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Denver Issues 'Cease and Desist' Letter to Former Auditor

DENVER (CBS4) -- Denver's City Attorney has issued a cease and desist letter to former City Auditor Dennis Gallagher after Gallagher emailed more than 8,600 city workers this past Sunday on city email systems urging them to reject Mayor Michael Hancock and vote for challenger Jamie Giellis in the upcoming Mayoral election.

Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher
Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher (credit: Denver Auditor Facebook Page)

The emailed letter from Gallagher and former Deputy Manager of Public Works Dennis Royer said under the Hancock administration, Denver had turned into a "consultants dream" and that the former employees were "Deeply saddened by what has happened over the last few years."

The two-page letter obtained earlier this week by CBS4 hammered the Hancock administration for what was termed "pay-to-play" relationships with consultants.

"Its an inside game and the only winners are the insiders," reads the Gallagher letter.

Gallagher told CBS4, "I received the list from a friend who did a CORA request a couple of years ago. Once you have the city employee list, you have the city email list. I did have a couple of former students of mine help me with this."

The former auditor went on to say, "I sent the email to city employees as a citizen of Denver. I did not use any public resources in this process. As a citizen I have the right to communicate with the employees who work for the taxpayers."

The city characterized the Gallagher letter as "unauthorized email" and fired back in a letter to Gallagher dated Wednesday, which was authored by Rob Nespor with the Denver's City Attorney's office.

Nespor wrote that City rules forbid city employees from engaging in political activities during work hours: "You are putting our city employees in the position of inadvertently, through no fault of their own, violating city rules by reviewing political communications while on the job."

He said that city workers who forward the Gallagher email could theoretically be in violation of city personnel rules and subject to discipline. Nespor called what Gallagher did an "inappropriate drain on city resources" and asked Gallagher to cease and desist from further use of city emails for campaign purposes.

"I am certain that some did use their city computers to open their emails," Gallagher told CBS4. "During my 20 years with the city I received many outside communications which had a political spin. I also can tell you that the vast majority of city employees do not open their emails, especially if they come from me."

Gallagher served three terms as Denver Auditor before leaving office in 2015. He has also served as a Denver city council member and state senator and state representative.

You can read the full cease and desist letter here.

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