SkiCo obtains protection order against former instructor

by Chad Abraham, Aspen Daily News Staff Writer

A judge on Friday signed a temporary protection order for the Aspen Skiing Co. that prevents a former ski instructor from coming within 100 yards of company-owned property and the residences of its CEO and corporate owners.

The SkiCo sought the order after Lee Mulcahy of Aspen allegedly parked a trailer that held hand-painted signs, one of which says, “Dear CEOs Be Fair Remember the Alamo,” in front of the company’s headquarters at the Aspen Business Center.

The alleged sign placement on Wednesday is the latest in a long string of incidents that have included Mulcahy being 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. The SkiCo maintains he was dismissed for work-performance issues unrelated to the fliers.

The company banned Mulcahy from its property, including the ski areas it leases from the federal government, and he responded by suing the company and its owners, Paula and James Crown, contending the ban is overly broad and unconstitutional. He also sued SkiCo CEO Mike Kaplan for libel.

 Chris Council/Aspen Daily News
Lee Mulcahy’s artwork parked on South Monarch Street on a recent afternoon. He has been driving the trailer around town in recent weeks with various messages. After parking it in front of the Aspen Skiing Co. headquarters last week, it prompted the company to file a protection order against him.

Both lawsuits remain pending, and Mulcahy also still faces a misdemeanor trespassing charge for allegedly going onto SkiCo property at the ABC to tape court papers for the Crowns to the building. He has pleaded not guilty.

SkiCo attorney Dave Bellack filed, along with the protection order motion, affidavits from 10 employees who say that the Alamo sign has caused them to feel “harassed and ... great fear and anxiety” for their safety.

Bellack wrote that SkiCo employees fear that Mulcahy’s alleged actions will “escalate into acts of violence.” His motion notes that “the reference to the Alamo was a battle cry for revenge used by U.S. troops during the War with Mexico and the Spanish-American War.”

Mulcahy on Monday filed a 14-page response to the protection order motion, calling himself a “Bible-studying Eagle scout” who was an instructor for the SkiCo for more than 15 years. He describes at length the long battle with his former employer.

“The phrase ‘Remember the Alamo’ represents the struggle of little people against overwhelming odds,” Mulcahy wrote.

He doesn’t deny parking the trailer directly outside the company’s headquarters but says he “lives a block away and often stops at the bank and grocery store adjacent” to the SkiCo offices.

Judge Denise Lynch of Pitkin County District Court, who signed the temporary protection order, set a hearing for Wednesday to allow the sides to present their cases.