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Colorado’s attorney general warned trailer park landlord not to tie raising rent to election

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Colorado’s attorney general on Wednesday warned a trailer park landlord to not tie raising tenants’ rent to the election of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Attorney General Phil Weiser (D) sent a cease-and-desist to Bernie Pagel, who owns Pagel’s Trailer Park in Fort Morgan, Colo., after an initial investigation found evidence of voter intimidation, The Denver Post reported.

The order came after Pagel sent a letter to residents of his trailer park saying rent would double if Biden won, but rent would not increase for two years if President Trump was reelected. 

The order, which was sent on Oct. 23, said Pagel’s letter to tenants “constitutes unlawful voter intimidation in its coercion of Mobile Home Park homeowners/tenants or their immediate family members to vote a certain way by indicating economic consequences based on the outcome of an election.”

It continues by saying, “In particular, the (threat) attempts to induce homeowners/tenants to vote against a particular candidate by stating a significant increase in rent prices if one candidate wins the presidential election,” according to the Post. 

Pagel is required to sign the order by Friday and refusal to sign “may result in legal action,” according to the attorney general. The order does not punish the landlord but instead lets him know the attorney general believes he broke the law, and additional violations could lead to criminal enforcement or a civil lawsuit, according to the newspaper.

Weiser’s spokesperson Lawrence Pacheco told the Post that Pagel was given the order in person. 

Pagel’s letter to tenants, which residents reported to election officials, stated, “Please understand IF Joe Biden is elected as our next President, everything you do and have to pay for will change completely.”

“Everything will be increased. Like paying ALOT more in taxes, utilities, gasoline, groceries, new permits, fees and regulations…everything! This also means YOUR RENT will be increased to cover these expenses. Most likely, rent would DOUBLE in price!” it continued. “IF the current President is re-elected, WE WILL NOT RAISE THE RENT FOR AT LEAST 2 YEARS!”

It added: “Voting is your choice and we are not telling you how to vote. WE are just informing our tenants that WE will do according to the election results. If Trump wins, we all win. If Biden wins, we all lose.”

Voter intimidation is a federal crime, as the law states “no person … shall intimidate, threaten, coerce … any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of [that] person to vote or to vote as he may choose.”

Tags 2020 election cease-and-desist Colorado Donald Trump Joe Biden Landlord Rent tenants Trailer park voter intimidation
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