GEORGETOWN, Colo. - People who've known this town's mayor a long time say Koleen Brooks was always an outgoing sort - even before she was accused of exposing herself at a local watering hole.
The mayor denies it.
But the allegation that Brooks displayed what once were two of her greatest professional assets at Dexter's Tavern on the Creek has added fuel to a fire that could bring an early end to an unusual political career.
"The flashing breasts, I could care less about," said Dexter Fountain, owner of the establishment where Brooks allegedly bared her chest in May, one month after taking office.
"That's what Koleen is. Everybody knows she's a former stripper. That doesn't make her a bad person."
Of far more concern to Fountain and others in this mountain town of 1,100 on the southern shoulder of Interstate 70 is their belief that while Brooks has the right body for Shotgun Willie's - she danced there for six years - she's no stateswoman.
Georgetown shop owner Gwen Writer has known Brooks since the mayor was 12 years old. Asked about the mayor's reported breast baring, Writer said, "She does that in every bar. That's no big deal.
"The problem is, I think she really is trying to do her job as mayor, but she just doesn't have a clue."
That was echoed by Coralue Anderson, who, with her sister, runs Kneisel & Anderson's market across the street from Writer's store.
"We have someone as a mayor who doesn't know the difference between minutes and an agenda," said Anderson, who is also one of the town's selectmen. I said to Koleen a year ago, and I've told her again, she's not ready for this office."
Brooks, who runs the Dare-2-Be Different hair and tanning salon answered such criticism by saying, "I'm learning. I am a mayor who's learning."
Brooks denies ever having displayed her breasts at Dexter's Tavern or anywhere else in Georgetown, but admits it's something she'd been known to do in past years at a favorite watering hole in Evergreen.
"They think I'm on my own agenda," said the petite redhead. "But I haven't even started my own agenda. My town hall refuses to work with me."
The late Tip O'Neill once said all politics is local - but Georgetown carries that to an extreme.
Georgetown Mayor Pro Tem Brooke Buckley was a childhood friend of Brooks. Now, at the prompting of citizens unhappy with the first seven months of the Brooks administration, Buckley is exploring what it would take to toss Brooks out of office.
And, Buckley insisted, the controversy over the mayor's alleged exhibitionism is relevant, because it goes to the key issue of honesty.
"She's lying," Buckley said, when told of Brooks' denial. "I know she's lying, because I know people who saw her do it. This is about her dishonesty from the get-go."
In fact, allegations against Brooks go far beyond exhibitionism. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation this week is completing a probe into allegations that Brooks was overheard in her salon having a phone conversation about arranging to hurt or kill a member of the town's police force who had campaigned against her election.
Brooks fervently denies ever having plotted to take out a hit on anyone.
"It's totally ridiculous," said Brooks. "That shows how goofy this whole thing is getting."
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