Caloia faces lawsuit over Marble town clerk thefts
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Ninth Judicial District Attorney Sherry Caloia is about to be sued by the Town of Marble, where she used to be a contract town attorney, in an attempt by the town to recover money allegedly stolen over an undetermined period by former Town Clerk Karen Mulhall.
Caloia, who was elected to her post last year, confirmed to the Post Independent on Wednesday that she had received an email this week alerting her to the impending lawsuit.
“It does appear that I will be sued by Marble,” Caloia said somberly, explaining that she expects the suit to be filed in the Ninth Judicial District Court in Glenwood Springs, in the same building where the DA’s office is located.
”They’re asking for $329,000,” Caloia added.
Attorney Marcus Lock, who represents Marble, declined to comment on the matter other than to say, “The action has not yet been filed.”
Marble Mayor Robert Pettijohn could not be reached for comment on the matter on Wednesday.
According to authorities, Mulhall, who worked for the town for 18 years, stole money from the town’s accounts over the course of several years before being dismissed in 2012.
A 2012 internal investigation into the town’s accounts, conducted by Alpine Bank officials, turned up discrepancies that led to a probe by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the results of which have yet to be made public.
Although the CBI investigation focused on allegations that Mulhall stole more than $300,000, the mayor told the Post Independent last year that he believed the total amount stolen was closer to $800,000.
Mulhall’s body was found in a Denver area motel in late October 2012, and while an official cause of death has never been made public, persistent rumors around town have indicated she committed suicide.
The town kept a lid on the matter until November 2012, when Lock issued a press release stating that the CBI investigation had begun.
According to Caloia, “This isn’t the first time they told me they were going to sue,” adding that she recently paid the town “a little more than $30,000,” that the town said had been routed through Caloia’s business while Mulhall worked for Caloia, from 2007 to late 2012.
“Karen did, in fact, launder Marble money through my firm,” Caloia told the Post Independent. She said the town demanded she pay them $30,000 or so, and that “the number they gave me was how much I paid.”
She said it appeared that Mulhall had written checks to Caloia’s firm out of the town’s accounts, and then paid herself the amount given on the face of the check.
“I wasn’t paying attention, as I should have been,” Caloia admitted, adding, “She did it over a couple of years.”
Caloia herself, who did legal work for the town “as they needed things done,” stopped working for Marble in 2012.
The town government, Caloia said, is accusing her of failing to adequately supervise Mulhall’s work as town clerk, a role that Caloia said was not hers to perform.
“It’s unfortunate,” Caloia said. “She stole money from me, she stole money from Marble.”
But, she stressed, “I got no money from Marble. I had nothing to do with the finances. It’s just heartbreaking for me. But, it is what it is. I can’t change it, and I don’t want to hide it. I want to be as transparent as possible here.”
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