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I am Trailhead Group, LLC 

You would think that a group of wiseguys who go to the trouble of setting up a political group with the Internal Revenue Service would be smart enough to also get a license from their Secretary of State.

Especially if such an outfit let's call them The Trailhead Group, just for grins has taken in more than $1.8 million in contributions.

Let's put it another way. The Trailhead Group, founded by Colorado Gov. Bill Owens and funded in part with hefty contributions from oilman Bruce Benson and beer magnate Pete Coors, organized nearly a year and a half ago. It has spent much of its money going after Democratic candidates like state Senate hopeful John Morse and state Reps. Michael Merrifield and Buffie McFayden. Yet the group's organizers never actually registered the name, as required by law, with the Colorado Secretary of State.

So I did.

On Thursday, Sept. 14, I became the proud owner of the name Trailhead Group, LLC. It cost me 25 bucks. I have 120 days from the time I registered to decide what to do with it.

One thing I've decided not to do, as Trailhead Group, LLC, is recklessly launch erroneous attacks against anyone Republican or Democrat who is running for political office. After all, that is illegal .

Plus, I know that district attorneys around the state are extremely busy trying to nail the really bad guys heck, even Attorney General John Suthers says he has to plea bargain nearly all his cases. So why would I want to add to district attorneys' caseloads by spreading a bunch of lies?

And I probably won't spend my time shuffling large sums of unaccounted-for money back and forth between other political groups, a practice that has invited complaints with the IRS and Secretary of State's office against the other Trailhead Group. That would look bad.

Anyway, while I was thinking about what I might do with my new company, a strange thing happened. Late on Friday, Sept. 15 only a little more than 24 hours after I reserved the name Trailhead Group, LLC some usurper reserved two similar names: The Trailhead Group and Trailhead Group. A lawyer named Ryan Richard Call, who listed an address at 700 17th St., 20th Floor, in downtown Denver, reserved the names.

And hey, that's the same address attorney John Zakhem used when he registered his Trailhead Group, LLC with the Internal Revenue Service in June 2005, but not with the Colorado Secretary of State.

With all their money, you'd think that Zakhem and his cohorts would have considered shelling out a bit of it to make sure they were legal in Colorado. Secretary of State spokeswoman Dana Williams says there are no criminal penalties for operating as an LLC without a license, though not doing so could potentially leave its principals personally liable in any lawsuits. Rather, "it's kind of a self-policing thing," she says.

And now it gets better. Last week, the same Republicans announced they have another name: Coloradans for Justice. Under their new moniker, they have launched an attack ad against Democrat Bill Ritter, who is running for governor. And in a scenario that belies common sense you guessed it they didn't register their name with the Secretary of State.

So a guy by the name of John Willard III did.

Willard, who is on the payroll of a Democratic political group, admits he was inspired by yours truly. But Willard promises to go a step further. He will likely have his lawyer send Coloradans for Justice a letter to cease and desist or potentially risk a lawsuit. Willard has also reserved the names Colorado Citizens for Justice and Coloradans for Change both of which are registered, in the state of Delaware, by Republican Alan Philp, who runs the Trailhead Group in Colorado.

And before you start suggesting that is perfectly adequate, Colorado law requires an outside company such as those registered in Delaware must still sign in with this state. Failure to do so can result in fines and other penalties.

All that comes to mind is, sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.


degette@csindy.com

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