DENVER – A Denver City Council member on Monday called for an independent investigation into Mayor Michael Hancock’s brewing sexual harassment scandal, saying a probe would provide “a full and accurate accounting” to the public.
In a letter to the mayor that was obtained by The Denver Post, Councilman Rafael Espinoza questions whether the council was given complete information during a 2016 legal briefing about a $200,000 settlement paid to a former mayoral aide. That aide, Wayne McDonald, challenged his firing in 2012 over sexual harassment allegations lodged by a member of Hancock’s security detail.
Denver police detective Leslie Branch-Wise, who received a $75,000 settlement from the city for the McDonald matter in 2013, made the texts public in a Feb. 27 interview with Denver7. A chastened Hancock quickly apologized — characterizing the text messages as inappropriate, but not as sexual harassment, as others (including Espinoza) have charged.