Councilman Scott Hente rebuffed accusations lodged today by at-large City Council candidate Douglas Bruce that he sent an e-mail to city employees at work encouraging them not to vote for Bruce and other members of the self-proclaimed Reform Team.
“I used my private e-mail to send an e-mail to other private e-mails,” Hente said. “I went back – I wanted to be sure – so I went back and checked twice. I did not send them to any city or utility or Memorial e-mail address.”
“All I did was exercise my First Amendment rights,” he said. “It seems to me that (Bruce is) upset that somebody else has the audacity to exercise their First Amendment right.”
But Hente, who has refused to release his work e-mails in the past, said he wouldn’t share the list of e-mail addresses with the news media to prove he’s telling the truth.
“Absolutely not,” he said.
So, Councilman Hente, we’re all just supposed to believe you?
“I’ve never lied to you guys yet,” he responded. “I’m not going to start now.”
Bruce accused Hente of breaking the law by sending out a political e-mail to city employees. Bruce called a press conference to level the accusations.
“If it’s going out on city computers, if he’s using his city computer to send it, if it’s received on city computers, if it’s going to city employee official e-mail addresses, that’s all illegal,” Bruce said before the press conference.
In the e-mail, Hente said he was trying to reach as many city employees as possible, which Bruce took as proof that Hente had sent the e-mail to city e-mail addressess.
“The voters this year have to not only decide on a new Mayor, but seven of the nine Council positions,” Hente wrote in the March 16 e-mail.
“There are some excellent choices for Mayor and for the open positions on Council. Unfortunately, there is a group of Council candidates – a self-proclaimed slate – that if elected, will devastate the City. This group consists of Douglas Bruce, Ed Bircham, Richard Bruce, Helen Collins, and Gretchen Kasameyer. In the actual words of their organizer, their real intent is to Destroy Colorado Springs,” he wrote.
Bruce called the e-mail an abuse of power.
But when pressed by a reporter to provide proof that Hente had sent it to city employees at work, Bruce said it wasn’t his responsibility.
“It isn’t up to me to prove beyond a reasonable doubt something that (Hente) has actively concealed,” he said. “I’m trying to get the media to cooperate to get the information so this is your chance to be Woodward and Bernstein, so why don’t you take it?”
Fair enough, Mr. Bruce, an open-records request will be filed with the city shortly.