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Denver activist sues mayor, sheriff alleging contract was pulled in retaliation

Author: Adam McCoy - April 5, 2018 - Updated: April 5, 2018

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Lisa Calderon, Colorado Latino Forum, Denver Justice Project, rally, police accountability, Office of Independent Monitor, charter amendment, Denver City Council

She’s a community activist and a loud critic of the Denver mayor and sheriff. And earlier this week, she became the plaintiff in a federal lawsuit against city leaders.

Late last month, we told you about Lisa Calderón — leader of transitional services organization Community Re-entry Project (CRP) —  crying foul when the organization’s contract in Denver’s jail system was allowed to expire and city officials looked to award a pact to a new provider.

Calderón turned to the U.S. District Court in Denver to air the grievance, filing a suit against Denver Mayor Michael Hancock; Sheriff Patrick Firman; Jess Vigil, the deputy director of the city’s Department of Safety; and Andrew Albo, the chief of staff at the Denver Sheriff Department, 9news reports.

The suit obtained by 9news claims those Denver officials denied Calderón “her rights under the First Amendment by failing to renew and/or award her City contract in retaliation for her speaking out about matters of public concern.”

Calderón co-chairs a ballot initiative campaign to make the Denver County sheriff an elected official, as opposed to an official appointed by the mayor.

It was her comments on “discrimination against African Americans in the sheriff department and the reorganization of the agency to exclude African Americans and Latinos from executive leadership” that prompted officials to deny the contract as retaliation, Calderón claims.

The suit also alleges Albo solicited other bidders for the contract and spread a rumor about an affair between Calderón and a demoted chief at the Denver Sheriff Department.

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy covers Denver-area politics for Colorado Politics.