Official: Message on organization’s social media site contained threat
The Aspen Institute on Monday filed for a temporary restraining order against a local man who left a message concerning “guns and violence” on its Facebook page, according to an organization official.
The court motion against Lee Mulcahy was filed in conjunction with the Aspen Music Festival and School, which shares the West End campus, said Amy Margerum, an executive vice president at The Aspen Institute.
“There was a specific threat with guns on our property,” she said Tuesday. “We have to take it seriously.”
Margerum said the post has since been removed and declined to discuss what it specifically said.
Mulcahy said that his post was a paraphrase of a John F. Kennedy speech in which the president said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” He said he was also paraphrasing French novelist Balzac and a biblical psalm of David.
“I didn’t mean literally that I was bringing guns to someone’s door,” he said in an interview.
“The irony is that if I use words like shoot-out or Wild West it’s all a metaphor,” Mulcahy said in a voicemail left earlier Tuesday.
Mulcahy said he is currently taking part in a seminar series at the institute called “From Athens to Aspen: Perrenial Themes that Shape our World,” which meets monthly.
Mulcahy, an Aspen resident, has a long-running row with the Aspen Skiing Co., which last week saw a judge dismiss the company’s motion for a restraining order against him in a separate matter.
Mulcahy, a self-described artist, over the past several months has said his various artwork and signs with messages to the SkiCo are being unfairly criminalized by the company.
The SkiCo fired Mulcahy in 2011 from his job as a ski instructor. He contends it was retaliation for discussions he had about instructor unionization and for filing a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. SkiCo officials have said his dismissal was because of work-performance issues. Mulcahy has two ongoing lawsuits against SkiCo brass.
On Nov. 21, the SkiCo said he parked a trailer that held hand-painted signs, one of which read, “Dear CEOs Be Fair Remember the Alamo,” in front of the company’s headquarters at the Airport Business Center.
SkiCo’s attorney obtained a temporary restraining order, telling a judge that multiple employees felt “great fear and anxiety” that Mulcahy’s actions will escalate into acts of violence.
But an Aspen judge on Nov. 28 dismissed the restraining order after Mulcahy agreed to take down the signs he was towing around town.
After the Facebook post, The Aspen Institute also notified Aspen Country Day officials. The private school is leasing an institute building and has set up modular classrooms on the campus for a year while its Castle Creek Road facilities are remodeled.
“They took into consideration that we’re on the campus in their decision to file” for the restraining order, said Carolyn Hines, the school’s director of communications.
In an email Tuesday evening, Mulcahy wrote he perhaps should have stressed more the “metaphor” aspect of his post.
“Everyone knows I’m funny and non-violent,” he said. “I don’t even own a gun.”
A court hearing is scheduled for Dec. 12 for the new restraining order.