Nov 14, 2011 12:54 AM by Carolyn Carver, Greg Boyce
The estranged wife of Pueblo City Manager, Jerry Pacheco, is speaking out. This less than 24 hours before Pacheco is scheduled to meet with his bosses, the Pueblo City Council, Monday night to address allegations surrounding the possible abuse of power.
While the personal life of government officials isn't usually news, this story is different since it involves one of Pacheco's subordinates as well as the possible intimidation of city employees to conceal evidence.
"I just don't understand how he could do this," says his estranged wife, Brandy Pacheco Kimball. "I was just kind of in shock, I was hurt and I was amazed to find out this was even going on," she says.
She says she found sexually explicit and graphic text messages on her husband's city issued cell phone. "I went through it and found some messages that were not much fun to read from a woman, a person named GOGO5. I looked it up on his contact list and it was Marisa Walker," she says. She says her husband Jerry Pacheco, Pueblo's City Manager, was texting his subordinate, Marisa Walker, Pueblo's Human Resources Director. "How she missed being in his arms," she recalls one of the alleged texts saying. "About how he's a god in bed, how much she loves him and he misses being in her arms, stuff that's not much fun to read for a woman from her husband coming from another woman," she says.
She says she took the phone and left home. Contemplating divorce, she forwarded the text messages to her mother's email.
We've been trying to get a hold of Pacheco for weeks to get his side of the story, we've called him up to 15 times in the last week, with no personal response.
He told the Pueblo Chieftain he had the city's technology department "shut the phone down" after it was stolen. Asst. City Manager, Jenny Eickelman said the phone was stolen as part of the divorce and was later returned.
We filed an open records request for text messages between the two going back to January and got a letter back from the head of the IT department, Lori Pinz. She said, "I personally inspected the cell phones of Mr. Pacheco and Ms. Walker. I found no text messages responsive to your request on the devices." By that time both phones had been remotely erased on orders from Pacheco.
Since our first inquiry into the alleged affair, Pacheco has removed Walker from his direct supervision.
Incoming City Councilman Chris Nicoll, elected less than two weeks ago, asked for an independent investigation based on an anonymous letter, which alleges "a plot to cover up records through intimidation of city employees in an effort to conceal evidence."
Then Friday, Councilman Leroy Garcia also asked for an outside investigation, and confirmed this will be the subject of an executive session Monday night.
Brandy Pacheco Kimball says, "anybody that knows anything about the affair he's going after and trying to use his power to get back at them and it's not right."
As evidence she points to a letter from Marisa Walker to her sister, Belinda Kimball, who also works at the city. It includes Walker's intent to take legal action over suspected 'inflammatory statements made to the press," she said in a statement to News 5.
Pacheco Kimballs says, "I'm tired of my name getting smeared, I'm tired of people going after my family." So the family came to us to tell their side. "I hope that my family can be left alone, we have done nothing wrong at all, I hope that the truth can come out," she says.
Less than 24 hours before air, Pacheco finally had the Assistant City Manager call us with his statements. Regarding the alleged affair Pacheco said, "I have been advised by my private legal counsel not to make public comments on the divorce or any circumstances surrounding the divorce."
Regarding allegations of using city cell phones for personal use, Pacheco said, "it would be difficult and time consuming to monitor and discipline the large number of employees who have city cell phones... I believe it is the employees responsibility to remove personal messages on their cell phones at their earliest convenience."
And regarding allegations of covering up evidence, Pacheco said, "I have not done anything illegal or violated any city ordinances or policies."
His $155,000 plus contract does say he can be terminated if he engages in conduct 'injurious to the citys best interest... or misuse of city property, funds or privileges.'
He says he welcomes the opportunity to privately discuss the allegations with the City Council.
In an unrelated case, a District Court Judge in Pueblo ruled this week against Pacheco finding him guilty of "nepotism and favoritism". A decision that is leaving taxpayers on the hook for back pay and court fees for the employee the Judge says was unfairly overlooked for a city promotion. The person promoted is married to Pacheco's personal assistant.
Marisa Walker has told us she will not comment on her "relationship" with Pacheco, she said in a statement she is not the cause of the divorce and Brandy Pacheco's family is releasing information to harass her and her family.
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