By Don Knox, LAW WEEK COLORADO
DENVER — An El Paso County woman who filed spurious liens against current and former Colorado legislators has ceased doing so for a good reason.
She’s been jailed.
Mary Severance was arrested in April on a 1996 civil contempt-of-court warrant. She rejected settlement offers in her case, according to a legislative summary of the matter presented Tuesday to the General Assembly’s joint Legal Services Committee. On Oct. 8, she was sentenced to 90 days in jail, and she was taken into custody after the hearing.
Severance also faces felony criminal charges for filing false documents. In the criminal case, Severance rejected the original plea offer of probation “but the offer remains open,” the legal staff said. “Mediation is scheduled for Dec 3, and a motions hearing is scheduled for the following day. Both parties should be prepared, if necessary, for trial on Dec. 14.”
The cases involved purported election contests filed with the Secretary of State’s office challenging the elections of Colorado Sens. Abel Tapia and Moe Keller, Rep. Sara Gagliardi and former Rep. Dorothy Butcher. All are Democrats. Severance “later filed documents that could be interpreted as liens against the property” of Tapia and Butcher.
Following an investigation, the legislature’s legal staff determined that Severance and Richard Ludwig had made “similar filings of spurious liens” in El Paso County against various Pueblo County officials. The various cases were combined into a single matter.
A settlement was reached with Ludwig in November 2008. It calls for him not file any other spurious documents.
The lawyers representing the legislature are Richard Kaufman and Lino Lipinsky de Orlov of the Denver office of McKenna Long & Aldridge.