The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission (IEC) has deemed a complaint filed against Monument Mayor Mitch LaKind nonfrivolous, and, according to the IEC’s Rules of Procedure, will begin an investigation. The complaint was filed by former GOP Majority Leader Amy Stephens and former Monument Town Trustees Kelly Elliot and Darcy Schoening, who is currently co-chair of the El Paso County chapter of Moms for Liberty.

The 249-page complaint stems from accusations of campaign finance violations during the November election’s Home Rule Charter initiative, in which the Town of Monument paid $2,512.50 to the Citizens for Home Rule issue committee for “Yes on 2A” signs and door hangers. Colorado law prohibits “any agency, department, board, division, bureau, commission, or council of the state or a political subdivision of this state from expending any money or make any contribution to urge electors to vote in favor or against any local ballot issue or referred measure.”

The Town of Monument hired attorney Grant Van Der Jagt to investigate the incident, and during the course of the investigation, according to the complaint, “began to hear from town ‘whistleblower’ employees about the town’s toxic, ‘good ol’ boy’ work environment.” In December, Colorado Times Recorder reported that Sean Hemingway, the former police chief for the Town of Monument, and Town Manager Mike Foreman, were investigated last summer for their conduct at a restaurant that involved Hemingway confronting a patron and allegedly using “Hiroshima” as a racial epithet. According to Van Der Jagt’s report, Foreman stood to benefit from the passage of the Home Rule Charter in that it would require a supermajority of the town council to vote to remove him from his position. 

Foreman (left) and Hemingway.

Van Der Jagt also “heard from two former Trustees that Mayor-elect LaKind had made an inappropriate sexual sexual comment to then-appointed Trustee Schoening. The comment was verified by another female board member, Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Elliot.” According to Van Der Jagt’s report, LaKind had commented, “Had I known you were giving out blowjobs to get appointed, I would have changed my vote.”

As a result of Van Der Jagt’s investigation, LaKind retained William Reed, who introduced himself as LaKind’s personal attorney during a December 28, 2022 Council meeting. In January, LaKind filed an ethics complaint, written by Reed, against Van Der Jagt, citing violations of attorney-client privilege and claiming that Van Der Jagt’s report displayed “legal incompetence.”

In April, the Monument Town Council voted to pay the $21,501 that LaKind owed Reed for legal services.

On Aug. 22, the IEC partially dismissed allegations made in the complaint against LaKind, noting “The complaint includes numerous allegations regarding conduct dating back to April 2022, most of which are untimely under § 5(3)(a) of Article XXIX or involve allegations over which the IEC lacks jurisdiction. The IEC will consider only: (1) the allegations that Respondent [LaKind] improperly attempted to influence members of the Town Council in February, March, and April, 2023, on a matter in which he had a personal or private interest; and (2) the allegations relating to Respondent’s possible conflicts of interest at an April 11, 2023, meeting of the Monument Town Council.”

In an emailed statement, LaKind described the claims as “unsubstantiated.” 

“I appreciate the opportunity to review and digest the complaint, which we just received late yesterday afternoon,” he said. “Upon cursory review, the complaint includes a handful of allegations that carry no merit and have already been dismissed by the IEC on August 23, 2023.  It is worth noting that the IEC has already asked for our response on two very narrow issues and the Town of Monument will respond within the 30-day timeframe. Because of these active investigations, I have been advised not to speak on those.

“What I can say is we have absolutely nothing to hide and have been above board with our community, council members and staff and look forward to sharing our side of the story once the IEC investigation formally concludes. As an upstanding citizen of this community, and with a passion for the town in which I serve, I appreciate the understanding for myself and my family as we continue to navigate these unsubstantiated claims.”