AURORA, Colo. — A newly released email shows that a spokesperson for Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder Joan Lopez advised her to stop dodging questions from reporters.
Lopez has refused to answer questions about an ethics investigation into her travel spending and her handling of the hotly-contested Aurora mayoral race. Winna MacLaren, who is no longer with the office, told Lopez she had an obligation to the public as an elected official.
"If you are faced with the very real prospect of dodging reporters, that brings in another level of undue stress and will almost assuredly reflect poorly... elected officials have a duty to respond to whenever possible," MacLaren wrote in an email to the clerk.
MacLaren's email to Lopez on Nov. 25 was obtained by 9NEWS through the Colorado Open Records Act.
MacLaren left the office Dec 2. It's not clear whether she resigned or was fired. MacLaren declined 9NEWS’ request for comment.
Lopez's new spokesman wouldn't discuss whether MacLaren was fired, and the county said it cannot yet provide her termination record in response to a records request.
No one has contested the results of the mayoral race, which Republican Mike Coffman officially won a week after the election. But Lopez was questioned about how she could ensure the 2019 ballot count was handled in a nonpartisan way, particularly after she endorsed a Democrat in the city council race.
“I think, um, it is very partisan right now as far as, um, the political climate,” Lopez told 9NEWS reporter Steve Staeger in an interview on Nov. 7.
“I don’t know how to answer that,” she said looking to her MacLaren, who was standing off-camera.
After a little help from MacLaren, Lopez explained then that her office conducts tours to ensure the public can have faith in the count. She also explained that bi-partisan teams pick up, open, count and tabulate ballots, and there are bi-partisan judges adjudicating discrepancies with signatures.
A pending ethics complaint examines Lopez's spending on a trip to Florida. A hearing on the complaint is scheduled for Friday.
The Arapahoe Republican Party has called for her resignation.
It was announced earlier this week that Lopez's deputy, Marissa Chamberlain, was stepping down to a manager's role.
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