Hall of Shame: Westword's worst of the worst from 2010
At the end of every year, Westword honors this town's worst of the worst — the characters whose misdeeds make our ears bleed and our eyes water — by inducting them into our Hall of Shame. Here are the 2010 inductees.
Remember all the hype about the iPad, which was unveiled last January? Bill Jordan and Brandon Smith will never forget it.
As Jordan was leaving the Cherry Creek mall with a newly purchased iPad in April, Smith grabbed the bag he was carrying, yanking it so hard that he ripped Jordan's pinkie finger to the bone. The cops later arrested Smith, caught on videotape by a security camera. Jordon had to have part of his finger amputated.
And as though Smith hadn't already done enough harm, in July he tried to put a hit on his victim from jail so that Jordan couldn't testify against him, police say. Is there an app for that? According to reports, Smith wrote a note to an acquaintance, asking him to kill Jordan. The note, which was intercepted by jail officials, included Jordan's home address.
Smith has now been charged with attempted murder.
Like an obstinate, hoodie-wearing bull in a china shop, 34-year-old Josh McDaniels singlehandedly shattered the pride of the Denver Broncos and infuriated an orange-bleeding fan base that has sold out the town's football stadium for four decades.
The trouble started when the former New England Patriots assistant coach alienated former quarterback Jay Cutler and continued from there, as McDaniels made one questionable personnel move after another, trading away potential stars, bringing in suspect free agents and making inexplicable choices in the last two drafts. Even his smaller decisions made no sense: Why didn't he put star rookie Tim Tebow in during blowouts? Why did he wait until the last minute to fly the team to London for a game against the 49ers? Why did he insist on imitating dark lord Bill Belichick's idiotic fashion sense?
"Josh, I am your father..."
In November, the NFL revealed that it would fine McDaniels and the Broncos $50,000 each for a taping incident being labeled Spygate II, in which a now-former Broncos employee recorded a Niners walk-through in London and offered it to the coach. McDaniels said he turned down the offer but didn't report it to the NFL.
Then, finally, with a 3-8 record this season, McDaniels was mercifully — for fans — fired. Should he have been let go so soon? A better question is whether he should have been chased out of town with torches or with icy snowballs.
Maybe he shouldn't have shaved the mustache he'd worn for a quarter of a century. Because, like Samson, once he lost his hair, the wheels began falling off for Scott McInnis, the six-term Western Slope Republican congressman.
Anointed by the state GOP, McInnis looked like a lock for the Republican nomination for governor, and the favorite to win the whole thing after Democratic governor Bill Ritter announced that he wouldn't run for re-election. But in July, just weeks before the GOP primary, it was revealed that McInnis had plagiarized a large part of a 150-page report on water that he'd submitted to the Hasan Family Foundation from a 1984 essay by future Colorado Supreme Court justice Gregory Hobbs; the Hasan family demanded to be repaid the $300,000 they'd given McInnis for his "Musings on Water."
Although McInnis denied that the heavy lifting had been his fault — he blamed it on his assistant, an 82-year-old former water official — his weak response cost him the primary and nearly cost the Republican Party its major-party status when eventual punchline Dan Maes became the GOP nominee. Former Republican rabble-rouser Tom Tancredo switched from the GOP to the American Constitution Party to run against both Maes and Democratic candidate John Hickenlooper, splitting the conservative vote.
The "McInnis effect" was largely responsible for Colorado's getting both a Democratic governor and a Democratic senator in November — bucking the national trend.
In June, fifty-year-old Gary Brooks Faulkner packed up his pistol, his forty-inch sword, a dagger and a pair of night-vision goggles for a little trip from Greeley to Afghanistan. The goal: to find and kill Osama bin Laden.
But the wannabe avenger ran into some trouble at the Afghan-Pakistani border, where he was detained by Pakistani officials. Apparently, the heavily armed (and heavily bearded) Faulkner stood out from the crowd. "He's not insane; he's not psychotic; he's as normal as you and I," Faulkner's brother Scott told one newspaper reporter.
We beg to differ. After returning home empty-handed but safe, Faulkner likened himself to bin Laden by referring to the pair as "two heavyweights" on the Late Show With David Letterman, then told the New York Post that he was in terrorists' cross hairs because of his commando mission. "They want me as bad as I want him," Faulkner said. "My family has already been instructed where not to go, what not to do, because of safety concerns."
Indeed, there were safety concerns, but not because of terrorists. In October, Faulkner was arrested and charged with domestic violence and third-degree assault in relation to a car accident involving a female friend.
Ron Perea inherited lots of problems when he took over as the city's manager of safety in June, but in just three months, he managed to make those problems much, much worse.
Perea's job was to oversee Denver's police, sheriff and fire departments. His first controversial act: suspending officer Eric Sellers for 45 days without pay after a police investigation determined that Sellers had beaten a 23-year-old man who had complained to the officer. Community activists were outraged by what they saw as light punishment; the city attorney's office had also warned Perea that he needed to come down hard on Sellers in order to uphold a recently implemented discipline system.
Then in August, Perea declined to fire two officers who had been videotaped beating Michel DeHerrera in LoDo; the video was circulated around the world. The two officers, Devin Sparks and Randy Murr, were docked three days' pay, and Perea determined that they hadn't used excessive force. That decision created even more of an uproar, prompting the city to rescind Perea's order on Sellers and to reopen the internal investigation of Sparks and Murr.
Under intense pressure from the public, Perea resigned. Mayor John Hickenlooper, who was running for governor at the time, insisted the decision was all Perea's. (Hickenlooper later asked the FBI to handle the case, but that never happened; the city has yet to complete its investigation.)
There are plenty of people to blame for the way these two instances of police brutality were handled, including Hickenlooper, the chief of police and other city officials. But Perea clearly deserved the beating he got.
Phillip Ray Greaves II
In November, Amazon.com took down a self-published book by Phillip Ray Greaves II, of Pueblo, after a public outcry. The reason? The title of the work speaks volumes: The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-lover's Code of Conduct.
Selling for $4.79, the e-book includes first-person descriptions of sexual encounters, supposedly written by children. Colorado police didn't file charges against the 47-year-old Greaves, though, because writing a book is not a crime.
But a Florida sheriff was so disgusted that he set up a sting operation, offering to buy a hard-copy version of the book if Greaves could mail it to him. When he did, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, working with Pueblo police, arrested Greaves in December and charged him with violating Florida's child-obscenity laws, which are more strict than Colorado's; the law makes child obscenity a felony, punishable by five years in prison. Greaves has since been extradited to Florida.
Judd told the Denver Post it was his goal to have Greaves "eating processed turkey here in jail on Christmas Day."
Good-natured Colorado residents raised about $100,000 for three women who said they'd been diagnosed with cancer in the past few years. The problem: All three were faking.
In September, 31-year-old Ann Crall was charged with theft, fraud and forgery after police said she lied about having cancer in order to collect $60,000 in donations. Some of the money came from the Lakewood Police Department's employee-assistance charity; her husband was on the force there. Crall had started telling people she had cancer in 2005, soliciting donations of money and food. Eventually, some began to suspect that she was faking; police say there is no evidence that Crall ever had the disease.
That same month, 38-year-old Julie Jane Martin was arrested in Aurora and accused of pretending to have brain cancer in order to receive money from another police charity, Cops Fighting Cancer. Police says Martin even shaved her head and faked hospital visits.
A third woman, thirty-year-old Tausha Marsh of Gunnison, had started telling people in 2004 that she had bone and cervical cancer, and raised $30,000 from donors; over time, her stories and fundraising schemes became more elaborate. She was arrested in 2009, convicted earlier this year and sentenced in September to a month in jail, four years of probation, 30,000 hours of community service and mandatory counseling. She was also ordered to pay back the money and compose handwritten apologies.
In March, Irish authorities arrested seven people, including 31-year-old Jamie Paulin-Ramirez of Leadville, charging them with being part of a terrorist plot to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who had drawn the prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog.
Paulin-Ramirez — who soon became known as "Jihad Jamie" — eventually flew to the United States, where she was arrested and now faces charges of supplying material support to terrorists along with co-conspirator Collen R. LaRose of Pennsylvania, known as "Jihad Jane."
According to police, Paulin-Ramirez, who had converted to Islam, left Colorado with her six-year-old son in September 2009 to live and train with a group of jihadists, one of whom — an Algerian man she'd met online — she married as soon as she arrived.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.