10/14/2010 02:37 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Aspen Daily News Drunk With Power

There's nothing the least bit funny about a drinking problem, not even when it's someone you don't necessarily like. Nonetheless the murky circumstances surrounding the arrest for trespassing of Aspen Daily News owner/mascot Dave Danforth are not without humorous details.

Danforth, you see, was arrested for trespassing at the Aspen Store on Main Street, a block and a half from Aspen Daily News world headquarters. He got into a bit of an inebriated tiff, according to police, because the Aspen Store was bold enough to charge sales tax on his beloved New York Times. Danforth, as everyone in Aspen, is the world's foremost expert on investigative journalism, a title he defends every time he reverts to a pretend column with his pretend friends.

Not coincidentally, his tiresome column is called: "Usual Suspect."

The collar on Danforth by Aspen Police comes in the wake of the arrest of former Aspen Daily News editor Troy Hooper: as the Daily News described Danforth's protégé: "Hooper, who now writes for an Aspen online news website called, was fired from the Daily News in April, after a police encounter nearly two months earlier during which he appeared to offer favorable news coverage in return for the officer driving him home instead of charging him on suspicion of drunken driving."

At the Aspen Daily News, where substance abuse can sometimes seem like an indoor sport, the back-to-back-to-back incidents were still notable for the tendency of the editors in question to try to talk themselves out of trouble with the authorities in question--a move bespeaking both self-importance and their awareness of their inordinate power in a small town. Mess with them and they can make you pay.

"It was a political arrest," Danforth said Sunday evening according to the paper he owns. "I was arrested because I reached for my cell phone... They are making it up as they go along."

The paper wrote: "Danforth said he was not intoxicated; he had two drinks over a 2 1/2 hour period."

"They are using that as an excuse," Danforth told the reporter on his payroll. "I thought the cops were going to protect me when they arrived. I should have known better."

As for Hooper, he was busy denying that he once again sought special influence, this time with his old hero Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis.

"The way it was portrayed in the report didn't play out in reality," Hooper told his old paper. "I'm afraid it was being taken out of context .. I was trying to get a hold of attorneys that Bob and I are friends with."

At least Hooper didn't get arrested for trespassing.