By: Suzie Glassman/NewsBreak Denver
(Castle Rock, CO) DougCo school board president and vice president Mike Peterson and Christy Williams may have to explain why statements made under oath contradict an audio recording released this morning by Robert Marshall, who is suing the school board for violating open meeting laws.
Marshall released the audio file and transcript of former superintendent Corey Wise's recording when Peterson and Williams asked him to resign or retire, or the board could decide to fire him with or without cause.
Marshall also released the February 25 trial transcript from the preliminary injunction hearing.
According to Marshall, "Peterson perjured himself when he testified under oath in an open court proceeding when he emphatically declared 'nor did we ask [Wise] to resign at that meeting' and 'we did not ask him to resign immediately. We asked him to consider a variety of options.'"
While the audio recording is sometimes challenging to hear, Peterson makes it clear that Wise has until the night he returns from vacation to make his decision. Peterson tells Wise that if he decides to resign, Peterson is willing to negotiate to pay his contract through the end of June.
If not, Peterson says, "if we have to go for cause, then, you know, we know what that looks like." While Peterson doesn't say it, firing a superintendent for cause means the district can void his contract.
Williams tells Wise in the recording, "I think we have, I think we have a pretty good case to be honest. I mean just to be frank I think that there's been a lot of, since the time we moved in I feel like there's probably been a lot of things happening behind the scenes to work against the four of us. So when I say me, I'm just talking about the four of us."
Peterson testified that the four majority board members hadn't decided to fire Wise until the public board meeting on February 4. But Peterson says in Wise's recording that the four board members are "absolutely committed to moving in a new direction."
Even Matthew Haggerty, attorney for the defense, had to acknowledge Peterson and Williams made conflicting statements during the trial. "You heard all of them testify, no decision was made. That was under oath. Their statements that were recorded were not under oath. They were under oath today, and today they testified no decision was made."
In his ruling, Judge Jeffrey K. Holmes said, "a superintendent's job "is clearly a matter of public business," and evidence showed those four board members "collectively committed, outside of public meetings," to fire the superintendent at a February 4 meeting.
Marshall accuses board members of perjury
Marshall stood before the board during this week's public meeting to highlight what he believes are criminal actions by the four majority board members.
I only thought it right and proper," said Marshall, "that if I am going to accuse someone of a crime who is in a position of public trust, that I do it eye to eye and face to face and give them fair warning.
"It's clear you lied under oath, aka perjury," said Marshall. "Dante's Inferno reserved the 8th level of Hell, out of nine, for perjurers and liars, and the Colorado Constitution bans anyone convicted of perjury from ever holding a position or office of public trust in the state.
"Yet one has to doubt in today's hyper-politicized environment if justice will be blindly administered, especially to those who intentionally try to undermine our justice system by lying under oath in court."
The plaintiff only subpoenaed Susan Meeks and Becky Myers to come to the court to testify, wrote Marshall in a press release. "Peterson and Williams VOLUNTARILY came into court on their own volition, raised their right hand, swore to tell the truth . . . and shamelessly lied without conscience. With obvious malice aforethought and by design and intent."
Marshall asked the other five board members to consider excusing Peterson and Williams from the board or hiring a neutral hearing officer to determine whether or not the two committed a crime.