Local News

Recall Retaliation? Councilman Montoya Contacts Employer Of Recall Supporter

April 12, 2019

Former Tusayan Councilman John Schoppmann has concerns after Al Montoya went to Schoppmann’s boss over his support of recall efforts against Montoya.

Schoppmann, and his wife Chrystal moved forward on a recall  in part over controversial statements Montoya made following a July Town Council meeting. Those comments were live streamed on the internet because the live streaming switch was left on. Montoya’s ‘open mic’ comments included offering advice to developer Stilo on how to win public support and deal with opponents, as well as comments related to keeping materials outside of the public record. 

When Chrystal Schoppmann, an employees of the Tusayan Fire District, took offense to Montoya’s comments, Montoya said he would no longer ‘endorse’ the Tusayan Fire Department. A recall against Montoya soon followed. Montoya claims he was sending a message as a resident and not a member of the Town Council and he claims his opposition is limited to two individuals in the department.

Chrystal’s husband, John Schoppmann is also facing Montoya’s wrath. While he does not fear for his job, he finds Montoya’s methods troubling. Schoppmann tells the Watchdog, “On January 21, 2019, my direct boss caught me, in passing, and asked what was going on with the recall petition of Al Montoya.  He went on to mention that Al had recently contacted him and that Al had plans to contact Brenda Halverson in regards to the recall and that I was conspiring with Clarinda Vail and the Thurston’s to get rid of him.  I went on to explain my reasons behind the recall were actually a direct result of Mr. Montoya retaliation efforts against my wife’s employer when my wife utilized her 1st Amendment right and spoke out against several council members and their direct involvement with recent events that had been made public.  My employer went on to say that he was just asking and he played no role and took no sides. “

Montoya and John Schoppmann both work for companies owned by Elling Halvorson. Montoya’s relationship with Halvorson goes back 20 years. Schoppmann has been working for a Halvorson company for a few years.

When confronted with these allegations at a March Town Council meeting Montoya did not deny talking to John Schoppmann’s employer about John’s support of the recall and claims he was notifying Schoppmann’s boss because a member of the staff  as Montoya puts it " was making false accusations." Montoya also said he is not a bully and it seems the Schoppmanns do not want to see “an ethnic person on the council.”

Montoya’s decision to bring race into the issue drew a stern rebuke from Chrystal Schoppmann, “Mr. Montoya's accusations that my husband and I are racist is nothing more that Mr. Montoya ‘playing the race card.’  Mr. Montoya deliberately and falsely accused us of racism because he had no other recourse in our recall efforts against him and is using this to try to gain political advantage. The level of dishonesty and unethical behavior that is displayed by Mr. Montoya is disheartening, to say the least. This is someone who is directly responsible for the direction of our Town and Tusayan deserves better!   I am confident that the people of Tusayan will see Mr. Montoya's efforts for what they are...baseless and without merit.”

For additional background here is a link to an article dealing with Montoya’s email to the Tusayan Fire District. http://www.grandcanyonwatchdog.com/local/index.php?id=1234

Here is a link to an article on Montoya’s  (and others) ‘open mic’ comments.