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Entry for April 16, 2008 - City Attorney (below). Council Holds Secret Meetings With McWhinney
The Loveland City Council is meeting with McWhinney this week in secret to discuss a 'Land Swap' for land near target and Loveland's new sports park on each side of highway 34.

In order to make the meetings to discuss public business in private "legal" the city manager and attorney are orchestating a little circus act of rotating only two councilmembers in each presentation so they can claim there was never a "public meeting." Fort Morgan's City Council recently settled an allegation over similar evasions of Colorado Public Meetings Laws for $30,000.
  • Apparently, private attorney and Councilwoman Carol Johnson decided not to take City Attorney John Duval's advice and participate in the circus by being rotated into a meeting she knew her other colleagues would be discussing the same issues in series with the same people. We have also been informed that Councilman Gutierrez also opted out of the seemingly illegal meetings with Chad McWhinney and his staff to give council direction on the proposal.

  • The first meeting was today at Centerra likely to avoid city staff knowledge of the details of the meetings. This leaves the question for Mayor Pielin and Councilmembers Solt, Heckel, Clark, Skowron, Rousey, and Klassen - did you think the public wouldn't find out?
  • Kent Solt, an attorney who was recently elected, in part, due to his protest over secret meetings with McWhinney involving the Trolley decision, is seen by some as turning his back on his campaing promises if he also particiapates in these secret meetings.
The City Council needs to understand it is supposed to be a Meeting In Public and not simply staging Public Meetings.

Any comments?

2008-04-17 05:18:29 GMT
Comments (31 total)
I was very sorry to see Kent Solt vote for the Olsen Addition last Tuesday. And now this! Are you sure? He came to my door and said the private meetings to help McWhinney were over if he gets elected. Too bad. I really don't care for being lied to by this young man. I should have known not to trust a lawyer and now a politician as well. He seemed like a very sincere person. It is really a shame.
2008-04-17 12:39:34 GMT
Why doesn't anyone on city staff do anything? Have they no integrity at all? How long will Loveland allow these people take advantage of our city? What land swap are you talking about? I don't know about any land deal and i work in the industry.
--Agent Supreme
2008-04-17 12:42:32 GMT
Now that Andy has left the city you should talk to him. I heard one time that Don Williams actually giggles when he gets away with hiding something important from the public.
2008-04-17 12:44:55 GMT
Hey buddy, please sign your posts so we know who you are when you post again.

The Reporter-Herald did a great job reporting the abuse of this law by the Thompson School Board and even printed many excerpts from the tapes they obtained from the closed sessions. Have you listened to the RH line online? Those voices don't sound like the editor to me.

Why are you attacking this website? They seem to be the only people reporting on what is going on. You might say it isn't enough but they can't report what they don't know. If you have very specific and relevant allegations of wrong doing - spill it. Otherwise, stop attacking these guys for being the only ones to stand-up in town for the law.
2008-04-17 13:10:01 GMT
OK, I don't really follow the story or these weird people talking above. Here are my comments. So what? Why can't they meet in private with council? The mcwhinnies have done lots for our community, the least the council can do is spare them the embarrassment of having to take crap from people like you in public. You were not elected to council so stop all this now. If Chad want to talk to the council in private he has every right to do it. Stop trying to twist the facts.
--Caroline King
2008-04-17 13:14:57 GMT
Ever notice how everyone you do a story about leaves town? First the head of the republican party, Ed Haynes. Lately is was Gayle (not Gay) Stockman and even that coach lady at McWhinney.

Even Mcwhinneys are bringing their magic to Broomfield and California and not here anymore.

Maybe you are wrecking people's careers and need to stop before we all take you out in court!
2008-04-17 13:18:15 GMT
Thanks for the story. VERY INTERESTING. I didn't know this was going on. I am tired of Councilman Rousey always pretending that no one is doing McWhinney's work on Council when he posts here.

He may not be corrupt and taking money under the table but the seven councilmen (including Rousey) sneaking around Centerra to have private meetings with McWhinney is wrong.

He and the others need to grow a pair and stop letting the CM to lead them around on a leash. Rousey's breed may make fine company but are terrible breeding for any leadership position role.

I am sad and disgusted.
2008-04-17 15:31:54 GMT
This is really outrageous. Why do I get the feeling, though, that this happens more than we know? Especially troubling as some of these Council members seem to tell regular citizens that they can't listen to them outside of regualar public hearings, about issues they'll consider, for legal reasons.

Caroline King's comment is pathetic because it shows a complete disdain for open government and a direct invitation to corruption. She asks, "So what if they meet in private"? Well, Caroline, the problem is that government is supposed to act in public. That's why there is a "sunshine law" in Colorado, and Open Records acts at both federal and state levels. Because the people's business should be done in full daylight. It makes me sick to think people like her actually have a vote. She should move to China or the like, where she'd learn to appreciate the importance of democracy.
The anonymous comment following hers is a threat from another empty barrel. You know: they make the most noise.

2008-04-17 23:16:20 GMT
Herm, I am not sure that is an empty barrel but instead one full of S&*T!

These bastards on Council need to stop selling Loveland's future to a bunch of second rate developers who wouldn't know quality if it hit them in the face. I even saw Jan Brown hanging around a recent council meeting - that is pathetic she has no better place to go to feel important.

Is Kent Solt the new Jan Brown? He says very little and votes the way Gene tells him.

Even if meeting in private doesn't violate the open meetings law it is clear they are trying to violate the intent of the law. No ethical person would be getting into a private huddle with Chad McWhinney if they knew all their colleagues are being asked to do the same before an issue even comes to Council. And you are right, why did they tell normal citizens they can't talk about an issue outside a public meeting but go huddle with McWhinney to decide a zoning law change!

Bastards! This is just like the Trolley all over again!
2008-04-18 03:42:48 GMT
Oh, I am not terribly surprised by all this. Thank you AGAIN to LovelandPolitics for reporting the NEWS in Loveland others seem to ignore.

Don Williams has a disdain for the citizens of this community that is palpable. He really hates average people in town speaking at council meetings and does everything he can to avoid any controversy happening in public.

The Councilors need to be reminded that they work for the citizens of Loveland - not the McWhinneys and Rocky Scott who all live in Ft. Collins now. I just read in your story that Rocky spoke to the council at their retreat for two hours? Why is a Ft. Collins guy bent on wrecking this community given that kind of access that we (who pay the taxes in town) are never given?


--Carol W.
2008-04-18 03:52:35 GMT
I heard in City Hall today (from a friend) that the city manager is going to "contain" this to a website "nobody even reads." I never heard of this website before and was just looking through the other stories. Nice job but how come I never heard about it before? I had to ask three times before somebody told me where to find it.
I think Don will call his contact at the Herald and have this story buried in one day. I heard the city have always pre-screened McWhinney issues in this fashion so it really isn't a new method. What is new is somebody found out.

Too bad our newspaper lacks the courage and professionalism of the Fort Morgan Times!
--Annonymous Gov. Employee
2008-04-18 04:00:30 GMT
I heard in City Hall today (from a friend) that the city manager is going to "contain" this to a website "nobody even reads." I never heard of this website before and was just looking through the other stories. Nice job but how come I never heard about it before? I had to ask three times before somebody told me where to find it.
I think Don will call his contact at the Herald and have this story buried in one day. I heard the city have always pre-screened McWhinney issues in this fashion so it really isn't a new method. What is new is somebody found out.

Too bad our newspaper lacks the courage and professionalism of the Fort Morgan Times!
--Annonymous Gov. Employee
2008-04-18 04:02:08 GMT
While I understand your concerns, I'm not sure I understand your assumptions. There were no votes, no asking if anyone approves of anything or any information given that will not be made public in the future.

I have met with other developers in the past and talked about possible asking if I would support it but just a brief chat over coffee about what may be proposed at a later time and asking for suggestions as to what questions may be asked so they can better prepare their presentation.

Some have come before council and some have never come forward with a proposal.

If some of you are developers and you are thinking of building something, I'll be happy to met with you and give you my ideas as to what I believe fits into Loveland and what council may ask (my opinion only)...I would not indicate if I would vote for it or not and I would not call the newspaper to announce that I'm sitting down with someone interested in building something which you may not what disclosed until YOU are ready to make the announcement.

We (Loveland) are in competition with other areas cities and developers don't usually make it known that they are thinking of bringing in some buisness until they're sure it's going to happen...normal buisness practice and happens all the time.

It's not what you assume it secret deals, no asking for support. I'm sure if the meetings had been with some other developer instead of the McWhinneys, it would not have made this blog.

By the way, Rocky was asked to make a presentation at counicl retreat on economic development not on the McWhinney properties. The retreat was public and anyone who was interested was welcome to was noted in the newspaper as such. It would have been better and more educational if all of you had attended the retreat instead of staying at home and then second guessing what was presented.
2008-04-18 13:36:05 GMT
Backroom deals justified by City Council members and ignored by the local newspaper.

Just another day in paradise.
2008-04-18 15:03:12 GMT
Backroom deals justified by City Council members and ignored by the local newspaper.

Just another day in paradise.
2008-04-18 15:03:30 GMT
Let my try this one more backroom will, however, believe as you wish...even when faced with the truth.
2008-04-18 15:46:02 GMT

And The Reporter-Herald doesn't make up comments for The RH Line. And they don't steal them from blogs and web sites, either.

I understand the Loveland City Council recently undertook holding meetings to get feedback from the Great Unwashed Masses - otherwise known as voters and taxpayers. I understand just four people showed up so far.

I suggest, Mr. Rousey, you and your comrades take note of this very important fact.

You and your comrades have turned your backs on Loveland in favor of personal gain.

The voters and taxpayers of Loveland have turned their backs on you. Come the next election cycle - if not before, by way of recalls - you and your comrades will be removed from office.
2008-04-18 18:56:44 GMT
Glenn, read again what you wrote;

"Some have come before council and some have never come forward with a proposal."

In other words, they didn't come to any individuals but instead you have characterized the process as coming to "council" and later never submitting the proposal. It doesn't matter whether your collective input coordinated by the city manager is negative (against the idea) or positive resulting a formal proposal at a public meeting. Either way you have provided direction as a council and made a decision in private thus VIOLATING THE OPEN MEETING LAW.

Where was the professional staff? You admitted before you are neither a businessman or developer so clearly the reason they are seeking your opinion on the project is to gage in-advance how you will vote. You remind me of the John who tried to tell me he wasn't guilty of soliciting a prostitute because he didn't explicitly say he would pay for sex but instead would pay to play with her pussy cat. If speaking by euphemisms was a defense no drug dealer or mobster would ever go to jail.

Whether you tell McWhinney how you will vote explicitly or by innuendo doesn't change the fact you violated a state statute since you did it in controlled series of meetings where you knew your colleagues were doing the same.

An in-series meeting of the councilors with the same developer coordinated by the city manager to find out what your collective view is on a particular proposal (whether already made formally or not) is a clear violation of the opens meetings law. Especially since you admit to providing them your direction in the meeting regarding what parts of the proposal you favor.

Your decision (by law) should be made at a public meeting where the public is notified and invited to participate. In addition, there is a process where professional planners working for the city can review the plans and make a public recommendation to the council on same. The professional planners are there to help you understand whether what is being proposed is consistent with the General Plan and what potential impacts the project may have on traffic, adjacent property owners and emergency services. By giving your opinions and directions to McWhinney in private you not only cheated the city's process but also ignored the rights of the adjacent property owners who don't even know what McWhinney is proposing as you say to "council."

You would have been safer receiving information and saying nothing in response. In any event, a good attorney will depose all six or seven people in the room and at least a couple will tell the truth. So if this eventually goes to court I strongly urge you to find a private attorney and don't lie to protect anyone. That would constitute another crime.
--John R.
2008-04-19 04:10:46 GMT
Did anyone catch the Reporter-Herald editorial last month in support of the Open Meetings Law? They stated;

"Local boards frequently get hung up on trying to find exceptions to the law that don’t exist. The best practice for all public boards is to assume that all meetings will be open — that’s the intent of the law.

More public boards lose the full faith and trust of their constituents over secrecy than for virtually any other reason. Given that the rules are easy to follow, one has to wonder why public officials would choose the more difficult course. "

Glenn Ouch/Rousey, did you happen to read this editorial? I think Cecil Gutierrez did and also Carol Johnson since this site said they both refused to participate in the well practiced scheme of trying to evade the law.

Maybe you should take the Herald's advise. The next question is whether the Herald (after accepting so much self-promoting advertising from the city manager) is willing to investigate and report on the matter.

I think probably not but hope I am wrong.
2008-04-19 04:23:13 GMT
McW has been parading the Council in two by two like dumb animals being loaded on the arc for years. They have operated like this routinely with impunity. This is just the way they roll. Anyway, the decision, whatever it is, has already been made by Don Williams. This is just herding the Counci in like the dumb animals they are to seal the deal. To the author above, listen to professional planning staff, are you kidding, they have been ignoring the City's plan for years. One of the parcels involved in this deal is designated Employment, the last large vacant piece of vacant land planned for employment use in the City and McW wants it changed to residential use as part of this deal. That among other deals are already made. Rousey is right, they don't make any deals the deal is already made by Williams, talking to them is just perfunctory.
2008-04-19 05:41:57 GMT
John R: "some have came before council, and some have never come forward with a proposal" simply means that they/he/she decided not to build in the city and decided not to make any proposal. It was not meeting with the "counicl" prior to reaching a decision, it was talking to me over coffee...which I stated above.

You call me and we meet for coffee, you say you are thinking of building a small subdivision and I tell you who to talk to about permits, zoning requirements, etc. and you later decide not to build...this in no way should be read as meeting with the counicl.

I have never indicated or told anyone how I would vote prior to a council meeting! And believe it or not, I have never been asked how or if I would vote in favor of any project or proposal.

Anonymous: Two members of the council decided to hold a meeting with the public, Kent and Walt. This was also done years ago and was not continued because very few people ever showed up. You may read that as meaning people have turned their backs on counicl..I read it as meaning most people are happy with the way the city is being run...I believe the newspaper reported that one of the four people there was to complain about railroad noise. Again, maybe most people just don't have a problem with the current situation.

Carol has asked to be invited to any HOA or other neighborhood meetings to discuss any concerns. I have posted here several times that I would be happy to meet with anyone with concerns or questions...again, no takers.

The Reporter-Herald reported the story this morning...If you read my prior post, I believe it's about the same as what I stated.

But then again, some of you will not believe me or the city manager or the mayor or the newspaper.
2008-04-19 13:47:14 GMT
The article in the Reporter-Herald was fair and accurate on this topic. Of course, they failed to credit LovelandPolitics for breaking the story but that is a minor thing.

The key is what you do or say in these secret meetings (Councilman Rousey) that makes them legal or illegal. There is no audit trail, independent observer or any check or balance. Therefore, just like President Mugabe hiding the election ballots and saying trust me I won - people are suspicious at your need to keep this interaction secret when everything else the city does is so widely advertised. I rightly didn't believe what the School Board said happened in their closed meetings - and vuala! We discovered what REALLY happened when the Reporter-Herald listened to the tapes and reported on the real meeting discussions!!

The Mayor, like you did here, admitted to the Reporter-Herald that he provides direction in the meeting with McWhinney. All they need to do now is count the opinions - did 5 councilors like this or that? It wasn't you having coffee informally with anyone as you claimed in your weak defense - it was a formal process organized between the McWhinneys and the City Manager to poll the council.

You also argued;
"Two members of the council decided to hold a meeting with the public, Kent and Walt. This was also done years ago and was not continued because very few people ever showed up."

You couldn't be more wrong as the contrast with McWhinneygate is rich with irony. The only meeting two councilors held to meet the public on their concerns was at city hall with staff standing by to answer questions instead of the councilors.

The contrast here is telling. The McWhinneys get the council parading into their offices to secretly discuss their needs, issues and proposals without professional city staff even being invited.

The invitation to the public to discuss their concerns was held with councilmembers hiding behind the dais and relying on staff to answer the public's questions - was this really necessary?

You say less than 4 people showed to air complaints or concerns to the two councilor so the public meetings were a failure and need to be can canceled. Wow, the McWhinneys got the entire council meeting with them (without professional staff there)in secret and you say it was necessary.

Last time I counted the McWhinneys are only 1 special interest in town and they mostly live in Ft. Collins so you don't even CONSTITUTIONALLY represent them on council.

It is very sad and cynical for you to imply the meeting to hear the public was a failure when only 4 people (who the council is supposed to represent) gave input. I guess your constituents need to own large tracts of land before their opinions count. Do you think the four who did speak thought the meeting was a bust because their voices didn't matter?

Your condescending and arrogant view of toward the public as a "public servant" is undemocratic, anti-republic and ignores the very people you were elected to represent. Landed gentry are not the only people you are there to serve.

2008-04-20 02:33:18 GMT
Walter - you hit the nail right on the head. Notice how Rousey above gives examples of reasons he might meet with you for coffee? He says if you are thinking of building a subdivision. Yeah - we need another subdivision in this city like we need a hole in the head.

He than mocks a man for complaining about the train noise near his home. Granted it isn't necessarily a city issue but it is an interesting contrast for which the conclusion is easy.

If you are a developer (resident or not) come talk and I can help you. If you are my constituent and have a quality of life issue - get lost. Doesn't that man have the right to sleep quietly in his own house? Couldn't Rousay have at least listened to his complaints. I live near Taft and the noise of more and more traffic is becoming unbearable. I can't say anything to Council because I know they only care about increasing the traffic and not my quality of life in Loveland.

--Carol W.
2008-04-20 02:45:38 GMT
Carol - Loveland is known in the building industry as the "easiest lay" on the front range. I guess this guy is just confirming it.

Besides, don't waste you time. He clearly is working for McWhinney and nobody else.
2008-04-20 02:50:03 GMT
Target is the only store in east Loveland performing well. The McWhinneys want to change the zoning near target to retail from offices or "employment" to allow Target to expand into a "Super Target."

That is why Rocky Scott is now claiming that retail jobs are primary jobs. They want to lower the profile of their Master Financing Agreement change away from any employment centers and towards lower-end discount retail.

In 15 to 20 years that retail center will be old and worthless needing another redevelopment and Loveland will need to wait another 10 years before the tax incentive is satisfied in the MFA after that.

I don't know if many people in Loveland have ever seen what a failing and old shopping center looks like especially when there is no money to update it - but it isn't nice and draws elements you don't want in Loveland.

As the guy above suggested, the deal was already struck by Don Williams and now he is just "herding the cats." I have never heard him call the council "dumb animals" like the guy above complains but he does like to refer to them as his wondering cats.

Mathew 15:14 When the blind lead the blind they will all end up in a pit.

Don't forget we are the ones who will be in that pit.
2008-04-20 03:15:25 GMT
Walter: I, as always, appreicate your comments but I wish you and others would not take what I say and read something else into it.

1. I used a developer only as an example..I'll be happy to meet with anyone on any issue. I've met with individual citizens on a variety of issues....from alleys to waste removal.

2. I never said the meeting with Kent and Walt was a failure or even hinted that they should be cancelled. I said that maybe having only 4 people show is an indication that most are happy with the city.

3. There has been nothing I said that was an an excuse or a defense.

4. Condescending and arrogant? How did you read that into my posting?

5. You stated that what I say at this meeting makes it legal or're right. Based on what I said (or indicated) the meeting was not illegal.

The newspaper that most of you dislike may quote me out of context but, unlike most of you, they don't put words in my mouth or try to make it sound as if I said something I didn't.
2008-04-20 13:49:50 GMT
I'm an employee at McWhinney and I am **&&$% pissed. A lower-level, disposable employee, I might add.

McWhinney has maxed out its line of credit by purchasing the Anthem project in Broomfield. Chad and Troy also bought out one of the California brothers (there are 4 brothers total) for $14 million. Now our limited revenue stream cannot cover our bills. Upper management personnel are leaving in droves - or are looking. The sustainability mantra is a crock. We haven't closed on any significant Grand Station deals in over a year. Forget Johnna - Jack Wolfe is the one who's pulling the wool over everyone's eyes. It's pretty sad that Northern Colorado has been raped - all the communities here are affected negatively, not just Loveland.

To top it all off, Chad's personal net worth has been lopped in half because he's getting divorced. He's got some sweet Candy up here from Texas to keep him company. Arrogance and entitlement are theme songs that I'm really tired of hearing.
--Lowly BSA
2008-04-22 20:04:14 GMT
Well looks like Loveland hitched their wagon to a real weiner. The higher they rise the harder they fall. They really arn't shopping developers, their just land developers. Funny how Rosousey falls silent or ignores comments whenever the real crap comes out.
2008-04-24 02:17:11 GMT
Thanks LovelandPolitics for hitting a nail on its head. Jay was told to help on the lodging tax and get it on this November ballot. The reason is the hotels looking at Grand Station need a draw and Chad cannot prove he can build Grand Station. Therefore, they will not sign (from what I understand) until the new tax is created to pay for the convention center Chad promised them he would have the city build in Centerra.

This new committee for a convention center in Centerra to be paid by hotel taxes is one more attempt to leverage quasi-public debt to bail out the McWhinneys.

By the way, Chad's girlfriend is really named Candi (that is the proper spelling) and they just bought a condo together in Ft. Collins. Nice place but nothing really special. Remember when he said he was in Loveland to stay? I guess we all know what the wife must feel like as well.

The McWhinneys are now gone from town (in the residential sense). Why is that important? Really it shouldn't be but since Chad reminded the community constantly that he resided here and therefore cared about "his" community we should remind him that he left both his wife and the community.
2008-04-24 20:41:53 GMT
I wonder if they will be as successful with the lodging tax as they were stupidly leading the way on the regional transportation tax. Stupid is trying the same thing twice and expecting a different outcome. And this announcement on Dillards, no way Dillards is going to sign if McW is really that that short on cash. Boy, this was the wrong time to get fully leveraged. Sounds to me like they are on the way down.
2008-04-25 04:16:21 GMT
I just visited Grand Station yesterday. Well, the big dirt field anyway where the road dead ends.

Everyone remember Ouch/Rousey telling us we would be wrong by summer and have to apologize to him as the place was going forward? Well, the only new news is that Rich Shannon has now also left McWhinney for a better job.

In other words, no leases or building on Grand Station just the disappearing payroll you guys wrote about last year. People who keep saying LovelandPolitics isn't credible really do look stupid. You were the only ones who reported about the "exodus" in your words of McWhinney employees which continues today.

Oh by the way, the Company Coach is gone too. Now Jay Hardy and Jack Wolfe are alone with Grumpy (Rocky Scott) to try and make things right in the senior management and community. Given the poor start on For A Better Loveland Inc. ruse to make taxpayers subsidize a convention center near Grand Station I would say they are in trouble.

Even Rich Shannon would have never made those amateur mistakes. Telling the public one thing while doing another never makes for good public relations.

Rock on LovelandPolitics!!!
2008-04-30 15:11:38 GMT
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