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Aspen Council Candidate Questioned on His Altered 2004 Campaign Materials

Apr 8, 2015

Questions have been raised about the integrity of an Aspen City Council candidate. Aspen Public Radio’s Carolyn Sackariason has the story.

An affidavit signed by Bert Myrin acknowledges he manipulated a message from a powerful local business group deliberately misrepresenting the organization’s position on a visitor’s center proposal in 2004.

Myrin admitted he rewrote an email invitation by the chamber of commerce that he sent to then-Mayor Helen Klanderud. Myrin changed the language, stating the Chamber supported a citizen referendum to quash the Main Street development. But the chamber was in support of the visitor’s center and lobbying hard for it.

Myrin downplays the incident, saying he didn’t remember it until now.

“I do not think it changed the meaning or was falsified, no. It changes the text … the meaning … the text from ‘get the facts on Referendum 2A’ to ‘to vote yes on Referendum 2A. The attempt is to lobby her to vote on the side I am lobbying for on the campaign. If there was anything in here that was not the fact I wouldn’t have signed it. It’s pretty clear what happened; there’s nothing that seems out of the ordinary... lobbying someone one on one to vote yes on the side you are working on.”

Myrin also changed the Chamber’s original email to hide his edits. He changed so it read as if the organization itself sent the new message.

“So the original from line was from an individual at the chamber and I anonymized that so the forward would be more private for that person. It’s a one-on-one email. It doesn’t go out to 100 people. It’s a conversation I was having with Helen privately.”

Documentation of the affair surfaced this week which forced Myrin to acknowledge 10 years later that it happened. The City Council candidate is also the initiator of Referendum 1, which appears on the ballot in this spring’s election. If passed, it would require a public vote for development projects that request certain exceptions to the land use code.

The revelation comes as the chamber hosts a candidate forum this evening. It will include Myrin, other candidates and debate around his referendum.