A nasty war of words has erupted between El Paso County Public Trustee Tom Mowle and Lisa Czelatdko, who is running for the District 3 City Council seat in Tuesday’s election.
There’s more, but here’s a sneak peek: Czelatdko called Mowle a crabby “jerk” and a “big baby,” and Mowle accused Czelatdko of making “up lies out of whole cloth,” according to emails obtained by The Gazette.
The fight started when Czelatdko sent Mowle and others a message via Facebook this weekend in which Czelatdko asked for support “to win the District 3 council seat.”
Mowle says he declined and included a response along the lines of: “Why am I on this list? Michael Merrifield is the best candidate for District 3.”
The message apparently set Czelatdko off.
“Wow, I knew you were crabby Tom but not such a jerk too!” Czelatdko said in a direct Facebook message to Mowle on Sunday. “Ill take me (sic) off your lists you big baby!”
The same day, Czelatdko sent members of the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments’ Community Advisory Committee an e-mail chastising Mowle. Czelatdko and Mowle both serve on the committee.
“I would like the board to be aware that fellow PPACG CAC member, Tom Mowle, has sent me very unprofessional, hostile, and rude comments both personally and posted publicly on my facebook account,” Czelatdko wrote.
“Tom, as a citizen, I am so thankful that you are ending your role as a public servant because someone so close minded and bitter has absolutely no place dealing with the public or representing any of us citizens,” she wrote.
“Despite personal feelings towards someone, I would never disrespect, be cruel, or embarrass a fellow volunteer member. Its (sic) immature and it has no place on a volunteer board,” Czelatdko wrote, adding that having Mowle as the committee’s vice chair is “an embarrassment and mistake.”
One of the committee members, Trajn Boughan, reacted with disbelief.
“Lisa, please talk directly to Tom-M. There might be ‘identity theft’ of his name going on … who knows?” Boughan wrote Sunday night.
Mowle broke his silence this morning.
“Hate to get involved in politics from work, but this is getting a bit out of control,” he wrote in an email to committee members. “I am disappointed that Lisa would make up lies out of whole cloth and distribute them to my friends and colleagues. Unfortunately, that requires me to respond.”
Mowle also told the group that Czelatdko has sent him “several emails to my work account” asking for his support.
“I emailed her: ‘Lisa, Please do not send campaign-related emails to my official email. I also do not live in your district. Tom. As a tip, however, sending people almost the exact same email 3 times in one weekend will not leave the best first impression.’”
Mowle said he “politely” advised Czelatdko not to him send him emails at work.
“Politely?” Czelatdko responded in an email that went to all the committee members. “I think anyone who has worked or sat with you on a board for 5 minutes knows exactly how you are Tom.”
Mowle also explained the exchange on Facebook in which Czelatdko called him a jerk and a big baby.
“I shared that response with some of my friends so they could see the kind of temperament Lisa has. Up until that point, I had no personal feelings positive or negative about Lisa,” he wrote. “But the ‘big baby’ response – to a posting simply sharing my support for her opponent – does not strike me as reflecting the civility – or, since she used the word below, maturity — I’d like to see on my City Council. That should have been the end of it, but now Lisa is escalating this with false, frankly libelous statements.”
In an interview, Mowle said he didn’t want to “escalate” the feud “if this is going to be embarrassing for Lisa.”
He added: “I guess campaigns are fairly stressful. I don’t know.”
Czelatdko did not return a phone call for comment or answer questions via Facebook.