Letter: Christensen, Rand
To the Editor:
We were dismayed to see the headline “Newberry receives ten day jail sentence” in your Jan. 13 Sky-Hi edition. Although accurate, we felt there were other newsworthy items more suitable for the front page. There has been more than adequate coverage and this news could have been relegated to an inside page. Consequently, we were happy to read the excellent letter by Julie Stephens regarding James’ service to the county over the years certainly far outweighing the mistakes he made. It is unfortunate that Sky-Hi did not take what she wrote to heart.
Grand County Commissioner James Newberry resigned as part of a plea agreement to embezzlement charges. James would have liked to see the process to its legal conclusion–including a jury trial, if warranted. With $60,000+ in legal fees already, there was no way James and his wife, Kris could continue a legal defense–thus the no contest plea.
We have set up a Go Fund Me account for those who would like to help the Newberrys with their massive legal costs. Not only will it benefit them financially but will let them know they are not in this alone.
James as a long-time commissioner, and Kris as an elementary school teacher, have contributed so much–in addition coaching, mentoring, and taking in kids who needed a temporary home. Many former student athletes state that James and Kris have had an immensely positive influence, both short and long term. James freely admits he made an unwise decision in submitting travel expenses to both Grand County and Colorado River District, but he believed it was legal. His lawyers motioned to dismiss the case based on that premise. The judge refused to rule, therefore it was not ever shown to be illegal. James also mistakenly submitted travel expenses for one meeting he attended by phone conference, through inattentiveness rather than attempting to defraud. When it was brought to his attention he made immediate reimbursement.
We are asking those who are appreciative of the Newberrys making our community a better place, to consider contributing whatever amount you feel appropriate. James would never ask for or expect help—but sometimes people need our help whether they want it or not. Please go to http://www.gofundme.com and enter any Grand County zip code into the search area to find “James and Kris Newberry”.
Thanks and Let’s Do This!
Wendy Christensen and Becky Rand
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