Loveland's Independent News Source
Unlikely Bedfellows Fight Madwire
Business Subsidy
Mayor reacts to phony email critics say he knows the true author, who is also the
Mayor's friend, longtime political supporter and competitor of Madwire
Loveland - August 5, 2012  (Corrections made August 6 in blue)

Last month Loveland's City Council gave staff the go-ahead to prepare a
$300,000 subsidy package for Loveland company
Madwire Media Cos., an
internet marketing company, to move into the old Agilent campus on south Taft
Ave. in Loveland called the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and

City officials expressed fear the company's owner, Joe Kellogg, would make
good on threats to expand in San Antonio, Texas with new employees.  The
council's action wasn't a formal approval only direction to staff to prepare the
incentive package and formal agreements that the council can later consider
and vote on to approve or deny Madwire's request.

In 2011, the City of Loveland fast-tracked permitting for the same company to
leave its previous location at 504 W. Eisenhower Blvd. to a building next door.  
At that time, Kellogg told the city he was moving to Windsor if he couldn't find
adequate space for his 75 employees.  Commercial landlord Steve McMillan
who is also an architect and principal of Fountainhead Designs, accommodated
Kellogg's request by rapidly constructing a larger building next to their
previous location (just off Eisenhower) which includes a gym and other "new
media" employee acutraments not common in Loveland commercial buildings.  
According to several sources, McMillan now says Madwire has 3 1/2 years left
on their current lease so are not in a position to leave.

Founded in 2009, Madwire Media Cos. is a homegrown success story for
Loveland.  However, the company's mid-July request of $300,000 in subsidies
from the City of Loveland as a condition to continue growing in Loveland has
earned it an unusual group of detractors.

Longtime promoter of both the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and
Technology and the city's subsidy to grow jobs program, Mayor Cecil Gutierrez
is working the back halls of city hall now to kill the deal.   

Mayor Gutierrez's tactics and accusations have lead Madwire to reconsider
their request of the city or even staying in Loveland according to senior level
city staff.

Unlikely Bedfellows

Loveland's Liberty Watch (during a Loveland 912 Project meeting) voiced  
opposition to the proposed subsidy for Madwire.  Those defending the
proposed $300,000 incentive to grow in Loveland explain Madwire has
outgrown their current location so the decision is between locating new
employees in
Austin, Texas or Loveland's Rocky Mountain Center for
Innovation and Technology, the only building in Loveland that Madwire says is
large enough to house their rapidly growing company.

Loveland's Liberty Watch has taken a similar position on previous incentives
for companies saying local government should not "pick winners and losers" by
giving some companies an advantage over others.  Ironically, Mayor Gutierrez
appears to agree with
Liberty Watch but not for any philosophical reasons.  
Instead, the "losers" appear to be business competitors of Madwire who are
also longtime political allies of Mayor Gutierrez.

Are Politics Behind Gutierrez's opposition?

Longtime Gutierrez backers Frederick J. Richart and Maryjo Faith Morgan are
reported to be incensed by the city's proposed incentive for Madwire and
working quietly to undermine the deal.  Together they own
Fred's Used
Websites of Loveland and are reported to be regular critics of their successful
competitor Madwire and owner Joe Kellogg's business tactics.  In addition, the
couple advertises the services of John Metcalf and Lori Evans for graphic
design work on their website.  Metcalf designed the city's "Loveland Everything
You Love" logo and are regulars at local political events.

Mayor Gutierrez has a rather long standing policy of not responding to
anonymous emails or considering any part of the content.  In this case, he made
an exception.  Gutierrez forwarded a fictitiously named email from "Bob
Suruncle" (see upper right) believed to have originated from the desk of either
Fred Richart or Mary Jo Morgan, directly to Loveland City Manager Bill Cahill
asking about Madwire's qualifications as a "creative sector" employer.

Gutierrez also questioned Kellogg of Madwire in public, a well known political
conservative, on whether his operation is akin to a "boiler-room" operation
even before receiving the email sent in a fictitious name to he and the city

Instead of sharing the email with colleagues, Gutierrez asked the city manager
to investigate not who sent the email but instead whether Madwire is
disqualified from receiving the incentive based on the accusations contained in
the anonymous email.  City staff followed-up on the city manager's investigation
by having Kelly Peters, Director of Business Retention & Expansion NCEDC
(Northern Colorado Economic Development Corp) contact Kellogg to make a
determination of his company's qualifications.

According to Peters,  Kellogg responded to the inquiry by saying,

"Bob Suruncle is a fake name.  This person does not exist and the email that
he is using is newly created.

It's difficult to answer that type of email.  It's clear that this person has no
understanding of Madwire, our industry, products or what innovation really
looks like.  Payless shoes never made shoes but they changed the shoe
business.  Was that innovation? Madwire did not We are one of the fastest
growing companies in the country, over the last four years.  That isn't
possible selling "off the shelve" templates.   Madwire has demonstrated a
strong performance of growth."

In the end it appears political affiliation and not any city policy is driving this
debate.  Kellogg is an outspoken right of center businessman while Fred Richart
and company lean to the left in their support of local candidates like Mayor
Gutierrez and Councilwoman Joan Shaffer.

Kellogg is reportedly angry at the "sweatshop" accusations emanating from
Mayor Gutierrez and his supporters along with the secret investigation into his
business practices that was not cleared with the entire city council.  Whether he
continues to press for the subsidy or quietly heads for Texas is still up in the
air.  At the moment, Kellogg is reported to be leaning towards going to Texas.
From: Bob Suruncle
Date: July 17, 2013, 11:19:50 AM MDT
To: <<>>,
Subject: Madwire Media

I recently called this into the RH line and sent this to Jessica Maher at
the Reporter-Herald but felt it important that you received these
questions directly in case it wasn't printed:

"If Loveland is going to make a significant investment in Madwire Media
so that they can move into the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation
and Technology, then Madwire must answer two simple questions:

First, what exactly is their creative innovation outside of selling
off-the-self web marketing services? And second, how many of their
current and future promised employees are actually Loveland
residents and not commuters from Fort Collins or elsewhere?"

I do not intend to take down a company I just can't sit by while they are
placed on a pedestal for something they are not. They should be
congratulated for their success but not awarded as an innovative or
creative company. On the surface they are a hip "creative" company.
On the inside it's a boiler room of sales people selling marketing for
free template websites. There is little or no proprietary offering and
that essentially makes them a retail operation re-selling other
companies creations. That's not innovation or creativity
Loveland Mayor Cecil Gutierrez attacking
Madwire from behind the scenes