Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tourism Act: Is it fair?

Posted By on Wed, Jul 10, 2013 at 9:21 AM

downtown baseball stadium, Mayor Steve Bach

Two years ago, there was a lot of interest in trying to score the state's help in advancing tourism through the Regional Tourism Act.

The first round of applications drew six hopefuls, among them Glendale. But in no time at all, some began believing the fix was in for certain well-connected applicants, most notably the Gaylord family and its Aurora mega hotel project. And the process went downhill from there, according to those who lost out. (The Gaylords owned the Broadmoor hotel for years and sold it in 2011 to Philip Anschutz, the billionaire who owns Clarity Media Group, owner of the Gazette.)

That story of perceived unfairness is told in great detail by Charles Bonniwell, publisher of the Glendale/Cherry Creek Chronicle.

He notes that the idea for a Regional Tourism Act came out of a law firm in Denver:

The 2009 legislation was considered the brainchild of the highly connected law firm of Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, Schreck LLP and members of the business group Colorado Concern. It was considered a thinly veiled attempt to direct funds to Aurora for a NASCAR track proposed by Colorado Concern member Steve Schuck.

He later notes in his article that both Pueblo and Aurora retained the Brownstein firm in their applications for RTA money. Both won.

Now, Colorado Springs is following suit. It, too, has retained the Brownstein firm, which is no surprise, considering City Attorney Chris Melcher used to work there some years back.

Check our report in today's edition about the city's application. Even though it's the only one submitted, there's no guarantee it will get funded.

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