Family stick together

Local businessman pays off Rainbow warrants

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— More than 100 Rainbow Family of Living Light gathering participants have received a "get out of jail free" card.

A Colorado businessman has donated $4,000 to pay fines for 101 Rainbow-related cases in U.S. District Court in Denver, attorney Don Wirtshafter said Thursday. The businessman is a member of the Rainbow Family, which drew an estimated 15,000 people to its annual gathering in North Routt County last month.

"In recent years, I've done my best to make sure there are no stragglers with warrants," said Wirtshafter, an Athens, Ohio, attorney who said he has attended and monitored legal proceedings at Rainbow gatherings since 1980. "The family takes care of its own."

Kathy Triplett, a deputy clerk at the Denver court, said Magistrate Judge Gudrun Rice reduced 101 outstanding warrants for Rainbow participants to "collateral forfeiture" fees last week, requiring payments of a $15 fine and a $25 court fee to clear each case.

Wirtshafter said he received $4,000 from the Colorado businessman, who asked to remain anonymous. Triplett said Thursday that she expects to receive "a credit card number" from Wirtshafter today.

Triplett said the warrants were for Rainbow participants who received citations but did not appear at an impromptu federal court held at a North Routt Fire District station on Routt County Road 129 during the gathering, which officially ran from July 1-7 but drew participants to the area for more than a month. U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers issued more than 580 citations to Rainbow participants, primarily for occupying national forest land without a permit, which is required for groups of 75 or more.

Forest Service officials did not issue a permit for the Rainbow gathering, primarily because of the late submission of a valid application and high fire danger in the area near Big Red Park, about 35 miles north of Steamboat Springs.

Triplett said that although the 101 warrants represented most of the outstanding Rainbow-related court cases, two Rainbow defendants -- Alexander Dschaak and Rob Savoye of Nederland -- are scheduled to appear in the Denver court Aug. 11.

Wirtshafter said law officers have singled out Savoye because of his perceived leadership role in the Rainbow gathering. Savoye helped establish communication and medical facilities at the event, and he is the designer of the Rainbow family Web site, www.welcomehome.org.

Wirtshafter said Rainbow participants who have questions about their court cases or warrants can call him at (740) 662-5297.

"If you didn't go to court, it is all taken care of," he said. "Thank you, family."

To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203 or e-mail
mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com.

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