LAKEWOOD – House District 28 candidate Democrat Brittany Pettersen portrays herself as a survivor of an unstable childhood rocked with emotional and financial struggles. Supporters laud her as an example to follow; detractors question whether Pettersen might also be a “poor, little rich girl.”
“I overcame a background as an at-risk youth, put myself through college, and have traveled and volunteered around the world in schools and orphanages with underprivileged children,” asserted Pettersen in her bio and to reporters.
Her campaign brochure states, “Brittany Pettersen came from a broken home where both of her parents were in trouble with the law. She basically raised herself and her two brothers.”
It is true that her parents Stacy and Brent Pettersen struggled financially, encountered legal problems and endured a troubled marriage. During lean times, the family received help from a grandmother, Wanda L. Pettersen who sold at least one property in Longmont for a million dollars and set up a trust.
Brittany Pettersen’s parents sounded stunned when asked to comment about their daughter’s campaign brochure.
Stacy Pettersen, a hair stylist, said she didn’t know why her daughter would air past legal incidents. Brent Pettersen, a residential contractor, talked openly about the building industry, but asked about the campaign assertions, he thundered, “She’s not my daughter!”
Despite those comments, Brittany Pettersen’s family members have contributed hundreds of dollars to her campaign, including her father.
Stacy and Brent Pettersen divorced in 2008 when their daughter was age 27. Then, Brittany Pettersen worked as a canvasser for liberal Grassroots Campaigns, a job that led to a 4-month stint on a Denver mayoral race in 2011 and New Era as a field director registering voters and promoting green energy.
A graduate of Metro State, Pettersen traveled to Europe – but instead of photos of her helping impoverished students and orphans, she’s snapped with a friend touring Italy, soaring in a hand-glider and rappelling down an icy ridge in the Swiss Alps.
The fun-filled trip was chronicled in photos posted on the internet on Oct. 27, 2007, but that year was also hard for Pettersen. She was injured in a car accident in March 2007, and involved in two more collisions over the next three years – none were her fault.
In September 2007, Pettersen was being treated by J.A.M. Chiropractic Care, also known as Ascent Health Center, and she hired Denver attorney Clifford Beem to negotiate a personal injury settlement.
Now, Pettersen has filed several lawsuits. Pettersen has refused to honor her agreement to pay 35 percent of the $20,000 settlement to Beem, and pay $9.223.60 to J.A.M. for treatments.
Because of the dispute, the settlement has been held in escrow since it was awarded in March 2010.
Pettersen claims that Beem’s cut is “unconscionable” and J.A.M. failed to inform her of medical care charges. Beem and J.A.M. filed individual countersuits in February this year, and both contend that Pettersen understood and was fully apprised of the charges. The professionals also disputed Pettersen’s claim that they conspired to deceive her.
This year Pettersen also filed lawsuits against three individuals involved in a multi-car crash in February 2009, two cases have been dismissed for lack of merit, and against the driver of a car involved in a September 2010 accident. The latter case will be heard in July 2013 according to documents and the law office of Christopher M. Robbins.
According to the lawsuits seeking unspecified financial damage, Pettersen “has incurred past reasonable and necessary medical expenses, wage loss, loss of earning capacity, loss of enjoyment of life, physical impairment, permanent disfigurement and physical and mental pain and suffering and will continue to incur in the future…”
Pettersen was reached during a social event, but did not comment and did not respond to follow up calls.
The lawsuits will be determined on facts presented in a court of law, but the HD 28 race might be more influenced by image.
Competing against Republican Amy Attwood, who has worked for her family’s construction business for nearly two decades, Pettersen has swapped her jeans and New Era t-shirts for business suits, donned dark-framed eyeglasses and sculpted a success story.
Both Attwood and Pettersen have garnered a wish list of endorsements by political leaders and organizations, and developed a loyal following of grassroots supporters who call and walk precincts nearly every day of the week.
Among Pettersen’s endorsements is People for the American Way that stated, “She is a strong supporter of LGBT rights and a woman’s right to choose. Pettersen also believes that we should fight back against voter suppression and protect every citizen’s right to have their voice heard at the ballot box.”