~ Comments on Hearing ~ |
~ or ~
~ Teflon Barbara Is Losing Her Non-stick Coating ~
Wednesday, November 7, 2001, was an emotionally exhausting
day. But rewarding. The wheels of justice churn slowly.
Sometimes the victims get crushed under the these slow moving
wheels because of the way the system works. This time the
wheels smooshed Barbara Ann Robbins. By the end of the
Board Meeting, her frown lines were working overtime. She did
not emerge a happy camper.
Having learned a few lessions in the futile attempt to get Park County to suspend her license, the Friends Against NorthStar, known as FANS, planned carefully to present the strongest case possible given the unforseen nature of the hearing. Nine of the FANS met for a pre-hearing victory lunch at the Tres Hombres in Woodland Park. The numbers swelled to 14 at the Fire Station where the hearing was held.
Babs showed up just before 2PM. With her was Doug, looking surly but fit and healthy. Doug spent very little time in the meeting room, preferring to wander the limited hallways and lurk outdoors. When they arrived, the only vacant chairs were two in the first row beside Mike & Karen. Babs declined and had additional chairs brought in so she could hide in the back of the room. Not a gutsy move. Zendejas left his more comfortable chair to sit beside his client.
The Board was reasonably fair and consistant in doing it's job. One unsettling pattern that emerged was the tendency of the Chair, Dave Dernbach, to keep commenting about the lack of evidence concerning a number of issues. Testimony is considered evidence in any hearing. When person after person stand before the hearing and publically testify that something happened, that is evidence. To state otherwise is to say that they are lying. Physical evidence was offered in many cases but the Chair seemed inclined to feel it wasn't sufficient. The board accepted Barbara's statements without corroborating evidence so why not accept the statements of the offended parties on an equal and fair footing?
Before the hearing, the Board spent an amount of time reviewing licensees who were seeking to get licensed in Teller County for a variety of work. The Board grilled these people concerning their work experience, work ethics, letters of recomendation, and overall expressed a great deal of concern about protecing the citizens of Teller County. Yet, these same concerns could not, or would not, be applied to an existing contractor's license? Where is the consistency in this? Ted Dura pointed this out to the Board. Their excuse was they had rules and limitations to follow. Yes and no. The rules say that there are certain offenses for which a license can be suspended or revoked. The rules do not exclude other factors being taken into consideration when determining the punishment.
Ric Radeke seemed entirely too eager to fall back on the "no inspection" therefore "no foul" explanation. He frequently rummaged thru the files for inspections as a means of answering questions. Even inspections he had done. He wasn't familiar with the case? He sure had it crammed down his throat in October when he accepted the letter from Barbara as evidence with which to cancel the hearing. He was either flustered or putting on an act to protect himself and his department. His department has been ignoring the problems connected with NorthStar. Had he been doing his job properly, this hearing would never had been necessary.
A number of things need repeating. Barbara's responses in particular. And those of her lawyer, M James Zendejas. Barbara made a catty remark about Rui's pictures. It was in keeping with her mantra, "They are all lying about me!" Babs, we can't wait to get you on the stand in Park County. You are going to ice your complaint for us.
Zendejas remarked that he had contacted the Attorney for Teller County "yesterday", the day before the hearing, requesting information concerning the complaints. Whoa? Jimbo, what did you say? You waited until the day before the hearing to get information concerning the complaints against your client? Your client knew about the hearing in August! You certainly should have had all the information before October 3, the date for the hearing before the bogus cancellation. Yet, you were not up on the complaints the day before the hearing? What kind of lawyer waits until the last minute to gather information needed to defend his client? Did Babs wait until Tuesday to hire you to defend her? Sure makes you look like some sort of chump if she did. If she didn't, it makes you look like the worst lawyer in the State of Colorado.
Barbara remarked that the Porti-potties did not stay on site very long as the work crews weren't there long. This is consistant with the fact there isn't much work done and that the jobs drag forever. But, she had a great opportunity to to score points and blew it. Barbara showed up with a large stack of file folders, presumably documents and evidence that she could use in her defense. She could have pulled out the invoices for Porti-potties and used them to strengthen her defense. Why didn't she? Because she was lying again! She never had them on site!
Thru Zendejas, Barbara claimed the reason she did not consider the court action to involve her was because she had given her ex-husband a quit claim on the property that was in arrears. She claimed he was responsible for it and had failed to pay the taxes. That doesn't wash. If she had filed a quit claim and was not responsible, Teller County would have removed her name from the deed and the action would have only been filed against her ex-husband, Donald Wells.
Zendejas also claimed that the use of the name, NorthStar Construction, was not false or misleading. That in fact Barbara Robbins has permission from the legal owner of the name to use the name. Babs added the suffix LLC as a way of showing the two companies were not the same. In fact, Zendejas claimed, using the name NorthStar Construction, LLC was a legitimate use of a tradename. What? Since when is using the LLC, or using INC, been an accepted practice by a company when they are not registered? These suffixes are indicators that a company is registered with the state. For an attorney to claim they are legitimate tradename usage defies logic. Is Zendejas that stupid or does he think we are that stupid to believe him?
There were a few anxious moments at the end when the Board was mulling over the sentence. But, the FANS prevailed. NorthStar now will file an appeal. And we will be there to hinder them every step of the way.