Off Limits

Net loss: On Monday, former Denver Post business reporter David Algeo was sentenced to ninety days in the Jefferson County jail, eight years supervised probation and a $2,000 fine for having sex with a fourteen-year-old girl he met and seduced over the Internet. (After their first--and last--assignation, the big-spending Algeo took the girl to Taco Bell for dinner.) Algeo pleaded guilty on July 20 to felony sexual assault and enticement of a child.

At sentencing, Algeo's attorney, Steven Gayle, told judge Michael Villano that jail time was unnecessary because his client had already suffered enough: Algeo's wife and young son have relocated to another state, he's lost his job at the Post, and public scrutiny has ruined his reputation. The day after Algeo was fired by the Post (a full six months after charges were filed, during which time he kept his byline and his paycheck), he started working as a "day laborer for $10 an hour" so that he could continue to support his family and pay court costs, Gayle said. "There's no need to kick a man, legally, when he's already as far down as he can get," the attorney added.

But the victim's grandmother told Villano that Algeo needed to serve at least some jail time in order for justice to be served. "I don't like Mr. Algeo," she said, "but I don't hate him, either." The victim's aunt also asked the court to give Algeo a stiff sentence. "I've stood side by side with [Algeo's] wife at Boy Scouts," said the aunt, "but we must get criminals off the streets and the Internet."

Before Villano handed down his sentence, the 42-year-old Algeo made a brief statement about how he accepted full responsibility for the December 30, 1997, liaison. He then turned to apologize to his teenaged accuser, who sat with several relatives in the front rows of the courtroom gallery.

Gayle made a last-ditch attempt to stave off immediate incarceration for his client, claiming that Algeo needed to finalize the sale of his home before starting his jail sentence. But Judge Villano replied that any papers requiring Algeo's signature could be brought to him in jail.

At least he'll be able to keep up with his writing.

Talk is cheap: Algeo wasn't the only media type in court Monday. Radio yakker Peter Boyles made a return appearance before Denver District Court judge Herbert Stern, who two weeks ago slapped Boyles with a $20,000 contempt fine for refusing to reveal sources and ordered the talk-show host to pay attorney's fees for plaintiff Brian Gordon, a Denver cop suing Boyles and Jacor Communications for slander in connection with a show that aired on KHOW-AM in April 1997.

Boyles has yet to be deposed in the suit, but he's already been socked with fines ten times as high as those imposed on Algeo for having sex with a child. However, legal eagles who packed the court Monday looking for more First Amendment action were disappointed. Since Jacor has appealed the fines, and since Stern is scheduled to rotate to another court soon, the judge put any further action in the case on hold until the Colorado Court of Appeals can rule on Jacor's motion.

Meanwhile, RTD chairman and part-time radio blabber Jon Caldara took his case directly to the people Tuesday, when he made an unwelcome appearance on behalf of the anti-Referendum B campaign at the pro-B rally at the Capitol. If Colorado's movers and shakers didn't like it when Caldara led the anti-Guide the Ride crusade last November, they really don't like him battling to give the state's entire surplus back to the people. If voters pass B, they'll allow the state to retain a significant percentage of the surplus--but Colorado's plan to spend it on highways and other measures, Caldara says, has so many loopholes it "makes Guide the Ride look precise."

A few months ago it was rumored that Caldara would lead the anti-stadium campaign, a rumor that spawned the rumor that he switched to the anti-B campaign at the behest of stadium-boosting (and occasionally Caldara-employing) Jacor. Not true, says Caldara. Not only can he, like Boyles, bash the stadium as much as he likes when he subs for one of KOA-AM's hosts, but, "I'm so low on the totem pole, they don't care what I say."

And he's got plenty to say. "The stadium fight would be a hell of a lot more fun, but B is a more important issue," Caldara says. "It's the equivalent of four Bronco stadiums and has some very lasting repercussions. If this passes, we will not see tax reform in this state for at least five years."

Or a full refund of our surplus tax dollars anytime soon.


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