DENVER — Republican Walker Stapleton is going to get back every penny he paid to get himself on the primary ballot for governor in 2018, according to a ruling Friday from Denver District Court Judge Morris Hoffman.
The judge ordered Kennedy Enterprises to pay $235,821 plus costs and interest for breaching its contract with Stapleton’s campaign.
“I feel vindicated because my integrity and the character of the campaign and me individually as a statewide elected official were directly called into question as a result of Mr. Kennedy’s actions,” Stapleton said after the verdict.
The civil case centered around a few weeks in March and April of 2018, when Stapleton, who was Colorado’s treasurer at the time, tried to get on the Republican primary ballot for governor. Stapleton’s campaign chose to collect the required number of signatures rather than going through the state assembly process and hired Dan Kennedy’s firm to make that happen.
Everything was going smoothly until a news story broke that a man named Daniel Velasquez was caught on tape claiming to have gathered signatures for Stapleton even though he wasn’t legally allowed to do so. Stapleton’s campaign manager, Michael Fortney, told the judge he repeatedly asked Kennedy whether this was true, and Kennedy repeatedly assured him no one by the name Velasquez gathered signatures for the campaign.