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Johnson Ignores Her Own Legal Advice
Hears arguments from McWhinney in private on quasi-judicial matter
Loveland - June 27, 2008

When Loveland residents attempted to contact Councilwoman Carol Johnson regarding a zoning matter involving the
Staples Farm last March, she refused to discuss the matter claiming it was legally impossible for her to hear their
complaints outside a public hearing.

The Loveland Downtown Association was sent an email by Johnson stating;

"All zoning matters are quasi-judicial and the Council is not allowed legally to hear arguments outside council chambers
on quasi-judicial matters. Please do not encourage the public to contact council members on the zoning as we legally
cannot discuss this or hear arguments outside council chambers."

On or about April 16, just some thirty days later, Johnson participated in a secret meeting with McWhinney Enterprises to
hear, in advance of the public hearing, their arguments in favor of a zoning request coming before the city council.  The
item, voted on June 24, 2008 was also identified by the City Attorney, John Duval, as a "quasi-judicial public hearing" in
the council's agenda package.

Duval was apparently involved in arranging and approving the meetings with McWhinney.  Johnson wasn't the only
member of the City Council to have received direction not to discuss the Staples Farm annexation with anyone outside the
public hearing.  Duval's careful legal caution apparently didn't apply when the party seeking ex-parte communication with
council regarding a quasi-judicial matter was McWhinney Enterprises instead of Loveland residents.

The secret meetings were conducted by the McWhinney team briefing two council members at a time in their offices in an
effort to skirt the open meetings law by claiming the whole council never met together.  The Loveland Reporter-Herald
also documented the meetings took place and wrote an editorial condemning the secret meetings.  

It appears that Johnson already concluded it was inappropriate for her to discuss the Staples Farm zoning matter with her
constituents but went ahead and met with McWhinney anyway regarding an annexation and zoning matter.  Other
participants in the meetings have disclosed the purpose was to gain council support for the annexation and zoning requests
that later came before council June 24, 2008.

Johnson and six of her colleagues who also attended the secret meetings voted in favor of the applicant (McWhinney
Enterprises) without discussion after a brief presentation by McWhinney.
Councilwoman Carol Johnson was
quick to offer the six motions over
complicated zoning issues and
amendments without any discussion.  

She had already met with McWhinney
in private despite lecturing residents one
month earlier about the illegality of her
hearing any of their arguments regarding
Staples Farm annexation and zoning  
coming before council.