one payment on that tax arrangement [with the county treasurer] because I began to get more information on complications about the Baca Water and Sanitation past due bills related to the property and I got more information about the state red flagging issues related to replacing the plumbing, electric and roofing leak repairs and I wanted to get a budget on the necessary repairs to make the building useful again as a private storage building and ensure that I wouldn’t get stuck paying a $450,000 bill for having to bulldoze the building and haul it off in roll off dumpsters, before I progressed with the tax lien title process.”
But in his recent post last week, Lakish now puts forward the following: “I did back out of my agreement to pay the back due taxes to the county treasurer but that was because I started to discover the evidence of [certain allegations against the White Eagle’s owners]. I became suspicious that they had lied to me about the terms of our handshake agreement and that they might actually do just what they have since done — try to get me to pay their past due taxes and then force me to abandon the building claiming that I was trespassing and that we never had an agreement about it.”
Finally, Lakish posts two pictures of Lisa Cyriacks and the Center Post-Dispatch reporter sitting in the courtroom during one of his hearings. These were taken with his cell phone. Cyriacks is sitting shoulder-to-shoulder next to Brian Kramer, which Lakish says clouds her objectivity. But at this point Cyriacks was not writing an article about the hearing. And there is no law stating reporters cannot support friends or neighbors during a court case.
There is a law, however, against taking photos in a courtroom. This Colorado Supreme Court rule can be found at: https://www.courts.state.co.us/userfiles/file/Media/Cameras%20in%20the%20Courtroom%202015%20update.pdf
It basically states that in order to be able to take photographs in the courtroom during a hearing or trial procedure, one must first obtain permission from the presiding judge. And this is directed at the media, not the defendant or plaintiff in any given case. The reasons given are as follows:
“A judge may restrict or limit expanded media coverage as may be necessary to preserve the dignity of the court or to protect the parties, witnesses, or jurors. A judge may terminate or suspend expanded media coverage at any time upon making findings of fact that: (1) rules established under this Rule or additional rules imposed by the judge have been violated; or (2) substantial rights of individual participants or rights to a fair trial will be prejudiced by such coverage if it is allowed to continue.”
It is not known what effect these photos posted on Facebook might have on Lakish’s case.