Colorado trailer park owner accused of voter intimidation, attorney general says

Trailer park owner accused of voter intimidation, attorney general says

FORT MORGAN, Colo. — The Colorado Attorney General’s Office sent a cease-and-desist letter to the owner of a mobile home park who said his tenants' rent would rise if former Vice President Joe Biden is elected president.

“I mean, we can’t control how this whole election goes,” Cindy Marquez, who has lived 20 years at Pagel’s Trailer Park, told KUSA. “We can’t control what everyone else does, you know? We can’t control the results.”

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Mobile home park owner Bernie Pagel sent a letter to tenants Oct. 19 indicating that if the current administration remains in place, rent will not be raised for the next two years, The Denver Post reported. But if the challenger wins, “everything will be increased” and “most likely, rent would double in price.”

“Voting is your choice and we are not telling you how to vote. We are just informing our tenants what WE will do according to the election results,” Pagel wrote in the letter.

The Colorado Attorney General’s Office investigated. Last Friday, they hand-delivered Pagel a cease-and-desist letter for voter intimidation.

“(Pagel’s letter) constitutes unlawful voter intimidation in its coercion of Mobile Home Park homeowners/tenants or their immediate family members to vote a certain way by indicating economic consequences based on the outcome of an election,” the order states. “In particular, the (threat) attempts to induce homeowners/tenants to vote against a particular candidate by stating a significant increase in rent prices if one candidate wins the presidential election.”

The order did not come with a penalty but continued violations could result in penalties.

“Colorado law authorizes the Attorney General to take legal action to enjoin violations of the Election Code and take other actions, potentially including criminal prosecution, to protect the integrity of elections and to prevent voter intimidation,” the letter said.