Loveland's Independent News Source
Loveland, April 5, 2016

While it is commonly reported that Loveland developer McWhinney made a profound impact on
the City of Loveland with their Centerra development, very little has been reported about the
impact the City of Loveland made on the McWhinney family fortune.  McWhinney named streets for
their family members in Loveland (McWhinney and Hahn) while monopolizing the development
scene in east Loveland over the past two decades in close collaboration with Loveland's city
government.    During this time, a heavily censored and often changing narrative of how the
McWhinney's began their commercial development company in Loveland has been offered to the

In some accounts, the McWhinney family has been in Loveland for five generations but in another
more frequently cited history company owners Chad and Troy McWhinney made their first million
dollars selling strawberries in their native Orange County, California before migrating to Loveland
in 1991.  Contemporaneous reporting from the early 90's reveals they inherited 900 acres (1,000
acres according to a 1-2-2001 Denver Post article) from their grandmother which was developed,
according to those early accounts, to off-set the significant inheritance tax as stated below in one
news article,

"Loveland's McWhinney family faced an agonizing decision - develop the 139-year-old family
farm or sell some or all of it to pay inheritance taxes"

Contrary to a fish story, the McWhinney's inherited farm shrinks in time with each accounting so is
now at only 440 acres instead of 900 or 1,000.  The latest refresh of the McWhinney's company
website reports Chad and Troy McWhinney (without reference to their father) founded the
company after buying 440 acres in what is today Centerra.  Unfortunately, there has been no
independent investigative reporting into veracity of the McWhinney's self-styled company and
family history which appears like an incredible rags to riches story of two amazingly young
entrepreneurs who built an empire from nothing.

A Criminal Past - The True McWhinney Family History

In 2011, the Loveland Reporter-Herald's Tom Hacker (now City of Loveland Information Officer)
interviewed former Loveland City Manager, Mike Rock, about the first time he met the founder of
the company, Derek McWhinney, in 1991 accompanied by sons Chad, 19 years old at the time and
his younger brother Troy who was still enrolled in High School in Southern California.

Derek McWhinney brought his two teenage sons, Chad and Troy McWhinney, to meet Mike Rock to
lay-out a vision for developing the Hahn farm he had inherited from his mother, the late Virginia
McWhinney (maiden name of Hahn) whose family had farmed the land since the late 1800's.   At
the time, Derek McWhinney was well known in Southern California but for reasons that would have
made it difficult for any reputable city manager to meet with him.

Only five years prior to Derek McWhinney establishing McWhinney Enterprises in Loveland, the
Los Angeles Time published an article titled,
"DOWN ON ITS LUCK : Westminster's Saddled With
a Corrupt Past and Uncertain Future."  The article details the corrupt past of the small city of
Westminster, California  and how Derek McWhinney became the Mayor in 1968 on a campaign
slogan of "
The City of Progress Built on Pride."

Four years later, Mayor Derek McWhinney and a city planning commissioner were indicted on
conspiracy charges for demanding political bribes from farmers looking to lease strawberry fields
owned by the City of Westminster.  According to one witness who was quoted in the LA Times story,

"Gillespie, who said he doesn't believe that either man needed the money, described the case as 'a
guy who wanted to be a political bigwig. . . . Yeah, a kingmaker. That's a good word for it. . . . He
(McWhinney) was trying to put the squeeze on this guy and it turned around and bit him.'"

Angeles Times, Oct. 19, 1986

Following his criminal conviction for bribery, Derek McWhinney served time in a California State
prison.  Through his appeals, it was claimed by one government witness that Derek McWhinney's
generous political contributions to local politicians, including the Orange County District Attorney,
made him feel immune from criminal prosecution.

After leaving prison, McWhinney returned to operating the 145 acre family owned cemetery and
funeral home built by his grandfather, Clyde Calder McWhinney in Westminster, California.   Both
Troy and Chad McWhinney share their great-grandfather's name Calder as a middle name
according to public records online.  Virginia McWhinney, from whom they inherited the land then
east of Loveland, was interred in the McWhinney's cemetery in Westminster, California in 1989.

An Empire Built on Political Giving and Government Subsidies

It was made clear in an article marking the ten-year anniversary of McWhinney in Loveland, that
the two brothers have followed in their father's foot-steps,

"Two years ago, Derek McWhinney died. But he left his sons ready to carry on the new family
business. "An awful lot of our learning came from him," Chad said. "And we learn as we go."

Like their father, the brothers are prolific campaign contributors who seek influence from the
people whose political careers they help to finance.  Unlike their father, Troy and Chad McWhinney
don't only contribute to one political party but instead heavily favor incumbents not coincidently at
the level of government their company is seeking influence regardless of partisan affiliations.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper received thousands in contributions from the McWhinney
brothers who even hosted a high-dollar
fund raiser for him in Windsor in 2014.  Two months
following their fund raiser, Governor Hickenlooper vetoed a bipartisan reform bill passed by
Colorado's Legislature aimed at curbing abuse of urban renewal laws by commercial developers
(like McWhinney).

Prior to playing on a state-wide political and development stage, however, McWhinney political
giving into Loveland's relatively low-dollar city council elections facilitated a landmark subsidy by
the City of Loveland that put McWhinney into the big leagues as commercial developers.

After selling 40 acres of their grandmother's farm to a developer who built Loveland's Outlet Mall
west of I-25, the brothers got their big break in 2004 in an agreement with the City of Loveland
named the Master Financing Agreement (MFA).   The agreement paved the way for public financing
of the McWhinney's now 3,000 acre Centerra development through tax free municipal bonds while
giving the brother's complete control of the so-called "public" taxing entity future revenue of more
than $500 million.  (
see McWhinney article page for details).  Also see the Centerra Enigma story
for reference.

Loveland's Mayor Larry Walsh, who signed the controversial 2004 taxing diversion agreement and
presided over the negotiations, received significant funds from McWhinney during his 2003
as only reported at the time by LovelandPolitics.  Twelve McWhinney controlled or
closely associated entities (all sharing one of two addresses used by McWhinney) provided Walsh
contributions unprecedented in prior Loveland city council races.

FDC Office II, VDW Properties LLC, Rocky Mountain Village II, FSB Partners, Foxtrail Lodging,
Stonebridge and others were apparently used as fronts by McWhinney to funnel money to
Loveland City Council candidates.  The practice halted temporarily following LovelandPolitics'
reporting the multiple McWhinney entities donations apparently meant to hide the source of the

McWhinney's strategy backfired when their undue influence over city politicians motivated citizens
to introduce and
pass on a public ballot strict campaign contribution limits of just over $100 for
candidates to Loveland's city council.   Pointing fingers at McWhinney the legislative purpose of the
amendment to Loveland's City Charter states,

"...citizens of the City of Loveland hereby find and declare that large campaign contributions to
political candidates allow wealthy contributors and special interest groups to exercise a
disproportionate level of influence over the political process; that large campaign contributions
create the potential for corruption and the appearance of corruption; that the rising costs of
campaigning for political office prevent qualified citizens from running for political office; and
that the interests of the public are best served by full and timely disclosure of campaign
contributions, strong enforcement of campaign laws, and limiting campaign contributions."

Despite the voter approved amendment to the city's charter intended to curb McWhinney's
influence, McWhinney continued to funnel money towards Loveland City Council and Mayoral
candidates via several LLC's in 2009 as reported by LovelandPolitics.    Two of the key members of
that reform movement, Democrats Joan Shaffer and Cecil Gutierrez, would later be elected to
Loveland's City Council and join the Republicans they previously attacked by supporting
McWhinney's numerous amendment requests to remove their obligations to fund regional
transportation projects as part of the 2004 agreement.
(See story "Council pulls last teeth out of
McWhinney Tax Agreement - Nov. 11, 2013).

Does Chad McWhinney Really Live In Loveland?

Every time Chad McWhinney appears before Loveland's City Council, he provides a Loveland
address to identify himself.  In fact, he is not only a resident of Denver, according to an article in the
Denver Post Business, he was a Denver resident the same year McWhinney celebrated 20 years in
Loveland.  The Loveland Reporter Herald even quoted Chad McWhinney on 5-28-11 stating,

"We care a lot about our community, Chad McWhinney said."  

Chad McWhinney
frequently reminds people that he is not leaving Loveland but committed to "his"
community for the long-term.
McWhinney's True Beginning In

Loveland Reporter-Herald Promotes
McWhinney By Publishing An Industry
Newsletter Article As A News Story

Identical articles written by the Loveland
Reporter-Herald "staff-writer" Craig Young
can be found in promotional trade
newsletter like the
Colorado Apartment
Association newsletter but also printed in
the Loveland Reporter-Herald as an
original news story.  In this example, the
CSU School of Real Estate, a recipient of
McWhinney support, provided Troy
McWhinney their "Real Estate
Entrepreneur of the Year" award which was
also given to his brother Troy in 2009.  Like
many other accounts, the biographical data
is incomplete (missing education) and
promotes a narrative very different from
reality regarding the origin of McWhinney
Enterprises in Loveland.

The Shifting Story

Below is the latest refresh on the
McWhinney website regarding their first
property acquisition in Loveland.  Instead of
inheriting a 900 acre farm (as reported in
1991) they now report buying 440 acres with
no mention of their father who set-up the
commercial development company.

Copied from McWhinney website "history" on
April 4, 2016

"In 1991 while living in California, Chad
and Troy seized an opportunity to
purchase 440 acres of family-owned land
that was part of the original John Hahn
homestead at Interstate 25 and Highway
34. That transaction was the first in a
series that launched McWhinney as
leaders of real estate development in
Northern Colorado and beyond."