A restraining order has been filed against a tenant of Brett Reese after he allegedly threatened physical violence against him for attempting to collect on a late rent payment.
The restraining order was issued by Judge Michelle Meyer against George Tiba, 29, of Evans. The order prohibits Tiba from coming within 200 yards of Reese unless it is for collection of rent payment. In issuing the order the judge found that Tiba constituted a credible threat and that imminent danger exists to Reese’s life.
According to a police report, Reese was threatened by Tiba after he and his wife Kimberlee had bounced two rent checks in a row during February and March. The report says Tiba told Reese he was “going to rip his fu***** eyes out.”
Tiba, who is 6’, weighs 200 lbs. and works in the oilfields was recently involved in another incident involving officers where a resident in East Evans contacted police and told them Tiba was reportedly threatening her with a gun. When officers contacted him no gun was found.
Multiple calls to Tiba for comment were not returned, however police indicated the call was initiated by Tiba and no action was taken because of conflicting reports by both parties.
Reese said following the threatening remarks he felt the best way to avoid further conflict was to hand deliver a letter to the couple asking them if it was their intention to move from the premises since their lease had expired at the end of March.
The Greeley Tribune has written multiple stories over the years in both the general news and editorial page indicating their displeasure with Reese.
In coverage similar to NBC’s doctoring of the 9-11 tape in order to prove George Zimmerman was a racist, the Tribune selectively omitted portions of the report to suggest Reese is an out of control landlord attempting to harm peaceful tenants.
The Tribune reported on a citation issued against Reese by Kimberlee Tiba saying “he sent her harassing letters warning that Reese and his wife were ‘tactically trained on .45-caliber handguns,’ and stated there was no need for ‘anger or potential bloodshed.’” And that that the incident involved what it called a “mix-up at her bank.” It notes that she had two bounced checks in both February and March and in each situation she paid cash to Reese. Tiba told Evans Police she felt harassed by the letters and as a result of the complaint, Evans PD issued a citation to Reese.
A reading of the police report reveals the Tribune’s statement that multiple letters were made by Reese mentioning the handgun training issue training is not accurate.
The report says the first e-mail sent by Reese on April 2 simply says, “When do you intend to find another house to rent?” The second e-mail sent two days later is also non-threatening saying:
“Your annual lease agreement expired March 31. I accepted your money order for April. Please deliver the premises by the last day of this month. As per our lease agreement, your deposit will be returned after you have completely moved out.
Following George’s alleged threats to Reese that he would rip his fu***** eyes out” the third e-mail was sent out and referenced the handgun training for the first time.
The story also neglects to mention that Kimberlee said after each of the two bounced checks Reese had to travel to the bank to obtain the $975 in monthly rent and that she admitted she “did not know why the second check had not cleared.”
With the lease expiring at the end of March, and with two trips to the bank that were made only after Reese contacted them about the bounced checks, he reasoned that it would be beneficial for both parties for them to move out, which is why he sent the first two e-mails which were not responded to.
The rent is due on the second of each month and as per the lease, there is a late fee of $20 per day after the due date. As a result of the bounced checks, each payment was around two weeks late. Reese said he did not charge her a single penny in either late or NSF fees despite the fact that he legally could have done so.
Following the threats by Tiba’s husband and after receiving no response to his e-mails, he felt it best to drop off a written copy of the letter without risking an altercation with George.
The Tribune also stated that “On Friday, she said he sent her another message, this time threatening potential bloodshed… the report stated.”
Again the police report makes no claim that the final e-mail “threatened bloodshed.” The relevant passage says:
“Kimberlee said she received a third e-mail message dated April 13, 2012. In the first paragraph of that message, Brett writes, ‘Chris (Brett’s wife) and I are both tactically trained on .45 caliber handguns.’ In the last paragraph, he writes: ‘There is no need of anger or potential bloodshed. Please let me know what role I can take to avoid this.’”
Reese owns multiple houses in Weld County where he rents them out. According to his tenants, Reese is a very fair landlord.
Rita Clark, who lives in Evans just three blocks from the Tiba’s has rented from Reese since 2007.
“I have never had a single issue with him regarding rent.” She said that one time when she needed to adjust the payment date he gladly worked with her. “One time I switched jobs and my payday changed. He adjusted to the new date without any problems.”
Amy Morgan, another tenant who lives in Severance had similar feelings for Reese. “He just gave us a new roof and painted the house. He pretty much lets us do anything we want to do with the property.” When asked if she has had any problems with Reese as a landlord she said “no, absolutely not.”
Morgan mentioned how she was grateful to the help Reese gave her family by encouraging them to get back into church.
“He told us that if we would attend church every Sunday, he would give us $100 a month. He didn’t even care which one it was. All we had to do was show him a copy of the church bulletin. He did that for around six months or so.”
An actual copy of the third e-mail which is identical to the letter and was entered into evidence in the case reveal that Reese actually went out of his way to reach an accommodation.
In the paragraph about handgun training the full text says:
“With your permission and patience, I wanted to make sure we all understand this situation.
I understand the difficult fiscal trials we are all facing in this economy.
As you know, I have not even charged late fees or NSF fees. I simply absorbed them the past 2 months. Please don’t mistake this kindness for weakness or fear. Chris and I are both tactically trained on .45 caliber handguns. This letter is an attempt to avoid litigation or violence.”
Again, this is after the threats by Tiba.
Reese goes on to say he does not see himself as superior to them.
“Please understand, I am not better than you. I freely admit you both are my superior in many ways and I respect much of what I’ve seen of you both.”
He then goes on the emphasize his desire to find a peaceful solution and avoid the violence threatened by George Tiba.
“Please, let me know by tomorrow if you intend to disregard my repeated peaceful attempts and notices. I can only assume that if you refuse to respond, that you intend to stay over yet another month. Please respond and let me know of ANY options. I am utterly out of ideas myself, and I truly wish you no ill will, nor am I attempting to treat you with arrogance of any kind.
I understand you are typically responsible people and if it helps, I apologize for offending you in any way in the past.
Is there any way at all to resolve this situation without irritating you further? There is no need of anger or potential bloodshed. Please let me know what role I can take to avoid this. With your permission, may I post the house for rent for May and begin showing it as provided for in your lease?”
The Tribune also implies that Reese initially refused to meet with the police and only did so after he was threatened with having a warrant issued for his arrest.
“Reese at first wouldn’t meet the officer in person, but when the officer suggested he’d have to meet in person to issue the citation or issue a warrant for his arrest, Reese drove down to the station.”
However, once again a different version is told in the police report.
“I explained to Brett he could come to the Police Department and I would issue him a summons and release him, or if he refused I would write a warrant for his arrest for harassment. He told me he would respond to the Police Department.”
At no time does it say that Reese refused to meet with the officer.
The story by the Tribune also references an incident involving a restraining order against him after Justin Sasso, owner of 1310 KFKA in Greeley said he felt threatened over voicemails left on his phone by Reese.
The voicemails were in reference to KFKA’s calling the sponsors of Reese’s radio station Pirate Radio 104.7 FM and telling them “Reese was a loose cannon and they could get a better deal at KFKA.”
In the voicemail Reese said “I hope we can work something out” about the station attempting to take away his sponsors to “avoid a shootout.”
Within seconds Reese called back and left another message clarifying what he meant by “shoot out.” He said, “Just to clarify, the shoot out is for the sponsors.”
The term shoot out is widely used in sports and media circles to describe an intense competition.
Under cross-examination, Sasso admitted that Reese had clarified the meaning as being over sponsors. However, he claimed that in all of his years of media experience he had never heard the word used to refer to a competition, despite his station using the word in broadcasts multiple times and that he did not believe Reese’s second phone call that it was intended to be symbolic.
Despite KFKA broadcasting numerous sporting events over the years, Sasso said he had never listened to, read or seen a sporting event.
When asked if sports announcers or commentators were known to use metaphors such as shootout Sasso said, “I don’t do either, so I don’t do sports play by play personally.”
When pressed about if he had heard the term in other sports such as soccer or hockey he said, “I don’t watch hockey. I read the news section, I do not read the sports section. I don’t follow sports.”
He said he also felt the term meant violence against him because of a Channel 7 news piece about the voice mails where Reese is shown showing the cameraman his weapon.
However, a Gazette reporter present at the time of that interview said the footage was actually from a previous interview several days prior about another issue. During that interview the reporter asked Reese if he would be willing to show him the weapon. Reese said he did not want to, but only agreed to do so after several entreaties by the TV reporter.
In issuing his decision, Judge Unfug referred to a definition in Black’s Law Dictionary.
“According to Black’s Law Dictionary, the term ‘shoot’ generally implies the uses of firearms and here in the Western United States a shootout brings to mind images of the OK corral where 30 shots were fired in 30 seconds leaving three men dead and three wounded.”
He also said Reese posed an ongoing threat to Sasso solely because “Mr. Sasso and Mr. Reese are both managers of local radio stations which compete with each other in the same market. And as a result there’s going to be a relationship of competition between the two of them.”
In 2010, the local Judicial Performance Review which reviews judges and makes recommendations on whether voters should retain them listed Unfug’s weaknesses, saying, “The Commission is concerned that the perception still exists that Judge Unfug has a weakness in knowledge of the law, with the attorney evaluations returning a score below the statewide average for all county court judges.”
Editor’s note: The letter by Brett Reese to the Tiba’s has been posted on the Gazette website.