Couple fined $10,500 for contempt of court
By BILL VOGRIN THE GAZETTE
Anti-government tirades and allegations of political conspiracy offered by Dana and Sheryl Glasgow did not convince Judge David Prince on Friday that they had been unfairly prosecuted for zoning violations and contempt of court. Prince fined the couple $10,500 for contempt and warned them they could face jail if convicted in the future. A new contempt charge was announced Friday and a hearing date set. The action came as neighbors lined up to describe the “nightmare” the Glasgows created since buying their home on Chaparral Road and moving their landscaping and snow removal business there in 2000, violating zoning laws. The Glasgows responded with angry denials and rambling attacks against the neighbors, county officials and judges they’ve faced in their years of legal battles. “We have been harassed by political action of El Paso County,” Sheryl Glasgow told Prince, alleging that her neighbors lied about her activities and used their clout with the Republican Party — and county government — to attack her. “I will not stand for politics interfering with my legal rights,” she said, insisting she ran a wholesale nursery. “They are trying to sabotage and ruin my reputation and my business. We did not violate your order, and I do not believe we should be sanctioned.” Her husband went farther, saying county employees and elected officials misled them repeatedly about what they could do on their five-acre ranchette near Powers Boulevard and Barnes Road. “They took away our rights and sued us,” he said, telling Prince he was wrong to find them in contempt. “We did exactly what you told us to do. We want to abide by the law. We are honest people. This is insane. I’m still confused.” In response, the 4th Judicial District judge said he was tempted to throw the pair in jail for their unrepentant attitudes and refusal to admit they violated zoning laws and court orders to stop operating Turf Master Industries from home. “The court finds a disturbing lack of remorse or acceptance of responsibility by the defendants,” Prince said in announcing he was fining them double the amount requested by Lori Seago, deputy county attorney. A contempt conviction can carry a penalty of six months in jail. Prince, however, settled on a fine, based on his March 14 ruling that the couple had violated his court order 14 times since November. But the case is not over. The county revealed Friday it had filed a new allegation of contempt against the Glasgows and a May 25 hearing was set. The Glasgows’ attorney, Ken Gray, informed Prince his clients planned to appeal the contempt conviction and the fine. And he asked Prince to withdraw from the case, saying his clients feel the judge has treated them unfairly. Prince denied the motion, although he offered to consider further arguments on the idea. The newest contempt charge stems from an event the Glasgows held at their home on March 31 — less than three weeks after their first contempt conviction. They celebrated the “grand reopening” of a wholesale nursery “open to the public.” Throughout years of court battles, the Glasgows have maintained that they operate a wholesale nursery from their home, which is allowed under the property’s agricultural zoning. They say they moved the landscaping business. The county claims the nursery is a facade to hide their landscaping activities. Regardless, Seago said wholesale operations are not allowed to sell to the public as the Glasgows did March 31. Sales to the public are retail sales and not permitted by a wholesaler, according to zoning codes, Seago said.