Michelle Obama: Do As I Say, Not as I Do Liberal, Chapter 3798

As we discussed on last Sunday’s edition of the Teri O’Brien Show, we discussed Michelle Obama’s latest glamorous getaway, this time to a luxury ski resort owned by Jim and Paula Crown, wealthy democratic donors, who just happen to come from Chicago. But, wait–there’s more:

The Crowns own the Aspen Skiing Company, known locally as The Skico, which has been involved in a labor dispute with Lee Mulcahy, a former ski instructor who was fired he says for criticizing the disparity between what the Skico pays its instructors ($69 a day) and the cost of a day long lesson ($625). Mulcahy, who took his complaint to the National Labor Relations Board, pointed out that he was merely asking for a living wage, something he argues the Crowns already support through their philanthropy to organizations that back a living wage. (Shia Kapos, “Aspen’s have-nots hurl challenge at Crowns,” Crain’s Chicago Business, January 24, 2011)

In May 2010, Mulcahy wrote a letter to a local newspaper questioning Skico’s corporate mentality of “the customer is always right, no matter when they are wrong” and gave the example of a private shuttle that wouldn’t offer a ride to skiers at public bus stops on a snow day because he was concerned his well-to-do customers would complain. Though Mulcahy stressed he was lucky to work for Skico repeatedly, he found himself fired. According to the Chicago Tribune, Mulcahy maintains it was in retaliation for voicing his opinion and for sending emails to fellow instructors about living wages and discussing unionization. He filed with the National Labor Relations Board. (Alejandra Cancino, “Speaking out in Aspen snowballs into lawsuit,” Chicago Tribune, December 12, 2010). Alas, Mulcahy ultimately lost his NRLB fight last June, but not before the NRLB required Skico to end its policy barring communication between instructors on personal email accounts about wages, benefits, work conditions and unions. (Scott Condon, “Aspen Skiing Co., Mulcahy end bitter feud–for now, The Aspen Times, July 1, 2011.)

Wait-does her husband’s NLRB, complete with its new “recess” appointments, appointed when the Senate was not in recess, know about this issue?

I’m sure if confronted about another act of blatant hypocrisy, Michelle would give the questioner one of her patented scowls, and take it as just another example of the racism inflicted on her by this racist country.

(H/T Big Government)

5 comments

  1. Teri, LOL—below is a letter to the editor I sent to the Aspen Times that they refuse to print. Here is some small town gossip in the biggest little town in America. I’m in a lawsuit with the Crown’s Skico CEO after their multiple overreaches.

    It gets funnier. Not only did the Crowns fire & smear me, they banned me from National Forest. Google Lee Mulcahy banning. The Skico partners with the Aspen Art Museum —Wait, it gets better: the art museum banned me too! I did public art which was in a public place; the Crowns tried to strongarm the City into taking it down. The City requested that I remove it in a letter copying 3 executives @ Skico. FYI, I’m not a criminal —but I am an 8th generation Texan artist who happens to believe in liberty. Since the comment book at the sculpture maintained that I’m a thief and pedophile [the CEO of Skico was spotted writing in it after dark, please know that I am an Eagle Scout, a PhD, & am freestyle ski aeria certified. Currently, we are in a libel suit. Instead of all this court stuff where justice is determined by big $ [and I’m fighting billionaires], I proposed this to the CEO of Skico:

    Even funnier—it’s a small town and they print EVERYTHING. Well, when I asked to run it as an advertisement, the paper’s editor/co-manager [huh?] refused. Can u say company town? Or lack of separation between editorial and publishing? Note: Skico has a large ad budget with the Aspen Times. [LOL: they refuse to advertise in the Aspen Daily News].

    “Just returned from art class @SAIC. [School of the Art Institute of Chicago]. Had birthday breakfast this morning with girl pals dressed as Barbie. Check out aspen ideas festival….”-tweet, Skico/General Dynamics/JP Morgan Chase owner Paula Crown. Her Aspen Skiing CEO:

    “Watch out, I’m blogging now. How’s your Aspen? @ heidizj: Good move, Heidi.”-AspenSnowCEO

    Dear Little Mikey,

    Despite our differences, we both love teaching skiing & our community. Although I have to ROFL when local earls & countesses line up to pay $10,000.00 to meet barefoot Michelle Obama at the castle General Dynamics built four blocks from my Communist public housing house.

    Rome in the 4th Quarter or Versailles?

    These days our politicians are just blowhards; whereas, our Revolutionary forefathers deeply respected a good fight: Vice President Burr fatally wounded former Secretary of Treasury Hamilton in a High Noon dueling shootout.

    Taking inspiration from the current Roger Marolt/Aspen Times and Lo Semple/Aspen Daily News ski-OFF: Why not a Mulcahy/Kaplan Wild West flip-OFF at the base of Aspen? Cheerleaders?—would Heidi & Paula bring pom-poms and go all Dallas Cowboys for you?

    It’ll be hilarious: CEO vs. peon.

    BIG $$$ vs. white trash.

    Chicago North Shore vs. Fort Worth, Texas.

    Audi driving Master of the Skico Universe vs. pick-up driving banned Skico whistleblower.

    Aspen Institute green “limousine liberal” vs. “Don’t tread on me” NRA/Tea Party occupier.

    Castle Creek free market DU MBA vs. Burlingame public housing unionizer Sorbonne-attending PhD.

    Skier vs. snowboarder.
    Darth Vader vs. Luke Skywalker.
    Elite 1% vs. 99%.

    Or a moguls contest on AH’s Scarlett’s instead of all this legal stuff? Man to man. It would be so in line with Aspen’s history. But if I win, Skico has to pay more than $9.25/hr. u call a “living wage” here & I get my job back. Full disclosure: I was freestyle aerial certified. But I’ll even flip on a snowboard and u can use those skis Roger Marolt pokes fun of u about.

    And that’s the paradox of the public space, everyone may kind of know something unpleasant, but once someone says it, it changes everything.

    Therefore, I cannot resist:

    Paula Crown, PhD candidate at the Art Institute of Chicago, is on President Obama’s arts council; Michelle has lunch at Paula’s palace; General Dynamics, a merchant of death, and Wall Street’s JP Morgan Chase are prosperous.

    What was the name of that Dan Sheridan song Skico has banned? “Big $”?

    28th amendment to get the big $$$ out of politics already?

    So back to skiing, AspenSnowCEO, are you in?

    • CEO Mike Kaplan never answered, directly. Although he did have the handsome but young deputy sheriff serve me for “trespassing” when I taped the court summons that I was suing the Crowns for $1.00. LOL: The deputy DA told me he’s going for 6 months jail time. I filed in the wrong court the first time; but here’s my answer to the Crowns’ bullying: Comes now Plaintiff, Lee Mulcahy, PH.D. (“Mulcahy”) proceeding Pro Se, who respectfully submits this Response to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint.
      COLO.R.CIV.P.121 Sec.1-15(8)
      Plaintiff certifies that he notified counsel for the Defendant, Aspen Skiing Company (“Skico”), via email dated April 13, 2012, that he would be on a charitable, religious mission, digging water wells in Kenya, Africa from mid-April to late-May, 2012. Despite this advance notice of his unavailability, Skico’s Counsel complains of Mucahy’s failure to respond to its attempts “to confer” with him, by both telephone and email, prior to filing the present motion before this Court.
      INTRODUCTION AND FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS
      Plaintiff was a valued employee of Skico for over fifteen (15) years. He was in fact the top rated ski instructor, out of approximately twelve hundred (1,200) instructors employed by Skico, for several of those years. In addition, due to Plaintiff’s producing more revenue than any other Skico employee he was invited to join and participate in all of the elite programs available by invitation only to a select few of Skico’s employees.
      On or about June 2, 2010, Plaintiff was reprimanded by Skico for submitting for publication a letter commending Skico for rehiring a musician fired for singing a song titled “Big Money” which an unnamed Skico vice-president found offensive.
      Thereafter, Plaintiff, an hourly employee, was forced to involve the Colorado Department of Labor when Skico refused to explain or otherwise redress the deletion, by Skico supervisors, of hours from his timesheet, without notice to Plaintiff, and Skico’s resulting underpayment for hours worked by Plaintiff. Despite numerous requests, Skico refused to reveal its policy regarding the deletion of hours worked by its employees despite being ordered by the Colorado Department of Labor to pay Plaintiff for the hours Skico deleted from his timesheet.
      On or about June 30, 2010, Plaintiff sent an email to the members of one of the elite, exclusive, “invitation only” programs to which he was a member, the “Diamond Pros”, wherein membership resulted in, inter alia, the ability of a member to receive a higher rate of pay than non-member employees. This email merely inquired as to the interest, if any, of the Diamond Pro members to work toward a collective bargaining agreement whereby ongoing employee grievances with Skico could be addressed in a productive fashion.
      On or about August 12, 2010, Skico reprimanded Plaintiff for making the inquiry of the Diamond Pros.
      On or about August 20, 2010, Plaintiff was removed as a Diamond Pro.
      In October, 2010, Plaintiff filed a grievance with National Labor Relations Board as a result of Skico’s treatment of Plaintiff.
      On December 30, 2010, Plaintiff was informed that Skico had banned him all property owned, leased or otherwise controlled by Skico.
      On February 1, 2011, via a letter written by the Chief Executive Officer of Skico, Mike Kaplan (“Kaplan”), and published in both The Aspen Times and The Aspen Daily News , Kaplan informed Plaintiff that he was fired from Skico.
      Thereafter, Plaintiff received a letter from Skico’s Vice-President of Human Resources, Jim Laing, confirming Kaplan’s firing and further prohibiting Plaintiff from “any of our (Skico’s) facilities, properties or locations”.
      Skico is the sole operator of all four (4) ski areas in the Aspen area. Several of those areas are comprised, in part or in whole, by thousands of acres of public lands within the White River National Forest, owned by the United States of America and managed by the United States Forest Service. In addition, Skico is believed to own or control close to fifty percent (50%) of the commercial property within Aspen and the surrounding areas, ranging from hotels, bars, and restaurants, to athletic clubs, open air plazas, and trailer parks, with each operating under different, or no, names, with no indication of Skico’s ownership nor with any recognizable delineation of the boundaries of these properties.
      In fact, Plaintiff has been charged and arraigned on criminal trespass charges, with the prosecutor asserting that Plaintiff will receive the maximum six (6) month jail sentence if convicted, as a result of Plaintiff serving Skico with the Complaint in this action, accomplished by merely taping said Complaint to the side door of Defendant’s office. In that case Plaintiff had unwittingly crossed nearly three (3) feet onto Defendant’s property from the adjacent public parking lot.
      It is Skico’s assertion that it can unequivocally ban Plaintiff, or anyone Skico dislikes, apparently, for any reason, from any of Skico’s “facilities, properties or locations ”, and that Skico has the absolute authority to criminally prosecute any such banishee should they unwittingly cross the invisible, unknown boundary to various properties, operating under numerous names, including land owned by the public of which the banishee is part, that gave rise to the present action requesting that this Court confirm or deny the absolute dominion over the general public Skico has granted itself .
      LEGAL STANDARD
      Colo.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(5) is not applicable in that Plaintiff has stated a claim where the factual allegations, as a matter of law, support the claim for relief.
      ARGUMENT
      Counsel for Skico’s argument in defense of its Motion to Dismiss seeks to have this Court agree that contrary to ruling of the of the United States Supreme Court, there is no violation of First Amendment rights when the owner of private property, held open to the public, precludes an individual from entering onto such property for purposes related to the operation of that property. In addition, Counsel for Skico directs this Court to find no legal issues are involved when a private entity, in this instance Skico, arbitrarily and capriciously asserts that it can have a law-abiding individual, arrested for simply stepping off a sidewalk, or hiking in the vast open spaces owned by the people of the United States of America, and inadvertently crossing an invisible, line known only to Skico, onto the property, owned, controlled or leased by Skico.
      Few, if any, private entities in modern times have established a fiefdom such as is overseen by Skico. Nor has any modern private entity evidenced the hubris of Skico in trying to make an example of Plaintiff, a bible-studying Eagle Scout who actively manages charitable missions to dig water wells in Africa, by publicly threatening criminal prosecution should he inadvertently cross unmarked lines running throughout both Aspen and the surrounding forest land, the location of which are known only to Skico, as apparent retaliation for Plaintiff’s forcing Defendant to comply with federal and state labor laws and espousing views Skico does not like.
      Plaintiff here seeks only the ability to continue to live a law-abiding life in the town he has called home for seventeen (17) years without fear of walking down what is believed to be a public street, sidewalk, alley, plaza or trail and being again charged with trespassing on Skico’s property. Plaintiff is not seeking the right to enter Skico’s various, diverse and largely unknown property for any unlawful or vexatious purpose, merely for the right to freely enter upon all of the property held open to the public solely for purposes in furtherance of the operation of such property.
      In its Motion to Dismiss, Skico’s Counsel relies heavily on Lloyd Corp. v. Tanner, 407 U.S. 830 (1972) as support for its position that the protections afforded by the First Amendment cannot be violated by the owners of private property. However, Skico’s Counsel somehow overlooked the holding in that case, whereby the Unites States Supreme Court clearly ruled that the First Amendment protections absolutely apply to actions on private property held open to the public, except where such actions are unrelated to the operation of that property.
      The Lloyd case arose as a result of employees of petitioner precluding respondents from distributing handbills within the interior of petitioner’s large shopping center, which had a strict no-handbill policy. In overruling the findings of the lower courts, the Supreme Court took great pains to examine and balance the rights of both the public invitees with those of the private owner of the property. “We do say that the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights of private property owners, as well as the First Amendment rights of all citizens, must be respected and protected.” Lloyd, 407 U.S. at 570. The Court ultimately relied exclusively on the relationship between the activity precluded and the purpose for which the property was being used, finding that only those actions which have no relation to any purpose for which the property was being used are not afforded protection under the First Amendment.
      Skico’s Counsel has not provided, and cannot provide, evidence that Plaintiff’s entering upon property owned, leased or controlled by Skico and held open to the general public, would in any way be unrelated to the use and operation of such property. Plaintiff has no desire to open a competing ski school as was the case in Sabin v. Butz, 515 F.2d 1061 (10th Cir. 1975). Therefore, given the clear ruling of the Supreme Court in Lloyd, denying access to such property unquestionably and undeniably violates the protections provided Plaintiff by the First Amendment.
      Having overlooked the controlling and clearly dispositive nature of the holding of the Supreme Court in Lloyd, it is curious that Skico’s Counsel uses dicta from that Court to contradict and undermine their own assertions and to support their baseless contention that First Amendment protections may only be violated by state action. Throughout its Motion to Dismiss, Skico’s Counsel repeatedly confirms that Skico invites the public to “stay at its hotels, dine in its restaurants, or drink at its bars”. Motion, page 4. Yet it then mischaracterizes these actions as those of “the private owner of private property used nondiscriminatorily for private purposes only.” Motion page 5, citing Lloyd 407 U.S. at 567-68. This mischaracterization, if true, would support Skico’s Counsel subjecting this Court to their exhaustive, convoluted, and wholly inapplicable analysis of what may or may not be construed as a public forum or constitute state action.
      The careful reasoning and holding of the Supreme Court in Lloyd evidences the importance of the protections afforded to all citizens by the First Amendment and the scrutiny that any denial of such protections must undergo. It also controlling with respect to issue currently before this Court, requiring the denial of Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss and Judgment in favor of Plaintiff.
      CONCLUSION
      For the reasons stated above, Plaintiff Lee Mulcahy, PH.D. respectfully requests that this Court deny Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss and grant Judgment in favor of Plaintiff on its Complaint due to Skico’s violation of the protections afforded Plaintiff by the First Amendment.

      • Judge denies SkiCo dismissal motion in ex-instructor lawsuit

        Writer:
        Chad Abraham
        Byline:
        Aspen Daily News Staff Writer

        An Aspen man whose lawsuit alleges that the Aspen Skiing Co. and its owners are violating his First Amendment rights scored a victory earlier this month when a judge denied the company’s motion to dismiss the filing.

        Senior Judge Thomas Ossola of Pitkin County District Court upheld Lee Mulcahy’s lawsuit against SkiCo, citing greater free speech protections afforded under the Colorado Constitution compared to the U.S. Constitution.

        Mulcahy, a former ski instructor who was fired in 2011 after he distributed fliers to guests in the SkiCo-owned Little Nell hotel and in gondola plaza criticizing the ski school’s pay policies, sued the company and its owners, Paula and James Crown in February. He claims he was fired as retaliation for that move and for discussing instructor unionization.

        In addition to firing Mulcahy — the SkiCo maintains he was dismissed for work-performance issues unrelated to the fliers and unionization discussion — the company banned him from all of its properties and from the four ski areas, land it leases from the U.S. Forest Service.

        Mulcahy, who is representing himself and who also has an ongoing, separate libel lawsuit against SkiCo CEO Mike Kaplan, argued that the ban from public lands violates his right to free speech.

        He wrote in the lawsuit that he and others similarly situated will be “chilled and burdened” in the exercise of First Amendment rights because of the continued threat of arrest on public property.

        SkiCo’s attorney, Lila Bateman of Denver, had contended that the lawsuit should be dismissed because Mulcahy’s allegations were not supported by sufficient facts.

        Bateman argued that claims under the First Amendment only apply to “state actors” and that SkiCo is not engaged in state action.

        “To state a violation of the First Amendment, plaintiff must either allege that SkiCo is a state actor, or that its private property is nevertheless a designated public forum,” says Bateman’s motion to dismiss.

        Ossola, though, disagreed, citing a case from the early 1990s involving a Front Range shopping mall.

        “While [SkiCo] relies primarily on federal case law to support its position, Article II, Section 10 of the Colorado Constitution provides greater protections for free speech than does the First Amendment,” Ossola wrote in his Oct. 3 ruling.

        Ossola cited Bock v. Westminster Mall Co., in which the state supreme court held that Section 10 applied to the privately owned shopping mall.

        The case involved two members of a political association known as “The Pledge of Resistance” who sought and were denied permission to distribute their pamphlets and to solicit protest signatures in the mall’s common areas.

        In ruling that the Colorado Constitution protected the Resistance members’ free-speech rights, the state high court “based its holding on the fact that there was governmental involvement with the mall’s operation and the mall also functioned as a ‘downtown business district,’” Ossola wrote.

        Mulcahy’s lawsuit alleges that SkiCo holds much of its ski properties as a tenant of the federal government and that it also owns nearly 50 percent of the commercial property in and around downtown Aspen.

        When these allegations are construed in a light most favorable to Mulcahy — as Ossola must do by law when deciding the merits of a motion to dismiss — the judge found that, if true, they “could support a free speech claim under Article II, Section 10 to the extent that [SkiCo] may qualify as a ‘downtown business district’ under Bock,” the ruling says. “It is also possible that the level of governmental involvement with [SkiCo’s] operations could further support a free speech claim under Bock.”

        Bateman did not return a message about the ruling. Asked for comment, Mulcahy wrote in an email: “The Crowns do a tremendous amount for their kingdom but the problem is greed and abuse of power. Aspen is not Versailles nor is it their feudal kingdom.”

        http://www.aspendailynews.com/print/155184

        • Teri,

          It gets even…more hilarious.

          It’s President’s Weekend and guess who is back in town? Yep, Queen Michelle.

          The Aspen Daily New’s front page story was “Michelle Obama…” And guess where she’s staying?

          Yep.

          At the “Petite Trianon,” billionaires Paula and James Crown “palatial” Aspen residence.

          Our habeas corpus, First Amendment hating President says he’s all for raising the minimum wage. Good. Me too and I’m a tea partyer. So are my parents. Before people call us racists, you may want to read this: http://www.aspentimes.com/news/9507463-113/bud-village-africa-kapkesembe

          Someone forgot to tell our President ( who btw is not universally admired in Kenya ) that his “best friends” the Crowns are not only greedy arrogant bullies, but cheap.

          This article started off the week by questioning the billionaires:

          Andersen: Unequal in Aspen

          Those of us who work here for a living dare not view our material accomplishments through the lens of Aspen. That lens amplifies a somber realization that can diminish even the most revered of Aspen lifestyles.

          “I’m cash poor, but lifestyle rich,” remarked one of my neighbors up the Fryingpan. “When you work in Aspen you can see how far down the economic ladder you are.”

          Economic inequality in Aspen is blatant. The haves have so much more than the have-nots that the distance from a Basalt trailer park to a Red Mountain palace seems insurmountable. The bridge between the two is only open if you’re a maid, a landscaper, a hot-tub repairman, a caterer or some other form of servant.

          When you talk to Aspen old timers, one of their biggest regrets is the loss of cultural diversity that defined the early years. A woman in her 80s who lived in Aspen in the early 1950s and raised a family here, described a hard scrabble, but endearing existence.

          “We were all poor,” she mused, “and we all ate venison and elk and trout caught in the rivers. I got so tired of venison in those days because we ate so much of it, but that’s what we had living off the land.”

          She wasn’t complaining about the bond of poverty that cemented a community with the glue of necessity. She was describing how Aspen locals supported one another in a time of scarcity.

          In the old days, people of different social strata blended as equals, celebrating a mutual love of place. With the gradual shift of resort over community, heightened expectations for service have eradicated much of that former sense of equality and equanimity.

          There were wealthy people back then, but they chose not to draw attention to their riches. They didn’t wish to distance themselves materially from those with holes in their pockets because it was often the less economically motivated who brought the most vitality to the community — artists, philosophers, poets, athletes, actors and writers.

          Even though many of Aspen’s menial workers had college degrees and pending professional careers, they washed dishes or taught skiing because they enjoyed it without judgment. Shared poverty was a sign of social humility, and Aspen provided benefits beyond the material.

          Today those people are regarded as quaint oddities, if they are regarded at all. You won’t find them at exclusive holiday parties on Red Mountain or the Sundeck because Aspen is no longer the melting pot it was.

          Where the wealthy of earlier times were magnanimous and humble and interested in diverse ideas, values and lifestyles, today they are often insulated, buffered and aloof. Separate restaurants at the Sundeck speak directly to the bifurcation of the Aspen community. Same with private clubs with high dues and door guards.

          This polarization has engendered a strange kind of class strife. It’s not the French Revolution model of guillotines and barricades, but rather a simmering discontent in a place where the classes share the same playground.

          The disparity between community and resort can be seen in the parallel universe of private jets streaming one every minute into Aspen while worker bees jam Highway 82 just a stone’s throw from the private-jet terminal.

          Lee Mulcahy has been risking terminal pariah status by pointing out the income gap where it’s most visible — Aspen Skiing Co. Could the Crown family afford to spread the wealth among its most visible workers on the hill? Community and customer relations could improve markedly and establish Aspen as an egalitarian model.

          Income inequality is rising in the national spotlight and has become a cause celebre for liberal-minded pundits. They point to soaring stock markets and outrageous corporate CEO salaries while middle-income families are tightening their belts. The riches of the richest country in the world are not enriching all with equal measure. The average American family has not had a pay raise since 1999, Time reported last week.

          Being lifestyle rich is great, but only if you can look beyond the acclaim of vast material wealth perched upon every hillside while tightening your belt.

          Paul Andersen’s column appears on Monday. He can be reached by email at andersen@rof.net.

          http://www.aspentimes.com/news/10082580-113/aspen-community-andersen-family

          Now here’s the funny part:

          http://www.aspentimes.com/entertainment/9293008-113/mulcahy-skico-crowns-lawsuit

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