Dozens of members of the Colorado media recently received a press release asserting that "thousands" of students would be lining up to speak during the public-comments section of the June 10 Denver School Board meeting, to protest the panel's hiring of a "crisis management firm to suppress and manipulate student rape victims," in another act of the drama swirling around boardmember Tay Anderson.
And there's a new character in that drama: Knowledgeable sources tell Westword there's a strong likelihood the release and alleged protest is a stunt being orchestrated by one Joseph A. Camp, whose entry on the Politics1 website describes him as a "Talent Agent, Felon & Frequent Candidate."
He's a lot more than that.
Of course, the controversy involving Anderson is real. On March 26, Black Lives Matter 5280 released a claim that he had sexually assaulted an unidentified woman — an assertion he energetically denied even as the board launched an independent investigation. Then, on May 25, Denver Public Schools parent Mary-Katherine Brooks Fleming offered testimony before the Colorado House judiciary committee asserting that 61 high school students and a recent graduate had come to her alleging that an unnamed person in a position of trust had abused them in ways that ranged from unwanted touching to "violent acts of rape." Most of the alleged victims were reported to be participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.
Brooks Fleming didn't directly accuse Anderson of these acts, but a few days later, he released a statement declaring that he would step back from most of his board duties "until the completion of the independent investigation." An exception was his participation in the approval of new DPS superintendent Dr. Alex Marrero.
In the meantime, DPS tasked the firm of Rockford Gray, after paying a reported $15,000, with handling crisis communications surrounding the Anderson matter. Asked to comment on the firm's hiring and the purported protest, Rockford Gray's Marv Rockford, a former executive at CBS4 Denver, responded, "We regard all of the work we do for our clients as strictly confidential and never discuss that work." Likewise, attorney Christopher Decker, Anderson's attorney, offered no comment.
The contact listed on the release is Naziha In'am Hadil, who's named by Ballotpedia as a declared Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Colorado's 3rd District — the seat currently held by Lauren Boebert. But Hadil's online profile seems to be only a few weeks old. An interview request sent to the address on the release generated this (unedited) response to Westword: "You are very much a pro Tay Anderson publication. I dont intend to speak to your publication. You can learn of these events, such as DPS spending 300x more for public relations than for an investigation simply by Googling."
Such searches led directly to Camp, whose own Ballotpedia page states that he ran unsuccessfully for president and the U.S. Senate in Colorado's Democrat and a Republican primaries in 2020. Moreover, his entry on the far-right social media site Gab.com lists him as "Candidate 2021 DPS Board of Directors" and "Presidential Candidate 2024," as well as "God Fearing Human," "Talent Manager," "Pro Se Nightmare," "Social Justice Issues Photographer" and "Newsworthy."
This last claim was certainly true in June 2013, following the U.S. Department of Justice's announcement that Camp, a former student at the University of Central Missouri, had been sentenced to three years in federal prison without parole and asked to pay $61,500 in restitution for "his role in a computer hacking conspiracy." Specifically, he and a named co-conspirator are said to have "gained unlawful and unauthorized access to the UCM computer network, which allowed them to view and download large databases of faculty, staff, alumni and student information. They were also able to transfer money to their student accounts and attempted to change grades."
After serving a stretch in the Colorado Department of Corrections system, Camp stuck around the state, and in recent years, his actions have rated a number of headlines. In October 2019, for example, The Colorado 303!Life asserted that Denver's Festival of Color had been "hacked by notorious cyberstalker Joseph Camp." Just shy of a year later, in September 2020, Denverite reported on the arrest of two men who were cited for carrying large-capacity gun magazines during a peaceful protest around the death of Breonna Taylor. In the piece, Camp, dubbed "a self-described documentarian, talent manager, 'political satirical artist' and presidential candidate," is quoted as saying he'd hired the men to work as security. He also said that he'd provided footage from events like the Taylor rally to "right-leaning 'influencers'" and teased that he was slated to speak "with the right-wing blog The Blaze about the incident."
Oh, yeah: Denverite also noted that "Racial justice protesters have accused Camp of posting personal information about them online and harassing them." First and foremost among them: Tay Anderson.
Right now, Camp's Gab.com site is absolutely jammed with attacks, doxing efforts and more on Anderson, the Denver School Board and Rockford Gray — and the tone is virtually identical to that of the press release about the June 10 Denver School Board meeting.
The Anderson situation is baffling enough without adding more confusion to the mix. Camp has not responded to a Westword interview request.