Jodi McClurkin Lawsuit Against City of Salida

This will be over 3 1/2 years after former Salida Finance Director was fired by newly minted Salida City Administrator Drew Nelson.

Docket for: Chaffee County - Chaffee Combined Court

Showing 1 - 2 of 2 records

|Date|Len|Appearance|Name|Hearing Type|Case #|

|5/2/22 9:00 AM|1D|IN PERSON|CITY OF SALIDA|Hearing|D82021CV30028|
|5/4/22 9:00 AM|1D|IN PERSON|CITY OF SALIDA|Hearing|D82021CV30028|

A Mountain Mail Letter to the Editor explains the issue:

Order forensic audit of accounts

Feb 18, 2020

Dear Editor:

In October 2018, Salida City Council hired City Administrator Drew Nelson, still on probation from a January 2018 domestic violence arrest. Many commented this hire carried financial liability.

Former Salida Finance Director Jodi McClurkin filed a complaint Feb. 5, 2020, in District Court, alleging wrongful discharge and retaliation against Salida and discrimination by Salida and Drew Nelson. I provided these documents to The Mountain Mail

Recap. Nelson placed McClurkin on administrative leave Nov. 5, 2018, alleging “abusive, disrespectful or discourteous language or conduct” of staff at Pueblo Bank & Trust. McClurkin denied abuse, stating PB&T blocked her efforts to access city accounts held by Recreation Director Theresa Casey.

Salida’s April 30, 2019, legal response to McClurkin’s original complaint used a new justification for suspension: “Beginning in late 2018, Mr. Nelson became aware of a number of red flags associated with the city’s various bank accounts over which the claimant exercised certain control. Mr. Nelson met with the branch manager at PB&T, who expressed concern about the rapid decline in deposits from the city over the prior two weeks.

“Thereafter, Mr. Nelson went to Collegiate Peaks Bank to ascertain what, if any, accounts were there on behalf of the city. There it was discovered a checking account contained a balance of $246,917.44, of which $240,000 had been wired that morning from an unknown source, again raising serious red flags.”

I guess the original “abusive … language” claim was insufficient to insinuate misappropriation of funds?

McClurkin’s explanation?

“After experiencing many issues with PB&T, Ms. McClurkin informed Mr. Lorentzen (then administrator) the city should change banks. He agreed. Ms. McClurkin asked if this matter needed to be approved by city council. Mr. Lorentzen said ‘no, it was an administrative matter, it did not need the council’s approval.’”

Software issues delayed the bank switch until after Mayor Wood unilaterally fired Lorentzen, council appointed Casey interim administrator, then hired Nelson. A deposited $240,000 grant funded the new Collegiate account.

If Nelson was unaware of the bank switch, why did he immediately look for missing money at Collegiate Peaks? Why doesn’t council order a forensic audit of these accounts?

Note: PB&T ultimately retained Salida’s accounts.

Nelson fired McClurkin Nov. 26, 2018, for reasons different than the suspension: blaming her for the city’s 2017 audit mess.

Two of McClurkin’s defenses:

  1. Supervisors (Lorentzen and Casey) instructed her not to work on the audit.

  2. In 2015, the city created the Audit Committee to be directly responsible for appointment, compensation, retention and oversight of the work of any independent accountants engaged to prepare an independent audit report or performing other independent audit, review or attest services. This Audit Committee (consisting of three council members) was never appointed, but the resolution remained in effect. Council blamed McClurkin for its own failure.

Three city officials most involved in creating this mess (city administrator, mayor, city attorney) are apparently deciding in secret how this legal complaint is handled. How is this a good idea?

Vince Phillips,


A reminder: In Oct 2018 Salida City Council was in the process of hiring former Winter Park, CO City Manager Drew Nelson as Salida City Administrator when the article below was discovered by citizens of Salida. Salida officials had no intention of disclosing this arrest, which happened just months before they were hiring him to run our city. They claimed that parts of this published story were untrue.

Despite intoxication, discharge of a firearm eight times and threats with a 10-lb sledgehammer, Drew Nelson managed to get his case plead down to minor charges, then had the record expunged-all within months of his arrest. Expunging criminal records is virtually unheard of in domestic violence cases.

Despite this, an enterprising citizen persisted, and eventually attained the Drew Nelson arrest affidavit. The details were even worse than what was in the January 23, 2018 Sky Hi News article.
Note the destruction of evidence within 36 hours of arrest.:

This Letter to the Editor in the Mountain Mail tries to explain the delay in justice after 2+ years. The City of Salida uses our tax money, in secret, to delay legal roceedings, hoping that the private citizen will run out of either money or the will to fight. Abuse of the public trust? You bet.

‘Demand a fair public hearing’

Mar 23, 2021 Updated Apr 30, 2021

Dear Editor:

Until two years ago, I thought the system protecting workers from discrimination/harassment had evolved sufficiently to safeguard the rights of individuals.

Observing the cases of Jodi McClurkin and Lynda Travis vs. City of Salida crawl through the system, I now realize that was laughably wrong.

Before receiving a “Right to Sue,” victims must file a complaint with the State of Colorado. This is followed by a series of delays as claims go back and forth between the parties. Once the “Right to Sue” is finally granted by the State, there follows another round of delays after a lawsuit is filed.

Who benefits from the more than two year delay since the events described in these complaints? The party with the deepest pockets. Who has greater financial resources … a marginalized former City Employee or the City of Salida?

Any legal case has adversaries:

The two ladies, who were former City of Salida employees, felt wronged and attempted to work within the system to obtain justice. Each must somehow finance their own case, and thus can only get the justice they can afford.

The Salida elected officials and several current/former employees stand accused, but have the power granted by their position to defend themselves using city resources (aka our taxpayer dollars).

In monitoring these proceedings since the beginning, it appears there have been a variety of abuses of that power; the level of secrecy chief among them. Council avoided mentioning the very existence of these cases, while simultaneously obscuring their legal costs. How about full disclosure of the monies spent?

Recently, Lynda Travis decided to settle her suit for $29,454. Never one to miss a chance to gloat, here is Salida City Attorney Nina Williams:

“Williams called the settlement a “nuisance payment,” and that if someone settles for such a minor amount, it’s likely because they know it would ultimately fail in court.”

“It had limited merits from the beginning”, Williams said. “Now we can move on”.

The Mountain Mail did not initially contact Lynda Travis for her take, but even if they had, did the settlement terms gag her from speaking? This while allowing our city attorney to metaphorically dance on her grave, fauxminism in full view?

Regardless, Jodi McClurkin’s case is still active. It should come to trial this year, and deserves greater public scrutiny. Towards this goal, I urge The Mountain Mail to post the case documents on their website, to make it easier for the public to inform themselves. Our esteemed mayor has a sign in the window of his business, telling us “Silence is Violence.” Will the Mountain Mail follow this advice, or ignore it like the mayor does?

The city seems intent on winning at all costs, regardless of where the truth lies.

Allowing the City of Salida to bludgeon these women in secret with our tax money was an injustice. Join me and demand that Jodi McClurkin receive a fair public hearing. Allow the facts of the case to dictate the outcome.

Vince Phillips,


Yikes, that Drew Nelson sounds like a depraved character. Domestic abuse with a firearm and a sledgehammer!

Rec Director Theresa Casey had bank accounts that the Salida Finance Director couldn’t access!?!?!

$247k in a bank account that nobody knew about!

Is this the way business is conducted in Salida?.

Mountain Mail 3-4-22