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Springs caves in to Broadmoor 

What jumps over the moon?
A. That cow in the nursery rhyme.
B. Barry Bonds, if he unknowingly injects himself with just one more syringe full of steroids.
C. Our courageous City Council, when The Broadmoor hotel says "jump."
D. New state Rep. Douglas Bruce, R-SocialOutcast, once other legislators get to know him and take turns putting thumbtacks on his chair.

All four are correct. (A fifth acceptable answer: "Focus on the Family boss James Dobson, if Idaho Sen. Larry Craig were to goose him.")

Today, though, we'll concentrate on the one about our Council members, who recently saw the 1995 movie classic Braveheart and said they "didn't get it."

During this discussion of how The Broadmoor frightens and manipulates our elected officials, we will try to maintain maturity, refraining from using phrases such as "overpriced hotel with the old carpet and guests who appear to be dead."

Oops.

The story is about a guy who apparently purchased a chunk of land offered for sale by Colorado Springs Utilities. He was the only bidder on the 1.8-acre lot. He had a signed contract and everything. But the land, owned by the Utilities folks since 1974, was located in the middle of one of The Broadmoor's golf courses.

The hotel decided against bidding on the land, believing no one would buy it and, more importantly, feeling that it was protected against such incursions by the scary rich ghosts that wander the spooky hotel's hallways at night.

Sorry.

Anyway, Ted Rubley, who lives nearby, thought the land would be a great place to build mansions. He bid $850,000. It was accepted. He and Utilities signed a contract.

Then a funny thing happened: The Broadmoor's lawyers took a break from their usual tasks (i.e. yelling, "Hey look! I found it!" after ordering the caddy to fish their golf ball out of the lake and throw it back onto the fairway) and stormed into a Council meeting.

Allowing homes to be built on the golf course would be stupid, they told Council. At the same time, they avoided any talk about what kind of idiot would pay $900 a night for a hotel room, or $18 for a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.

Council was told that if it didn't kill the land sale, the city would be whacked with a huge lawsuit from the hotel. So Council did exactly what we've come to expect under special-interest pressure: It canceled the sale. Said it could because it hadn't approved it yet, though the Utilities board of directors had.

This is the best part: City Council and the Utilities board are the same nine people. They just switch hats. (Utilities board: court jester hats with bells. City Council: beanies with propellers.)

The Broadmoor's main argument was that the deed to the property just off Marland Road doesn't allow access to the 1.8-acre lot. This comes as a surprise to a group of people known as "those who can read." The deed, a copy of which I am now looking at, says it grants "a right-of-way for ingress and egress to and from said tract of land over and along an existing road from Marland Road."

Bruce Wright, Rubley's attorney, filed suit Nov. 14. It seeks either the land or damages of more than $25 million based on what Rubley believes would be the profit from building the mansions.

"It's about City Council protecting The Broadmoor," Wright says. "The Broadmoor is a big boy. They could have bid on the land like Ted did. But they didn't. They gambled and they lost."

We, as usual, are the real losers. At best, our utilities company loses $850,000, which will, you can bet, be recovered from our wallets in the next round of rate hikes. At worst, the city loses $25 million and we can't afford frills such as keeping our police stations open at night.

Which shows you what can happen when a hotel gambles and has nine elected friends dealing the cards.

You know, when they're not spinning the propellers on their little hats.

Listen to Rich Tosches at 8 a.m. each Thursday on the Darren and Koba Show on MY99.9. Reach him at rangerrich@csindy.com.

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