Loveland’s attorney, Troy Krenning, is fighting back against the City of Loveland with current and former city officials with a lawsuit in response to old charges against him and a local business owner.
Krenning filed a civil rights lawsuit against City Attorney Moses Garcia, two former Loveland officials, and the city itself regarding the case against him and Natalie Petersen of Bloomstruck LLC. in 2020 in connection with anti-John Fogle mail sent during the 2019 municipal elections.
Krenning also sent an intent to sue Moses Garcia for defamation over an email sent to city councilors following the filing of the lawsuit.
Krenning, who represents Petersen, filed the case in US District Court for Colorado in Denver on March 31.
The lawsuit alleges three primary charges against Garcia, former assistant city attorney Alicia Calderón, former City of Loveland clerk Patti Garcia, all as individuals, and the city of Loveland: a retaliatory First Amendment violation , a violation of the Fourth Amendment by malicious prosecution and a violation of the 14th Amendment by deprivation of due process.
The lawsuit calls for numerous forms of financial compensation for Petersen based on losses as well as punitive damages.
The lawsuit stems from a series of discussions and hearings regarding a postal letter sent during the 2019 Loveland election regarding Fogle, who was running for re-election to his council seat at the time.
The mail depicts Councilor John Fogle as a giant cartoon octopus and was sent as Fogle was seeking re-election. In February 2020, the group responsible, Reality Check Colorado, reported to the Colorado Secretary of State that Krenning’s law firm was its only donor. The office donated $2,000 on October 9, two days after the group was formed.
Following discussions of city charter rules related to political campaigns listed in Section 17, Petersen and the law firm of Troy D. Krenning were charged by the city with violating Sections 17 -4, 17-6 and 17-9 of the Loveland town charter. be tried in municipal court. According to the charter, anyone who knowingly violates or fails to comply with any of the provisions of Section 17 “commits an offense and is liable to a fine or imprisonment”.
Krenning was found not guilty of the three charges of alleged city charter violation in March 2021. During that hearing, Krenning vowed to prosecute Moses Garcia and employees of the city attorney’s office in federal court for mistake.
The civil rights lawsuit filed by Krenning on March 31 says the charges against Petersen were dismissed following Krenning’s not guilty verdict, despite an objection from the defendant requesting a declaration of innocence.
In the lawsuit, Krenning dives into the timeline of how the mail was created and sent, with Petersen in touch with Patti Garcia regarding the finances of Reality Check Colorado, which was filed with the Colorado secretary of state as a Independent Spending Committee, and how the original complaint against her and Krenning arose.
Krenning claims in the lawsuit that the city’s charter specifically excludes any existing partnerships — such as Bloomstruck’s — that were previously established for purposes outside the scope of Section 17 as members of any “committee Politics”.
Krenning goes on to assert that, for this reason, Bloomstruck was, and still is, by express definition “unable to be or form a ‘political committee’ as defined by the city charter, let alone ‘not s ‘register’ or ‘do not register’. file the required reports’ as one.
Krenning said he filed the lawsuit because the city was wrong in bringing its original charges against Petersen and his office and continued to “lie about the circumstances and pretend they had done nothing wrong. “.
“The fact that the City of Loveland and all of its attorneys don’t understand the basic notion of their own charter is almost unbelievable,” he said. “For them to run off leash and start charging people for things that aren’t against the law should scare most people off.” If they can’t even step up and say they’re wrong and say they’re sorry, the alternative is to sue their ass.
He added that there will soon be a follow-up case to be filed by another attorney on behalf of his law firm regarding the same matter as Petersen.
Calderón, who is now Brighton City Solicitor, said she found no merit in the prosecution, adding that there was a lot of conjecture about how it was written.
“Everyone was just doing their job,” she said. “To be honest, suing people as individuals when it’s described in the complaint that everyone was acting in a professional capacity sounds a bit like harassment.”
Patti Garcia declined to comment while Moses Garcia reported to the city for comment.
According to a written comment, the city is “confident that it will prevail in the lawsuit and that the city’s laws relating to local election contribution reporting requirements are valid.”
Along with filing this lawsuit, Krenning plans to sue Moses Garcia for defamation in relation to an email he sent to city councilors following the filing of this civil rights lawsuit.
Krenning sent a Notice of Intent to Sue and Ask Moses Garcia on April 2 following an email Garcia sent to Loveland City Council.
In that email, provided in the notice, Moses Garcia wrote that Krenning alleged constitutional violations stemming from the former case against Bloomstruck LLC and Krenning himself for “non-compliance with the city’s reporting requirements for political donations”.
“The City is well positioned to respond to Plaintiff’s claims and defend the City’s proper and lawful response to Plaintiff and Mr. Krenning’s failure to comply with City law,” Garcia wrote.
Krenning claims in his notice that accusing him of committing a crime in Colorado is defamation, pointing out that the email infers that he and Bloomstruck LLC committed a crime even though Krenning’s office was found not to guilty and that the charges against Bloomstruck have been dismissed.
In this defamation case, Krenning is seeking $10,000, adding that if he sued, he would seek $10,000 plus special damages for no less than $30,000 plus court costs and fees. of lawyer.
“You can’t have someone found not guilty, and you can’t dismiss a case against someone and then go on to say they broke the law,” he said.
Krenning offered Moses Garcia an alternative demand in his notice – saying he would only accept $5,000 if Moses were to issue a written and public apology at the start of Tuesday’s city council meeting. However, Moses did not issue such an apology.
“It was a good deal that he should have taken advantage of,” Krenning said. “He will not be reappointed.”
The city, in its written response sent to the Reporter-Herald on Thursday, said Krenning’s claims had “no basis” and that “any use of privileged communication with the city council to advance the claim would appear inappropriate.” .