DENVER – Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was held in contempt Thursday after he failed to honor a subpoena to testify at an ethics hearing about whether he accepted improper gifts while in office and failed to disclose them.
The extraordinary move by the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission came in the middle of a day-long trial about a series of flights Hickenlooper took on corporate jets and his attendance at the exclusive Bilderberg meetings in Italy in 2018.
“By failing to honor the subpoena of the commission, the respondent has indicated a disrespect for the rule of law,” said Commissioner Bill Leone, a former U.S. attorney.
The commission voted unanimously to hold Hickenlooper in contempt but put a decision about sanctions against him on hold until Friday.
On Monday, the commission issued a subpoena for Hickenlooper to appear at the video-conference hearing, and a Denver judge upheld the request in a ruling Wednesday that dismissed Hickenlooper’s claims that the format would impinge on his due-process rights.
Hickenlooper, who is a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, never showed. Instead, he filed an appeal minutes before the hearing began at 9 a.m. The commission directed Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser to seek enforcement of the subpoena but Hickenlooper again appealed the move.
When it came time for Hickenlooper’s testimony near 2 p.m., he remained absent.
“At this time, we call John Hickenlooper,” said Suzanne Staiert, the attorney for the Public Trust Institute, the conservative nonprofit behind the complaint.
Hickenlooper never answered. “He is not appearing. He is pursuing an appeal,” replied Mark Grueskin, the state-funded attorney representing Hickenlooper.
This is a developing story. Check the Colorado Sun’s websites for updates.