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Pueblo Mayor’s son arrested on criminal mischief-related charges

PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) — The son of Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar and a prominent attorney faces felony criminal mischief charges following an incident in Pueblo on April 23.

Douglas Gradisar is accused of causing between $5,000 and $20,000 in damages to the inside of a home he shared with his former girlfriend, Shawna Santistevan.

According to court documents, Gradisar was originally charged with felony menacing, domestic violence, and harassment.

Douglas Gradisar

Arrest documents obtained by 13 Investigates say his former girlfriend, the victim, called the Pueblo Police Department on the morning of April 23, 2022. She told police that Gradisar said their home had been broken into and there was extensive damage inside the home.

Officers entered the home and saw "broken furniture on the ground and broken glass on the floor." She told police most of the broken items belonged to her, arrest documents say.

As officers began searching the home, they found that Gradisar's pinball machine, arcade game, and music equipment were all intact. The victim provided 13 Investigates with photos of the damage inside her shared home with Gradisar.

Pueblo Police officers arrested Douglas that morning. He was booked into the Pueblo County Jail and two days later posted a $5,000 personal recognizance bond and was released.

However, on April 28, documents were filed that said the case was dismissed.

Documents obtained by 13 Investigates say Pueblo District Attorney Jeff Chostner did not believe there was enough evidence to proceed. The document reads, "there is insufficient information provided in the reports submitted by law enforcement to indicate how law enforcement was able to determine it was the suspect who committed the alleged offenses."

In a statement to 13 Investigates, Chostner said, "The case was put in a “no-action” posture, pending additional information/investigation by the Pueblo Police Department. Once we received that, we believed we had sufficient evidence to proceed and we did."

More than a month later on June 6, Chostner filed a motion to reinstate the case. Court documents say "additional follow up investigation was conducted by the Pueblo Police Department and additional information was provided to the District Attorney's Office."

For the last three months, 13 Investigates has asked for answers about what evidence was missing in the initial investigation and what "additional follow up" was done.

Pueblo Police Chief Chris Noeller issued this statement to 13 Investigates:

The case is still open and active so I can’t go into detail, but there were additional interviews that needed to be conducted, and evidence that needed to be collected that was not collected by the officers that night.

Pueblo Police Chief Chris Noeller

When asked about what new evidence came to light, Noeller said:

"As soon as I discovered the deficiencies with this case, I had a detective from our Special Victims Unit assigned to investigate the case and conduct further follow up.  This follow up was conducted and the case with the new information was presented to the DA’s Office.  Unfortunately, I cannot discuss the evidence in this case as this is an ongoing investigation and as you noted still in active court proceedings.  I don’t want to affect the case one way or another.  What I can say, as I’ve stated in the past, is this was not an example of our best work and for that I apologize to all involved.  We caught the deficiencies, we’ve addressed them with our staff, and we completed a more thorough investigation which the DA’s Office reviewed and has charged.  To state anything further would be inappropriate at this time."

Pueblo Police Chief Chris Noeller

13 Investigates first learned of Gradisar's charges in late April. A citizen informed Pueblo City Council member Regina Maestri of the charges. She says she became concerned when the charges were put into a "no-action" posture.

"Obviously something took place and as I further looked into it, I found that the accused was trying to have the records sealed," Maestri said.

Maestri is referring to an effort made by Gradisar's defense attorney Adam Schultz to seal the records related to the case.

The motion was filed on May 3 by Schultz. In response, Chostner indicates that there is a possibility of charges being refiled in the case. They asked Judge David Alexander to not grant the motion to seal all records related to the case. Judge Alexander chose not to seal the records.

"I was elected and stood to be a voice for this community," Maestri said. "To bring change to this community, to bring transparency to this community."

The victim in the case told 13 Investigates that she is worried for her safety and did not feel comfortable speaking out. Maestri says she never wants a Pueblo citizen to feel like they can't speak out.

"If victims do not feel comfortable speaking out, I am comfortable speaking out for any victim in this community because that is what you elected me for," Maestri said.

13 Investigates reached out to Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar for comment on his the allegations against his son. Gradisar said:

I love my son and it is shameful that my status as an elected official makes some people believe that his legal troubles, which have nothing to do with me, can be used to politicize his unfortunate situation. 

Mayor Nick Gradisar

Maestri said she is not speaking out as a way to seek political gain or politicize the situation. Rather, to shed light on how prevalent domestic violence crimes are in Pueblo.

"That's is a selfish statement from the Mayor. That he is more worried about his political career than he is about the well-being of our community," Maestri said. "I'll have critics for coming forward and being a voice for all victims, especially with this one being the Mayor's son."

The City Council member cited two domestic violence homicides occurring in early 2022 as a large reason for feeling the need to come forward.

13 Investigates reached out to Chief Noeller and District Attorney Chostner for interviews regarding this case. Both declined and cited open investigations and ongoing litigation as the reasons why. Gradisar's defense attorney Adam Schultz declined to comment on his client's charges as well.

Gradisar will be back in court on September 1.

Article Topic Follows: 13 Investigates

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Sean Rice

Sean is reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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