Commerce Council candidate threatens HMG-CN publisher after report of donations

Leonardo Mendoza too sent fraudulent emails calling himself mayor when he was kidnapped two weeks ago.

Staff report

April 29, 2022 ~ Last week, HMG-CN exposed thousands of dark money trying to influence the Commerce City Council race.

Candidate Leonard Mendoza, who got punched at a contract towns conference and was just removed from office for abusing his position as mayor and sending campaign promos on the town’s stationery, received a total of $22,000 in donations over $1,000.

Now with black money, intimidation, harassment, threat of bodily harm and fraud have marred the race.

After reporting his removal as mayor for abuse of power, Mendoza, against the advice of the Commerce City clerk, mailed campaign materials stating that he is still the mayor of Commerce.

The first letter was sent to all Commerce residents hitting mailboxes a week after Mendoza was stripped of his title for abusing his office.

“He’s an impostor,” said a resident who did not want to be identified for fear of reprisals, “he’s not the mayor; everyone knows it here in the city.

The resident knew what he was talking about when he talked about punishment.

After publishing the black money article, HMG-CN emailed Mendoza asking about the letter, Mendoza erupted and immediately began a barrage of intimidation, harassment and threats bodily harm against HMG-CN editor Brian Hews.

Mendoza sent a thinly disguised threat, writing to Hews, “You vetter [sic] Stop [sic] write about me!

A few emails later, Hews was forced to ask about Mendoza’s alleged drinking problem, Mendoza wrote, ‘Don’t change what we’re talking about [sic] by the way, don’t write about me. I will sue you if you write about me again.

In another email, Mendoza became extremely belligerent and threatening, “You messed up No body [sic] mess with me. I want to tell everyone to know that you are a fool and a liar [sic] When I’m elected, I’ll make sure you never work in commerce. I have support [sic] in other cities and I will tell them to do it. You have nothing I talk to my lawyer about it [sic] and i can send as mayor i will be elected and get [candidate] miraya [Garcia] and Yvette [Gayton] elected. I will be mayor again. I’m not worried. You will be out of the trade.

“Watch [sic] You will see that I am pursuing you. You are the biggest fraud. I have a big family.

Distributing fraudulent material and posting the same information on social media carries no penalties, but sending fraudulent material through the USPS is mail fraud, provided there is 1) a scheme to defraud, 2) an intent to defraud and 3) use the mail in furtherance of the scheme.

In an email obtained by HMG-CN via a FOIA request, Mendoza was told by the Commerce City clerk on April 20 that he could not post or publish anything calling him mayor after the council meeting. council of April 12 when he was removed from office.

Mendoza admitted guilt, telling the city clerk, “I printed everything before April 12, I will stop using any material after everything printed has been distributed.”

Mendoza did not respond to questions about the misleading flyers but on social media he did not stop the fraud.

On Facebook, Mendoza has created a page called Mendoza4Commerce. The front page, which was visible at the time of this article’s publication, stated: “Re-elect Mayor Leonard Mendoza Commerce City Council 2022.”

Emails to Mendoza asking him to explain his Facebook page were not returned.

(Above) This was posted today April 29, 2022 by Mendoza, breaching his promise to the City Clerk (below).