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Re: “Western Museum cuts ties with Haunted Mines after 10 years

Mr. Ducote,

I find myself agreeing with your assertion regarding the research for this article. Had a bit more research been conducted I am sure the true nature of the mining museum, Haunted Mines relationship would have come to light.

I too, have been involved with the Haunted Mines for the past several years as well as being in the haunt industry for over 20 years and the business community for over 30. I was fortunate enough in 2016 to be appointed to the Haunted Mines Board of Directors so I have had first-hand experience with Angels leadership and the toxic relationship with the mining museum. It is necessary to point out that the Haunted Mines is 100% volunteer. This includes all of our staff, actors as well as myself, Stacy and, believe it or not, Angel. No one at the Haunted Mines receives any monetary compensation for the hours of work we provide.

I pride myself on being a very reasonable and affable individual. When I first meet people I treat them with respect and deference. In tense, confrontational situations I try very hard to find acceptable compromise. It is for these reason that I was completely shocked and, to use a word, gobsmacked after my first direct interaction with the mining museum board of directors. A meeting was scheduled in early August with the museum director and one or two other members of the mining museum board. This meeting was to discuss the placement of the Colorado Fear Fest, a new haunted attraction owned by the Haunted Mines. Little did I, or my other directors know that this was actually to be a meeting with the full mining museum board. Regardless, I entered the meeting with an open mind and with the hopes of establishing a fresh working relationship. Unfortunately, the discussions from the mining museum board were condescending, demanding, and confrontational. As stated I have been in the business community for over 30 years, I was completely shocked at the treatment directed towards Angle, Stacy and myself. Had this been a corporate board room, I have no doubt charges of hostile work environment would have been justified. I found comments made and the attitudes of the board members to by borderline misogynistic. One of the most alarming exchanges had to do with moving a fence and painting the barns on the property. After donating over $120,000 to the mining museum in 2015, the board had the audacity to demand that the Haunted Mines move a property fence (one that had nothing to do with the Haunted Mines) and to pay for the painting of the two barns on the property. Interestingly in 2015, as a gesture of good will, Angel and the Haunted Mines board of directors offered to have the barns painted at their expense. The mining museum board rejected this offer and it was subsequently withdrawn.

One of the main things that has become very clear to me over the last 30 years in the business community is that you never insult money. Over the last three years, under Angels leadership, the Haunted Mines has provided almost $350,000.00 to the mining museum. Fifty percent of our revenues go to support them, we are their largest donor. To put this in perspective every other step we take, every other board we put into place, every other prop we design and build goes to support the mining museum. We do this out of love for our community and a passion for the haunt industry. For these reasons, the mining museums attitude and demands were that much more shocking. We, as a haunt family, continually bust our butts to create one of Colorados top haunted attractions, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars for the mining museum only to be insulted, condescended to and treated like dirt.

You attempt to bring derision on Angels leadership. First let me elucidate you to the fact that all three of the current Haunted Mines board of directors learned their leadership skills in the crucible that is the United States Military. We are all very proud veterans. I, myself, had the distinct honor to be an officer in the United States Army, leading our nations sons and daughters. I know leaders and leadership. Angel absolutely fits that bill. The one defining characteristic of any leader is that you put your people first. Angel is the embodiment of this philosophy. Yes, there have been volunteers that have left because they do not agree with the direction we are taking the Haunted Mines. Some folks want to keep it a back yard haunt where it is a free for all and anyone can do anything they want. Angel and the rest of our board look at things differently. This is a business that needs structure and direction. Expanding our offerings and opportunities is in the best interest of the community and our volunteers. We want to build an organization that provides opportunity for our volunteers to learn and grow as vital members of our community. To create a safe, welcoming place for anyone who wants to dig in and put in the work that is necessary. Unfortunately, not all our past volunteers have seen it this way. Some, have seen it as their personal play ground where they can spend the communitys money on their latest whim. Yes, these folks have chosen to leave our family instead of helping us build the future of the Haunted Mines.

At first, when a member of the mining museum board of directors delivered their termination letter, addressed to Angel, to my house, I was disheartened. Although dealing with the slings and arrows from the mining museum board has been challenging, the Haunted Mines has a ten-year history in our current location. I, honestly, was hoping something could be worked out. However, since receiving the letter (interesting that it was delivered to me when I wasnt home and that no meeting between the boards was called to professionally deliver this news) I have had an epiphany. Now that we no longer have the albatross of the mining museum around our necks we are free to truly engage in our philanthropic spirit and give much, much more back to worthy community organizations like Wescott Fire, Care and Share, Mercy at Miramont and etc. In actuality the sky is the limit. I have to thank the mining museum board for unshackling our creativity and philanthropy. More wonderful and exciting things to come from The Haunted Mines!

24 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by HauntedDirector on 01/03/2017 at 1:08 PM

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