MONTROSE – Montrose City Councilor Kathy Ellis will not face charges for carrying a gun through security at the Montrose Regional Airport last month, but will have to perform community service.
According to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Ellis and her husband, Montrose County Commissioner Gary Ellis, met with Mesa County prosecutors in Grand Junction last week, where she signed a two-year diversion contract with the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office, agreeing to complete 48 hours of public service and a gun safety class.
Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger, on Thanksgiving break this week, was not available for comment.
Ellis must complete the classes and public service within three months.
Mesa County was handed the case in early November due to a possible conflict of interest. As a Montrose County Commissioner, her husband, Gary Ellis, approves funding to the Montrose DA's office.
The gun incident took place in the early afternoon of Monday Oct. 21, as the couple readied to board a plane for in Las Vegas, Nev. Transportation Security Administration screeners alerted Montrose County Sheriff’s deputies about their discovery of Kathy Ellis’ pistol, which they then took possession of and booked into evidence.
"I just forgot it was in my purse. All the time leading up to it, I just felt something was wrong," Kathy Ellis told The Watch. "Gary and I are elected officials, and are in the public eye,” she said. “Gary insisted that I get a permit to carry the gun, largely to protect myself.
Under the terms of the agreement, Hautzinger did not to file a class 6 felony charge for carrying a loaded firearm on public transportation, the Sentinel reported. The DA said Ellis’ lack of criminal history and a case review convinced him the deal was appropriate.
“I concluded it was an honest mistake, certainly nothing intentional,
or a situation where she’s trying to abuse her position or her concealed-carry permit,” Hautzinger told the Sentinel. “This was more a matter of her grabbing a different purse than she normally uses.”
Hautzinger said his office did consult with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which expressed no interest in pursuing a federal case, the Sentinel reported. The TSA told the Sentinel it may levy a civil penalty, ranging from $3,000 to $7,500. The fines are decided on a case-by-case basis.
Black Canyon Golf Course Negotiations Continue
City of Montrose staff members met this week with members of the Montrose Land Company and shareholders and landowners of the Black Canyon Golf Course to determine the fate and operation of the golf course.
City Manager Bill Bell said last week that "we expect great things coming out of those negotiations" from Monday evening’s closed-door meeting. On Tuesday, the city held an "emergency" meeting with members of the city council about the Monday night meeting, which members of the public were not allowed to attend. The city council then entered into executive session, at about 5 p.m. Tuesday with City Attorney Stephen Alcorn to review what was discussed and determine what options were available. Bell said more information will be released to the public in the coming weeks.
New Control at Black Canyon Jet Center
Judy Conn, who has served as Black Canyon Jet Centers bookkeeper for nearly eight years, has been promoted to the company controller.
"Judy brings 32 years of bookkeeping to the Jet Center and has been controlling finances at the company for some time,” according to a Wednesday news release. “This promotion recognizes her generous contribution to leadership and service at Black Canyon Jet Center.
"Not only does she bring accounting knowledge and expertise; her unique background in holistic healing gives her valuable insight when applied to the challenges of running a business in this challenging economy. In addition to being a certified energy healer, she has a small side business selling handmade greeting cards and magnets.
Ken Watson, Black Canyon Jet Center’s general manager said, “Judy’s promotion is in response to her continued ability to step up and accept greater responsibility. Judy’s ability to manage myriad priorities in a high pressure environment is world class. It is my personal pleasure to see her leadership acknowledged.”