Longform

Outfaxed

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Zinna hasn't released the video that corresponds to the June 14 "get a life little boy" fax and declines to say who's on the tape. "I'm keeping a little powder dry," he says. "If they try to cover up, I've got a few surprises for them."

His quarry didn't know he'd obtained video evidence of their identities. A few days later, he received yet another communiqué from Pinky T, responding to his earlier assurances:

Trust me, I will chill when the "blood in the water" story comes to fruition...People are SICK of you rehashing the same old BORING stories. Where are YOUR docs? MOVE ON, MAN!

Here is another tidbit that you probably don't even know about. [Name deleted] is NOT the altar boy you think he is. Use your investigative skills to unleash the torrid affair he has had (still having?) with a hot little brunette...and then we'll decide who owes who coffee.

P.S. I've been studying your picture nightly...the 25,000 hits are from me, little boy...I think you'd be much sexier if you'd take off all that unsightly hair from your face...Just what is it that you are trying to hide?

The fax came from a Kinko's in the Denver Tech Center. Zinna fired off another subpoena and was provided with a tape of a third faxer, whom he readily identified as Sheri Sheehan, the commissioner's wife.

Three days after that fax was sent, Zinna cornered Rick Sheehan at a Republican breakfast gathering in south Jeffco. Tape recorder in hand, he peppered the commissioner with questions:

"Are you the Pinky T faxer?" he demanded.



"Absolutely not," Sheehan shot back.

"Absolutely not?"

"Absolutely not."

"You never sent any faxes from Albertson's to JeffcoExposed.com?"



"Absolutely not."

"Terrific. Thank you very much. Do you know who did? Somebody who looked exactly like you on surveillance tape."

"That person kind of looks like me?"

"Exactly like you," Zinna insisted. "Could it be you?"

"No."

"No? It's not you?"

"Let me see the surveillance tape."

"I asked you a question. Is it you on the surveillance tape, sending disparaging trash about certain people in this room to JeffcoExposed.com?"

"What surveillance tape?"

"The surveillance tapes I procured via subpoena from Albertson's."

"Can I see them?"

"No, you cannot."

"Then I can't answer your question," Sheehan said.

"Yes or no," Zinna said. "Do you need to see it to know if you've ever -- "

"I have never faxed anything from Albertson's, never in my life," Sheehan said.

"Excellent. I appreciate it. Thank you."

Later, when he listened to the tape of the conversation, the first part of the exchange struck Zinna as particularly odd. Most people, he reasoned, when asked if they were the Pinky T faxer, would want to know what the hell he was talking about. If they'd never heard of such a thing, they'd want to know what it was.

Commissioner Sheehan simply denied it, without hesitation.


Zinna says he's spoken with every one of the six people named in the Pinky T faxes, whom he describes as "victims" of a botched defamation campaign.

"They're outraged," he says. "By the language, the allegations, by who it came from. Every one categorically denied every allegation made against them."

The perps are "going to answer for this under oath," Zinna vows, "in a civil case, whether it's mine or one of the victims'. Rick and Sheri Sheehan and Cynthia Beyer-Ulrich are facing a posse of individuals who want them to answer for this. If they try to dispute that they're responsible for these faxes, there's a mountain of evidence to contradict them. They're cold busted."

But the people Zinna accuses of being the Pinky T faxers do dispute it. Commissioner Sheehan's calendar for the day of the Albertson's fax indicates he was in a public meeting all morning and met with Jim Moore, the county's human resources director, at one o'clock. Moore confirms that the meeting took place in Sheehan's office on that date, within a few minutes of one o'clock; Moore had a meeting with another commissioner right after that, at 1:30. The time stamped on the fax, which was sent from a location seven miles from Sheehan's office, is 12:58 pm.

An electronic log of Sheehan's comings and goings from the Taj Mahal that day, based on a magnetic card reader in the Taj Mahal garage, indicates that he left the building at 11:20 that morning and returned at 12:47. County spokesman Masson says the card reader is "extremely accurate" and corresponds closely to real time, which gives Sheehan a comfortable margin of time and distance from the offending fax.

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Alan Prendergast has been writing for Westword for over thirty years. He teaches journalism at Colorado College; his stories about the justice system, historic crimes, high-security prisons and death by misadventure have won numerous awards and appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies.
Contact: Alan Prendergast