Darren O’Connor Claims Retaliation And Abuse of Process At The Hands Of State Representative Williams
(Photo Credit: Refufia Gaintan, http://www.thenationreportorg) Darren O’Connor (foreground in leather jacket )speaks to Rep. Angela Williams (right) about a bill killed in the committee she chairs, at her May 15th Town Hall last year.
In October of last year, State House Representative Angela Williams, District 7, attempted to bring a permanent restraining order against Darren O’Connor, claiming he was stalking her. O’Connor, a member of the Colorado Foreclosure Resistance Coalition (CFRC), had been challenging Rep. Williams regarding her vote in April last year against the Colorado Mortgage Accountability and Housing Stabilization Act: HB13-1249. Mr. O’Connor contended that Williams, Chair of the Business, Labor, Economic and Workforce Development Committee that heard the bill, refused to meet with him and other supporters, citing that they were not from her district; he claims she chose instead to meet behind closed doors with lobbyists, banking and business interests who were also not from her district.
On November 25th, 2013, Magistrate Catherine Cary rejected Williams’ claims, finding the allegations in Williams’ temporary restraining order application were baseless.
On February 6th, 2014, the law firm Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP, delivered to Representative Williams a letter stating they had advised Mr. O’Connor that they believed he has legal claims against her for retaliation and abuse against him in order to silence his constitutionally protected speech. The firm’s letter to Williams states, “With no sufficient basis on which to seek the protection order, it is clear that you were substantially motivated by a desire to suppress Mr. O’Connor’s political speech–speech that constituted his professional but passionate efforts to engage in a robust debate with you, an elected, public official.” Rep. Williams has been given until Febrary 20th to respond to Darold Killmer’s letter.
Williams’ position as the chair of the House Business Committee is a powerful one. In an email dated January 6th, 2014, Williams shared the content of a Denver Business Journal 2014 Legislative Preview, including in part:
This year she’s overseeing negotiations on an effort led by the Colorado AFL-CIO to reform workers’ compensation law to let injured employees have more choice of doctors and to get larger settlements if they broke safety regulations while getting hurt.
Many speculate she’s carrying that bill to show she has the muscle to be majority leader or speaker when House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, steps aside because of term limits next year.
It appears that Williams, having shared this in her email on the opening day of the 69th General Assembly, has great political ambitions. It remains to be seen whether she can fend off allegations of retaliation and abuse against Mr. O’Connor.
The letter from Killmer, Lane and Newman, LLP, attorney Darold Kilmer is available here.