Colorado Court Case Goes Viral on TikTok

Millions of views, hundreds of thousands of likes. This Jefferson County property rights dispute has blown up on TikTok. / Illustration by Zack Figg for Law Week Colorado.

What happens when your case spills out of the court and into TikTok? That’s a question some Colorado lawyers are dealing with after a property dispute went viral on the social media app. 

Maybe if you’re on TikTok you came across a video of a woman, arms crossed with a stern expression, pasted over a video of children and adults in swimsuits, carrying inflatable tubes on the sandy beach of a creek. Text at the bottom reads “POV: they tell you it’s not a big deal and you shouldn’t have bought property next to park if you don’t want the Public in your backyard.” That’s how Law Week first came across the Jefferson County court case that’s been seen 3.7 million times since it was posted Aug. 3. 

As a rule of thumb, lawyers tend to advise clients not to post about ongoing cases on social media just in case information disclosed in a post ends up as evidence against them. But in this case, the social media fame might help the defendants who are raising money for legal fees and have encouraged followers to contact local government officials about the case. 

Taralyn Romero began posting to her TikTok account (@wickedwitch_ofthe_west) on Aug. 2 and since then she’s gained 33,900 followers, 559,400 likes and over five million views sharing her side of what she calls “a modern day David & Goliath tale.” 

That David and Goliath tale springs from a property dispute involving Romero and her fiancé Michael Eymer against residents of Jefferson County who say the couple has stopped them from accessing parts of Kittredge Community Park bordering Bear Creek. 

Eymer and Romero’s home sits on a small bluff overlooking Bear Creek and on the opposite shore, the public has been using the beach as a park.

In 1986, Jefferson County purchased property from surrounding landowners to create Kittredge Community Park. Bordering the park is a parcel of land with access to Bear Creek that locals have used to access the creek’s northern shore. That parcel is at the center of the dispute, with Jefferson County arguing it’s part of the park and should be open to the public and the landowners arguing it’s their private property and they no longer want the public to use it.

Romero said she didn’t know about the public use of the park when she and Eymer bought their home in March 2021. In an Aug. 4 TikTok, Romero explained they placed an offer the same day they saw their home and the sellers didn’t disclose the public had been using the land across the river from them for decades. 

“I saw the house for maybe 30 minutes and then we both left. We rushed to get our paperwork together so I could make an offer,” said Romero in the video. “The good news: I got the home. The bad news: the prior owners did not tell me that my backyard with a creek running through it, as was advertised, was being used as an extension of a public park and had been for decades.” 

It was winter when they bought the house and when the summer rolled around last year, residents began using the beach across the creek and conflicts between the couple and the public kicked off a property rights dispute. 

Representing the Board of County Commissioners for Jefferson County, the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office on July 12 asked the state court to grant declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent Romero and Eymer from blocking access to the land and rule the disputed property belongs to Jefferson County. The lawsuit came after two months of talks with the couple, a Jefferson County Open Space spokesperson told a local news outlet in July

According to the county’s complaint, the couple blocked off portions of the disputed land, putting up markers, ropes and private property signs. The couple has since agreed not to block access. The county also alleges both Eymer and Romero “have acted with aggression and intimidation towards park visitors and children playing in the creek and digging in the sand through use of drones, security cameras, photographing license plates and general threats of trespass tickets.” 

The complaint also alleges the couple circulated a survey about the park online with deceptive language. According to the county, the survey could’ve led readers to believe it was from Jefferson County Open Space since it included a field to collect contact information by the question “[m]ay Jefferson County contact you.” The complaint says the survey’s since been revised after Jefferson County officials spoke with the couple’s attorney. 

Jefferson County argues that while the creek may have changed location since 1986, the land deed divided property relative to Bear Creek’s location rather than a set point. The county added the creek’s location has changed considerably since 1986, but only slightly since March 2021 when the couple bought the property. 

Jefferson County argues that if Romero and Eymer do own the disputed land based on the 1986 agreement, the county has since acquired the land through adverse possession. According to the lawsuit, Jefferson County has continually used the land north of the creek since 1986, made improvements to the land, maintained the property and the public has used it as part of the park ever since. The county also made a prescriptive easement argument, that it’s acquired implied easement over the land for the public to have recreational and social use since the park was formed. 

Romero and Eymer’s response isn’t due until Sept. 9 and attorneys representing the couple did not respond to Law Week’s request for an interview, but Romero has laid out the couple’s side of the story on her TikTok account. 

In her videos, Romero says she’s experienced harassment online and in-person and claims Jefferson County’s lawsuit came after pressure from a vocal minority of the community. Most comments on Romero’s account are supportive of the couple in the dispute. 

While it’s unclear if Romero’s TikTok account will have any impact on the court case, or what that impact could look like, she’s asked her followers for support.  

On Aug. 25, Romero created a GoFundMe page to raise money for the couple’s legal fees with a goal of raising $50,000. Romero said any unused funds will be donated to “others who are in need of financial assistance to fight big government.” She has also encouraged TikTok followers who want to support her to email the Jefferson County Commissioners and CC her.  

The Jefferson County Attorney’s Office, which is representing the county commissioners, also didn’t respond to a request for comment. Eymer and Romero are represented by Brian Ray of Hatch Ray Olsen Conant LLC and Timmins LLC attorneys Edward Timmins and Amy Hunt. 

CORRECTION NOTE: This story was updated on Oct. 11 to clarify what portions of land are in dispute, correct factual errors about the location of the disputed land and remove information falsely stating the defendants claim the creek has moved since 1986 into their private property.

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  1. She is delusional! She is making herself out to be the victim instead of showing what a bully she has been since moving into our close-knit community. She has threatened people in the community and used intimidation tactics. Anyone who tries to state the truth on her TikTok has been removed by her. It’s been awful to watch!!

    • Come on Andrea, get a clue. Private property is private property, regardless of what past owners have allowed. The community feels entitled to use other peoples stuff, it doesn’t work that way…go give half your yard to your neighbor…then come back to debate.

    • I’ve been watching on Tic Toc. I sympathize with her. I think she’s just defending HER land. She’s probably done no worse than what was done to her first. It doesn’t sound like a good situation all around. I hope it’s resolved soon.

    • Considering the video evidence on public display, it seems that this “close-knit community” are the bullies. At least, the vocal minority. I’ve been following this situation for a while now, and I’ve seen the so-called “truth” that commenters from the community have left. Unfortunately for them, the truth is objective; not subjective. Placing signs and trying to keep people off of your property when said people are actively damaging your land is not intimidation. Grown men having a tantrum and knocking down the trees on your property is intimidation. Asking people not to dig holes on your property is not intimidation. Parents bringing shovels specifically for their kids to dig on someone else’s property not only shows that you are disrespectful and have a willful disregard for the property and the property owner. Why would anyone allow the public on their property with people acting that way? Being met with vitriol by the community you wanted to join because you have something they want is intimidation. Sadly, it only takes a handful of toxic people to ruin something for everyone else. People who care more about themselves and their own convenience despite not having a right to what they are trying to take from someone who owns it is the problem. The county owning and not allowing the community to utilize other areas of the creek while going after someone for the land they bought is intimidation. Pretending to negotiate with a private land owner while preparing a lawsuit to outright steal their land is a sign of an abusive government, and the community that not only supports, but encourages such disgusting behavior has unwittingly revealed the toxicity within. Do better.

      Again, threatening legal action against people belligerently coming onto your property and damaging it is not “intimidation tactics”. It is what people do when their property is threatened and the aggressors will not stop. Maybe take a step back and look at the actual documentation and read it objectively. Come to the logical conclusion instead of attempting to twist the words enough to contort it into what you wish it was. Check out the deed to the land, which she has shared on her TikTok page. Ask yourself why she is paying taxes on the land if it isn’t hers. Ask why a survey of the land showed that the property line extends past the creek. Maybe even stop and ask yourself if a deed to a piece of land being tied to a body of water that moves around makes any sense. Critical thinking is an important skill. Do better.

      We’ve been seeing legal documentation. We have been seeing receipts. So maybe instead of being selfish and entitled, you can step outside of your egocentric bubble and look at what’s happening. “This is how it’s been for ‘x’ years” is an argument that is used by people who have no actual right to what they’ve been doing. DO BETTER.

      “What she’s not telling you is that the land behind hers is a park!” Variations of this comment have been left multiple times on her videos, and the problem with these comments is that she has been very clear about the park being right behind her property. The issue is that her land includes the woods past the creek up to the land that can legally be used as the park, and the public feels entitled to use it after she said she doesn’t want anyone on her land because of bullying behavior and property damage. Get over yourself and be a better example to the people in your community. Seriously, do better.

      Anyone who hasn’t already gone the TikTok profile of the defendant should absolutely check it out. Her @ is in the tags for this article.

  2. In these days of GPS, using the position of a creek to determine the edge of a property is ridiculous. What if the creek floods and goes through the woman’s house? Does the park then own her house, too?

  3. @AndreaFox: it is important to note that there has been zero evidence of the home owner bullying anyone in the community. In contrast, the homeowner seems to have lots of video evidence of being harassed and bullied by various community members who’ve had a lot of fun with a witch hunt this land owner didn’t deserve. Furthermore, do you hear yourself? Are you arguing that someone’s land should be taken away because you don’t like them? The community entitlement in Kittredge by a small minority (to which you are clearly a part) is abhorrent and completely un-American. Instead of appreciating the time in which you and others were granted permission to use the land you’re throwing a tantrum over a land owner exercising her private property rights. You also ignore the months in which she shared with the community and the options that were given to the County – some at NO COST – to lease portions of the land so that people like you could continue to enjoy a piece of land she pays taxes on and owns. Seems more than fair to me. This woman has been a victim of entitled community members and the County and deserves to enjoy her land in peace.

  4. I’ve known Taralyn for years and seeing how this community has chosen to bully her rather than embrace her is heartbreaking.

    Taralyn is a kind, gentle, loving person. She is one of the first people to be there when someone is in need. The way this community has treated her is appalling.

    Going into her backyard and harassing her then turning around and claiming she harassed them.

    I would hate for random people to be in my backyard tearing up my property and destroying trees.

    The fact it has gotten to this level is unbelievable.

  5. Good article but much of your details are wrong. That Community has been very aggressive and hostile towards the new property owners. Not the other way around. The County has not once EVER provided any maintenance or care for the land, and the public has been damaging it unchecked for years. The County provided the lot dimensions that the homeowner relied upon when she purchased it, and they allowed the sale to go through without offering to purchase it themselves. The homeowners and their predecessors have always paid taxes. And most important of all- two different independent SURVEYS – one from the County and one from the homeowners – BOTH say the property belongs to homeowners and not the county. This is a pure land grab by the Jefferson County Commissioners to benefit a couple of spoiled entitled people, like Andrea, above. It’s disgraceful. I am a Jefferson County Resident, and I own a Real Estate firm in Jefferson County. Ive been practicing real estate in Jefferson County since 1986. The Law and the Constitution – do not support this action against the homeowner.

  6. It makes absolutely no sense that people/government want to take her land. Just because the creek moved doesn’t mean she loses the land she purchased. They are also not mentioning how they offered to buy it from her and then all of a sudden decided to just try and take it when she said no she loves her property.

  7. The County had an opportunity to buy the property when it was put on the open market. They didn’t, therefore they have no claim.

  8. The only thing you are right about, Andrea, is how awful it has been to watch this whole thing happen to such a kind, gentle, giving, supportive, hard-working, nature-loving, respectful, deserving American! She has been bullied by adults. It seems this community leads a sheltered existence if cameras and alleged threats of tresspass tickets are considered “aggressive and intimidating!” It is time to leave her alone, act like grown-ups, and find a new place to play that is not privately owned. #justice4Taralyn

  9. Andrea, you sound entitled. If the county wants her land, they need to make her an offer, FOR THE WHOLE PARCEL, at an inflated cost for their pain and suffering.

  10. Just because the previous owner allowed the Park to use their land free of charge doesn’t mean the current owners have to do the same. Their property is THEIR property and not the government’s. This is just a big government land grab and I hope this couple not only wins their case, but the gov’t is made to compensate them for their legal fees and extra for putting them through this!

  11. Seems like the adult thing anyone should have done is requested a property survey of the property you’re trying to purchase during the process. I don’t understand why other people have to suffer cause they failed to review or request documents? If someone provided them false documentation showing the property belongs to them, that’s understandable- make them responsible and let’s see the proof; easy enough right? 🤷‍♂️

    • There is documentation. She has the deed to the land, and the county is purposefully misinterpreting it to try and take the land by saying the size of her land changes depending on the position of the creek. There have been two separate surveys done since then, and both of them have shown that she owns the land. The deed has been shown, and it specifies the land it encompasses. It seems like the county commissioners thought they could bully a new resident without repercussion, which might have been the case if not for the following she has accumulated on tiktok getting involved and helping her.

      But yes, it is ridiculous that Taralyn and her fiance are being made to suffer because certain members of the community feel entitled to other people’s property. If you want to see proof you can go to Taralyn’s tiktok account and watch the videos yourself. @wickedwitch_ofthe_west is her tiktok account. There is video evidence depicting destruction of her property as well as legal documentation, and evidence of the property owners trying to work with the county to safely allow public access to her land, which they rejected because they were already preparing a land grab lawsuit. It is insane.

  12. #justice4Taralyn This is another example of Government bullying, it’s her property. What if someone gets hurt there? I bet they will then say she’s responsible because of the property line. Not to mention the damage the park go-ers have done to her property. People say build a fence…she can’t do that either until there is a ruling. Why can’t she enjoy her property? She pays the taxes…

  13. I’ve always thought the whole idea of “adverse possession” is wrong. It’s her land. Anyone thinking otherwise is a Communist.
    No one agrees with you, Andrea Fox. Go to her Tiktok and see the little brats of what appears to be some of the worst parents destroying the creek bank digging. No wonder the creek is “changing course”. This wasn’t just some wee digging, it was taking down a sizeable creek bank chunk.
    As a realtor (elsewhere) , I do feel the park situation absolutely should have been disclosed, although I understand the buyer did get a survey before she bought. Regardless, it’s HER land. Apparently, there is land nearby the city owns but probably not as nice an area of the creek as hers.


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