DENVER -- The FOX31 Problem Solvers first investigated a Denver City Council policy analyst for using the city's affordable housing program to help himself. Now, Zachary Rothmier is accused of voter registration fraud.
An anonymous letter sent to the Problem Solvers asked us to look into Rothmier. The letter stated that Rothmier was using the city's affordable housing program to rent out a condo he bought at a discount to unknowing tenants at market rate. He paid below market value because at the time, he qualified for affordable housing and the city owned the unit.
Rothmier, a policy analyst for the Denver City Council, moved out one year after he purchased the condo and started renting the unit at market rate to people like Michael Moore.
"I've rented it for the last year and half and I was paying $2,300 a month," Moore said. The city of Denver didn't catch on until 2019, but instead of making Rothmeir pay back all the money he made renting an affordable housing unit he was legally obligated to live in, the city just asked him to sell the condo.
"There's no special treatment for city employees," said Derek Woodbury with the Denver's Office of Economic Development. "We're squarely focused on preserving affordability."
Florence Sebern is a retired elections judge. She believes Rothmier violated the city's code of conduct and should be held accountable.
"I can prove that he made over $94,000 in illicit market-rate rental monies and that he pulled out $89,000 in cash from the four refinances on that condo," Sebern said.
Serbern decided to go after Rothmier the way she knew best: his voter registration. It turns out, when Zachary bought the affordable housing condo, he was supposed to claim it as his address for voter registration. Instead, Rothmier claimed a home on Dexter Way, where he actually lives, as his address for voter registration.
"It seems unlikely that the Rothmiers don't know what they're doing. It seems more likely that they thought no one would notice," said Sebern.
Sebern had Rothmier put in front of elections hearing officers, requesting his voter registration be canceled.
Rothmier wasn't pleased our camera was at the hearing. He spent most of it trying to hide his face and he certainly didn't want to answer our questions after.
The Problem Solvers reached out to the city's Office of Economic Development and Opportunity again as to why it never took any monetary recovery action against Rothmeir. It sent us the following statement:
"We’re focused on bringing our entire portfolio of covenant-restricted homes into compliance, and we’re continuing to work with this individual homeowner along with many others. At this time, we have prioritized enforcement efforts among households that have blatantly disregarded the program and have not expressed interest in working with the city to bring their home back into compliance. We have begun issuing Notices of Violation to these homeowners.
Mr. Rothmier, is currently working with the city to bring his home into compliance through the Compliance Resolution Program. Over the past year, a total of 173 of the homes have been cleared of any suspected issues and have been confirmed to be in compliance with the affordability requirements established per covenant.
There appears to be some confusion and/or mis-stating of the program names associated with our efforts to bring all homes into compliance with covenant restrictions. Our office launched a Compliance Resolution Program (CRP) in spring 2018, as an option for homeowners to work with us to demonstrate compliance with covenant restrictions or to work toward a solution. The program was offered to all households that were suspected of covenant violations. Our office later launched the Affordable Homeownership Recovery Program (AHRP) as an option for non-income qualified owners to stay in their homes through a temporary suspension of affordability requirements. Mr. Rothmier is participating under the CRP to work toward resolution of his compliance violation. However, he has not signed up for the AHRP, nor is he eligible for this program. "AlertMe