Councilperson accused of stalking, harassing political rival

M.P. Regan
Wednesday, August 3, 2022

O'Rourke and Muntzer

The long-running feud between two local political figures recently spilled into the back alleys of town and in front of the city council.

Near the end of the last meeting of the Dillon City Council, local business owner Hank Muntzer accused City Councilperson Mary Jo O’Rourke of stalking and harassing him.

“I have a situation with Mary Jane (sic) O’Rourke that I’ve had to report several times—stalking my place of business, photographing and recording us, and just trying to create problems,” said local business owner Hank Muntzer of City Councilperson Mary Jo O’Rourke during the public comment period at the end of the July 20 Dillon City Council meeting.

“She gets her camera out and is videotaping. It’s not just driving by. It’s very obvious. We come out and she takes off,” Muntzer told the Tribune.

“It has been documented that the vehicle driving through the alley behind Dillon Appliance is registered and was occupied by Mary Jo O’Rourke,” Muntzer associate Perry McVay told city council of slow rides through the alley he alleges O’Rourke took in her vehicle on June 24, June 28, July 9 and July 13.

Those visits followed another splurge of them in 2021, according to McVay and Muntzer.

“It’s not just once or twice, or it could be a coincidence. I’ve seen her do it at least 20 times,” stated Muntzer of the alleged trips by O’Rourke through the alley in back of his Dillon Appliance.

“Why is she doing this? I am not creating any problem for her,” wondered Muntzer, a participant in the Jan. 6, 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol building, 10 months before losing a city council race to O’Rourke, perhaps the most progressive-minded member of the city legislature.

“I think it’s politically motivated,” commented Muntzer, leader of the weekly MAGA vehicle parades through Dillon who got chastised by O’Rourke in 2021 for allowing an obscene phrase about President Joe Biden to be displayed by his shop.

“She just doesn’t like that I have a different opinion than her.”

O’Rourke urged the city to make Muntzer remove that phrase about Biden, though the city refused to do, with then-Mayor Mike Klakken and then-City Attorney Jim Dolan and then-Police Chief Don Guiberson saying it would have violated Muntzer’s First Amendment rights.

“Maybe I’ll put something else on my building and drive her right over the edge,” laughed Muntzer last week.

“You have to find the humor in it.”

O’Rourke claims there is nothing funny about what she’s doing—that her recent actions in regards to Muntzer have been motivated by her desire to protect local children.

“It was brought to my attention by a neighborhood business, concerned that kids were playing within 10 feet of those appliances,” said O’Rourke of used appliances Muntzer stores behind his business.

“There was a problem with abandoned, unattended old appliances that were not secured. Their doors were not secured or removed,” O’Rourke told the Tribune of a situation she also brought up publically last year.

Muntzer insists, as he did last year, that none of the appliances behind his shop feature latching doors or shelves capable of trapping someone inside of them.

“We are looking into it at this point—both her complaints and his,” Dillon Police Chief Jeremy Alvarez told the Tribune on Monday.

“People tell me I should try to get a restraining order against her, but then I wouldn’t be able to go to a city council meeting,” said Muntzer, who characterized his appearance at the last city council meeting as an effort to resolve his problem with O’Rourke in a different manner.

“I just wanted to call her out on the carpet in front of everyone, so she cuts it out.”

O’Rourke told the Tribune that the problem with the appliances stored in back of Muntzer’s shop recently got attended to.

“It sounds to me like the city has solved the problem,” contended O’Rourke. “That is all I care about.”