Photos: Protester defies lawsuit threat from development near Rocky Flats
Americans have well-established rights to free speech. But at what point do such activities cross the line into defamation? That's a question currently confronting Michelle Gabrieloff-Parish, a mother of three who lives near the site of Rocky Flats, a facility that once made triggers for nuclear weapons. A powerful law firm has sent her a cease-and-desist letter regarding her criticisms of developments near the plant, threatening millions in liabilities. But rather than zipping her lips, she's retained an attorney of her own and plans to keep speaking out at a weekend event.
Big photos below.
"They're clearly trying to quiet any controversy," maintains Gabrieloff-Parish. "They're not just trying to silence me. They really don't want anything about this out at all."
The issues have cropped up in regard to the Candelas development, described like so on the company's website:
A sign toward the Candelas development near the intersection of highways 72 and 93.
Welcome to CandelasAttorney Jonathan Pray of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, which represents Arvada Residential Partners with respect to Candelas, declines to comment about the subject, citing the possibility of future litigation. But a letter Pray sent to Gabrieloff-Parish maintains that she made "defamatory statements" capable of affecting "the trade and business of ARP." They're said to constitute libel per se.
The Next Great Place on the Front Range
There is a magnificent sweep of mountain pastureland you'd swear you've seen before on picture postcards of the great American West. This wide-open landscape, this epitome of raw western beauty, is called Candelas. A nearly 1,500-acre master-planned community in west Arvada, Candelas presents a life full of the very things people love most about Colorado. Come live life wide open.
"Under Colorado law," the letter states, "to the extent you were involved in the making of these statements, you are personally liable for the full amount of ARP's damages, which could exceed many millions of dollars."
Candelas and ARP had received all the proper approvals and was well underway when Gabrieloff-Parish, who lives nearby, became concerned about the development, not to mention the Jefferson Parkway, an $813 million toll-road project in the area that has been targeted by assorted environmental groups.
As such, Gabrieloff-Parish put up a mini-website, Candelasglows.com. An essay posted there worries that the Candelas and Jefferson Parkway efforts could kick up plutonium particles that were buried as part of the plant's cleanup. After noting the June 1 grand opening for Candelas, Gabrieloff-Parish wrote that "local residents are proposing educating participants about the risks they may be incurring -- for themselves and for the larger community by buying homes so close to a Superfund site."
Candelasglows.com features a version of the invitation to the grand opening -- except with radiation warning symbols on either side.
Courtesy of Michelle Gabrieloff-Parish
In addition, Gabrieloff-Parish wrote about Candelas for a post on Elephant Journal. Its headline reads "Green Housing on Plutonium," but its URL features the words "Angelina Jole cuts off both breasts to prevent cancer while we prepare to build housing on plutonium."
Continue for more about Michelle Gabrieloff-Parish and the Candelas development, including additional photos.