Civil Service

In this town, everyone seems to know Mary Louise Starkey, head of the Starkey International Institute of Household Management. She often invites local luminaries to her Logan Street mansion, one of the preeminent butler schools in the country, for formal dinners served in grand style by her Jeeveses-in-training.

These social contacts came to light on September 14, when Starkey showed up for her scheduled trial in Denver County criminal court; she is accused of assaulting a student, Lisa Kirkpatrick ("At Your Disservice," August 9). When Starkey's case was called, Judge Andre Rudolph recused himself. "I know Mrs. Starkey. I've been over to her place on Logan," he said. "I have an autographed copy of Mrs. Starkey's book in my chambers. I certainly can't deal with this case."

The trial was rescheduled for November 13 with a new judge, much to the disappointment of Kirkpatrick, who had flown to Denver from Tennessee. "I'm just really frustrated," says Kirkpatrick, who has claimed that Starkey grabbed her roughly by the neck on February 7 because Starkey was upset about Kirkpatrick's appearance.

Before the trial begins, however, the new judge, Claudia Jordan, will hold a hearing to decide whether information about a second alleged assault by Starkey can be considered. In the other case, former Starkey International teacher Raymond Champion claimed Starkey pushed him and threw a glass of juice on him when he quit his job in May; Starkey, in turn, accused Champion of making threats and disturbing the peace during the confrontation. Both of those cases were dismissed in September.

The delay gives Starkey more time to focus on her annual Restoring the Art Conference for Private Service Professionals, being held at the Adam's Mark Hotel, 1550 Court Place, September 20 to 22. Among the speakers will be Wall Street Journal> writer Robert Frank, who included a largely flattering description of Starkey International in his recent book, Richistan. As for Starkey, she declined to answer questions. "Wait till the end," she said with a sly grin. "The truth will prevail."


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