The story in Glitter Gulch this week is one of blackmail, video cameras, small-time and big-time politics, sex, corruption and, of course, money. But the local newspapers refuse to report the story, apparently because they want a loser to win.
Here’s the story, as reported initially in Breitbart and now picked up by half a dozen outlets.
Democrat Adam Frisch is running to unseat conservative firebrand Lauren Boebert in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. Frisch was an Aspen city councilman for eight years, stepping down in 2019. According to an article in the Aspen Times at the time he stepped down, “some constituents thought he oscillated, or that he voted whatever way the political winds were blowing.”
Frisch’s response was “I was being pragmatic and people appreciated that . . . But people saw me making the sausage in my head and thought I was being wishy-washy. … I would’ve been more effective if I talked less.”
One of those constituents has offered an alternative reason for Frisch’s wishy-washy, pragmatic, sausage making. He says he blackmailed Frisch for his, um, oscillating.
The constituent was a local businessman who ran a taxi company. Aspen was considering letting the shared ride service Lyft into town, a proposal that Frisch publicly favored as a city councilman.
It would have devastated the constituent’s taxi business. But then he got a break. The constituent had a few storage units in town which he rented out. Let’s let the constituent tell the story now:
“I said, ‘gee I wonder what’s going on?’ I went upstairs and was talking to my general manager about it and said, ‘why don’t you go look?’ My general manager . . . opened the door and my general manager saw Adam having sex with the woman that rented the storage unit. My general manager came back upstairs and came running into the office and was red and laughing hysterically. We continued to laugh hysterically in the office for quite some time. I called a few of my buddies and they got a laugh out of it. Sex in a storage unit? Who wouldn’t?”
Both Frisch and the woman were and are married, just not to each other. The constituent emailed Frisch, asking him to reconsider his support of the Lyft proposal. Attached to the email was the clip from the storage unit surveillance camera. Frisch got back to the man immediately and explained that he was indeed reconsidering his support for Lyft. Frisch continued to email the man in later days detailing his turnaround against the proposal. And the proposal then died.
The constituent seems to recognize the moral if not legal implications of this. He said:
“It absolutely was blackmail. I’m a straight shooter. Was it the right thing to do? No, it probably wasn’t the right thing to do. Was it a necessary thing to do based on the situation and me fighting for our survival and the fact that the city was trying to totally go above and beyond any purview they had to put me out of business basically? It was my fight for survival. I made a choice, just like Adam made a choice to sleep with the woman in the storage unit. I made a choice to use the information I had for my benefit.”
The legal implication apparently unrecognized by this constituent is that blackmail is a crime in Colorado, as it is most places. For his part, Frisch has said very little about the story, other than to vaguely pronounce it “a lie.”
Back to the Aspen newspapers. As of this writing, neither has reported this story. There are actually several stories here, none of which they’ve reported.
The least of these stories is that the abandonment of the Lyft proposal was apparently tainted with corruption. The next is that a former Aspen city councilman who switched his position on the proposal was apparently being blackmailed. The next is that this alleged blackmail is coming to light just three weeks before this former city councilman’s election against a conservative Republican.
If the blackmail story is true, it’s news that a political candidate was successfully blackmailed. If it’s untrue, then it’s news that an untrue allegation of blackmail against this candidate has been made.
But the Aspen newspapers just want it to go away. Their desire that this guy win outweighs whatever is left of their journalism.
One more thing. In one of Frisch’s initial broadcast emails drumming up support for his candidacy to unseat Boebert, he dubbed her “Boebert the Betrayer.” I thought “betrayer” was an odd and amateurish bit of name-calling. Now I conclude it may have been a bit of projection on Frisch’s part.