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Amid ongoing Colorado criminal investigation, Lakeside town trustees say "We can't continue this type of behavior"

Lakeside Town Trustees: "We can't continue this type of behavior"
Lakeside Town Trustees: "We can't continue this type of behavior" 03:01

Two trustees for the town of Lakeside say that despite an ongoing criminal investigation that appears to revolve around the town's mayor and his daughter, not much has changed in the last eight months, and the town is still being run "as a family business."

Diana Thao is one of two members of Lakeside's board of trustees who agreed to be interviewed by CBS News Colorado. She said, "we can't continue this type of behavior, especially when we're dealing with tax dollars and government properties."

A second member of the board of trustees, Henry Schueller, said it was a "conflict of interest" that Robert Gordanier continues to be Lakeside's police chief and serve as its Mayor Pro Tem during an active criminal investigation.

Gordanier served as Lakeside's Mayor, Police Chief, and Fire Chief for decades and hired his daughter, Brenda Hamilton, as town clerk. 


Lakeside also hired her mother to do part-time work, hired a cousin for a full-time job, and paid Hamilton's husband nearly $50,000 in 2022 for remodeling work on town facilities.

In September of 2023, CBS News Colorado reported Hamilton and her family were able to buy three vehicles from the town that had been used as police cars. 

In two cases, records showed Hamilton's father, Gordanier, signed the bills of sale, but he said they were blank, and he let someone else fill in the details like the purchase price for the vehicles.

"I imagine Brenda did," said Gordanier. "She wanted to buy 'em, and so I sold them. It was a lot easier just to do it and be done with it than having to advertise or anything." 

Robert Gordanier CBS

The cars appeared to have sold for far less than fair market value. 

A Tahoe SUV was purchased by Hamilton for $300.

Documents and interviews showed that in two of the vehicle sales, Hamilton later sold the vehicles to members of the public for far more than her purchase price. She said she did nothing wrong. 

In October of 2023, the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office announced it was opening a criminal investigation into the allegations surrounding the vehicle sales. In December, the town placed Brenda Hamilton on paid administrative leave.

But Gordanier's position as police chief has remained unchanged, and he now serves as Lakeside's Mayor Pro Tem, allowing him to vote on policies, procedures, and town affairs.

"He should be held accountable for what he allowed our town clerk to do," said Thao. "I think selling government property at a discount to benefit you or friends or family is just not acceptable." 

Last month, Thao and Schueller voted against allowing Gordanier to serve as Mayor Pro Tem. 

Thao said, "this decision is grounded in the ongoing investigation concerning the sales of government vehicles and past government purchases, issues that fell under his authority and involved his daughter, Town Clerk Brenda Hamilton." 

Thao said Gordanier is no longer allowed to participate in the town trustees' executive sessions. 

"I believe it is imperative to prioritize transparency and accountability in our governance," said Thao. "And until these concerns are adequately addressed, I cannot lend my support to this appointment." 

But Thao said three other trustees voted in favor of making Gordanier Mayor Pro Tem, and she and Schueller lost the battle by a 3-2 vote.

Gordanier did not respond to an email inquiry sent by CBS News Colorado, and an attorney representing Gordanier and Hamilton said it was unlikely they would have any comment during a pending criminal investigation.

Schueller said he believed Gordanier and his daughter were "absolutely not acting with integrity" in their handling of the town vehicles.

"He should not be police chief, should not be on the board," said Thao. 

"How come he is still here?" she asked. "To me, it violates public trust at this point."

Tim Flynn, Lakeside's town attorney, said in the last eight months, changes have been made to town policies and procedures, including a new, stricter credit card policy. Flynn said a new town purchasing policy is under discussion. "There's more oversight as to what's going on in the town," said Flynn.

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