The second kickback trial of former Jeffco treasurer Mark Paschall is scheduled to begin July 28, a proceeding that could once again shine a light on the county’s inner political turmoil.
Paschall, who was acquitted of a charge of attempted theft in February during the first trial, still faces a charge of compensation for past official behavior for allegedly offering Kathy Redmond, one of his two political appointees, an $18,000 post-tax bonus on the condition she give him half.
The alleged offer to Redmond reportedly came in the waning days of Paschall’s job as county treasurer in December 2006. Redmond then reported the alleged offer to County Commissioner Jim Congrove, who notified Jeffco District Attorney Scott Storey.
Paschall was originally charged with two felonies, criminal attempted theft and compensation for past official behavior. He will be retried on the second charge after the first jury was unable to reach a verdict on it.
In a strange twist, Congrove called Storey recently and urged him to drop the charges against Paschall.
"I have talked to him about not prosecuting that," Congrove said in a phone interview July 15. "It serves no purpose. It does nothing for the community."
Congrove's opposition to the upcoming trial stands in stark contrast to the fact that he initiated the investigation into Paschall. In addition, Congrove said after the first trial that Paschall's attorney used "smoke and mirrors" to get him acquitted.
Congrove was on the prosecution's witness list during the first trial in February but did not testify. Paschall's defense attorney said the charges against his client were "political payback" by Congrove — because Paschall had refused to tell Congrove about his testimony before a grand jury investigating the commissioner in yet another case.
Congrove and Paschall have a political history that includes time as allies while they were serving as state lawmakers. Later, Paschall gave Congrove a political appointment when he was elected county treasurer and before Congrove became a commissioner.
Congrove didn't see anything odd about his reversal.
"He was found not guilty," Congrove said. "The question is, ‘What are you doing, Mr. Storey? Why are you continuing this? How do we, in the community, benefit from what you're doing here?’ "
Storey — through spokesperson Pam Russell — declined to comment on the phone call with Congrove or on any issues related to Paschall's upcoming trial.
Congrove said Storey was "not receptive" to his requests to drop the remaining charge against Paschall.
Contact AJ Vicens at firstname.lastname@example.org.