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I have the same problem to a slightly different degree. I have a co-worker who needed to reinstall Contribute and in the process, made herself the administrator. Subsequently I needed to reinstall Contribute when my PC was upgraded and discovered several (but not all) pages were locked by my co-worker. I would be very interested in a fix as well.
If you have access to the site via ftp you can find the file named with the page name.lck. Delete that file and the user will no longer be locked out. This happens when someone just closes out of the page without publishing, canceling or saving the changes, esp if, as in your case, you no longer have access to the method where the changes were made.
I hope this helps.
Thanks! I think that will do the trick. Said client is somewhat computer illiterate AND he's the Contribute admin... a bad combination.