Judge orders Erie Mayor Joe Wilson to stay away from female tenant after clash over rental property

Deputies called over mayor-tenant disagreement

ERIE, Colo. - Erie Mayor Joe Wilson has been ordered by a judge to stay at least 100 yards away from a woman who rents a property he is trying to sell after confrontations between the mayor and the tenant last week drew police to the home.

The temporary protection order, requested by 65-year-old Karol Hopper, was granted by Boulder County Judge Noel Blum on Monday and requires that Wilson appear in court on March 18 to argue why the order shouldn't be made permanent.

The Daily Camera reports Blum's order also forbids the 54-year-old Wilson from coming within 100 yards of Hopper's home, which is in the 1400 block of North 111th Street, near the border of Lafayette and Erie.

Meanwhile, the Erie Board of Trustees has called for a special meeting at 5 p.m. Friday to discuss whether to appoint an independent party to look into whether the mayor's interest in the parcel on North 111th Street constitutes an ethics violation, the newspaper reported.

Wilson lists himself as an agent, principal and co-listing broker for the property's owner -- Cheyenne, Wyo.-based MCB Trust. He insists his dealings with Hopper are a private business matter and have nothing to do with his office, according to the Camera.

Hopper told the court she was seeking the protection order against the mayor because he had cut the security chain on the driveway gate a week ago and tried to "force his way into the house." She also accused Wilson of following her as she walked away from him, and felt his "body language becoming very hostile" and was "threaten (sic) by his demeanor."

"He was scaring me so bad, I was crying so hard that I could hardly speak with the 911 officer," Hopper wrote to the court. "I feared for my life, my heart was pounding 100 miles a minute. My friends could not believe that an official was acting so wild and crazy."

In a written statement Wilson provided law enforcement last week, he said he was trying to gain access to the property so that an insurance inspection could be performed on the house and that he had properly notified Hopper a day earlier, the Camera reported.

Wilson said he was notifying Hopper that she was in violation of the terms of her lease, including illegally boarding horses, failing to pay rent on time and running a dangerous electric line from the home to a trailer outside. Wilson said the tenant needed to correct those issues or vacate the property by the beginning of March.

Hopper disputes Wilson's claim that she's violated her lease agreement, the newspaper reported.

The mayor on Wednesday emailed the Camera his response to the protection order filed against him.

"It is as titled, but someone suggested it could be code for 'I still don't want to pay rent or comply with the lease...', and /or 'It may be a lawyer's successful attempt to manipulate an unwitting press,'" Wilson wrote. "I hope it's neither, time will tell. I take it seriously, and at face value."

Meanwhile, Erie Town Trustee Mark Gruber told the Camera he and his colleagues want to "protect the reputation of the urban renewal authority, the reputation of the Board of Trustees and the reputation of the Town of Erie" by making sure Wilson isn't improperly using his position as mayor in his real estate deals.

Wilson's role as agent for the nearly 5-acre property took shape shortly after Erie's urban renewal authority decided in December not to buy the parcel, which sits at the southeast corner of Arapahoe Road and U.S. 287, newspaper reported. That corner has been listed on the town's website as a "retail development opportunity."

"Our job is to ensure the citizens that everything is copacetic and that there hasn't been a conflict of interest, but on the other hand if there has been, we need to uncover it," Gruber told the Camera.

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