In light of the recent push for more development, Watchdog took a look at campaign donations from developers, realtors and their lobbyists in the 2015 election.
Home Builders / Metro Housing
Adam Paul - $5,000
Dana Gutwein - $1,500
Realtors / 5280
Adam Paul - $750
Dana Gutwein - $250
Sharon Vincent - $250
Adam Paul - $1,000
Dana Gutwein - $500
Partial list of individual Paul donors listed by their associated employer.
Laramie Company - Rooney Valley - $700
United Partners - $1,000
Wildridge Capital - $500
Cardel Homes - $500
Bush Development - $1,000
Antero Resources - $700
Brookfield Homes - $100
Jericho Properties - $500
Propp Realty - $250
CRL Associates lobbyist - $1,750
David Kenney lobbyist - $500
Flaum & Associates - $400
Martin & Martin - $500
Associates of Stevinson - $1,000
Ladawn Sperling (realtor) - $100
Adam Paul Mayoral Campaign
Analyzing the campaign finance reports is difficult because most of the reporting is listed by individual name rather than by company. For example, seven employees from the Denver law firm of Squire Patton Boggs donated a total of $1,800 to Adam Paul for mayor. While this may appear to be generous, the firm received over $18,000 from the City during a five month period (April to September 2015) apparently for legal work related to the plan to buy 59 acres of the Denver Federal Center. (Source - Lakewood Ledger at www.lakewood.org - go to home, finance, finance department, quick links, lakewood ledger).
As a group lawyers and legal firms were big contributors to the Adam Paul mayoral campaign with at least $7,400. Some of the other major contributor groups were developers - $11,475, building contractors - $7,580, real estate interests - $4,750, lobbyist/PR firms - $5,150 and unions - $6,800.
Analysis of the Park Giveaway Issue
In the current mayoral race there have been references made to the park giveaway at Hutchinson Park (commonly referred to as 2090 S. Wright St.) Since this issue is important to establishing the creditability of the candidates, Watchdog took a detailed look at the case.
Adam Paul’s detractors cite 2090 as an example of his fiscal irresponsibility for failing to protect the people’s assets and spending money on legal fees trying to defend this action. Paul’s supporters claim it was not a giveaway because they believe it was not city property.
What is obvious is that if the Paul faction had prevailed this property would not now be city property nor would it be open space. The fact the open space would have been lost is irrefutable.
Paul bases his defense on his belief that the property did not belong to the City and therefore it was not ours to either save or giveaway. This is where both sides have different opinions. While everyone can have an opinion there can be only one set of facts.
This is where the courts step in. In a lawsuit filed in county court (case # 2012 CV 3006) the judge ruled the land was a city park. The judge goes on to declare “this Court has no option but to find that this property has been used for open space and thus falls within the purview of City Charter Provision 14.3(b). property may not be leased or sold without a favorable vote ... [of the people].”
Therefore, the facts are that the open space was a part of a city park - Hutchinson. The Council’s action was intended to put ownership in the hands of another party - Jeffco R-1. Since this change of ownership did not involve the City receiving any compensation for its park land then it meets the clear meaning of a “free giveaway”.
Paul and his supporters claim they believed they were acting in good faith. Since we can not see into the hearts of men we can’t judge those claims. Some Paul supporters claim that the Assessor’s Office recorded the property as belonging to Jeffco R-1. The judge addressed this potential issue observing, “... this map is for assessment purposes only. It is not necessarily accurate for surveying standards. DO NOT USE FOR LEGAL CONVEYANCE.”
Finally Paul claims the giveaway would not have resulted in the land going for “development.” This is a semantic exercise as to what is the definition of development. The proposed park giveaway had two phases. In the first phase, the land was slated to go for a regional school for the deaf. While a laudable goal, a regional school would meet the definition of development.
The second phase is often over-looked. After the school moved to its current location on Kipling, the district again tried to gain title to the open space but this time there was no stated goal. If the district had received the property they could have sold it to a developer and pocketed the money. In the second case, since there was no plans for any school, it’s fair to assume the open space would have been developed.
Conclusion - the facts are 2090 was a city park; City tried to get rid of it, for free, without the required vote of the people.
Role of Campaign Funding -
Special Report - contributed by Juan Rodriguez
While campaign money continues to play a important role in municipal politics the dominance of the establishment was shattered in November’s election. Of the six races, the establishment candidates lost four and just barely prevailed in two.
Part of the reason for the strong showing of the independent candidates is the funding gap between them and their establishment opponents closed in four of the races. The Wards 2 and 5 races were the usual David versus Goliath contests with the establishment outspending the independents about 10 to 1 in Ward 2.
In the one Council race won by the establishment (just barely with a little over 50% of the vote), Dana Gutwein in Ward 5 raised nearly three and half times as much as her independent opponent (Jessica Skimel).
When the candidates’ funding is divided by the number of votes received, the per vote funding ranged from a high of $6.27/vote by Richard Bryant to 62 cents/vote by Sharon Vincent. Another glaring difference was in the Ward 4 race with the establishment candidate (Michael Coughlin) raising about $4.35 per vote while his independent challenger (Barb Franks) spent $1.78 per vote.
In absolute terms council candiate funding ranged from $18,923 by Coughlin to $867 by Steven Ly in Ward 2. The other big money campaigns were Gutwein (Ward 5) - $14,729, Bryant (Ward 2) - $11,587 and Franks (Ward 4) - $11,175. In Ward 3 the funding was pretty even with $10,705 for Gary Harty and $10,536 for Pete Roybal. The funding was also relatively matched in Ward 1 with $8,130 for establishment candidate Ty Hull, $7,965 for Jeff Yeager and $7,311 by Charley Able.
Independents Win City Elections in November
In a major reversal of political fortunes, the establishment that has run Lakewood since its inception was dealt a serious political blow in the November election losing four races. The two races they managed to carry were razor thin (about half a percent) for seats that have been traditionally safe for them.
The race to succeed Bob Murphy as mayor was won by his designated successor, Adam Paul, by about half a percent. In light of Paul’s record campaign spending (over $100,000 - see related story), top line placement (usually worth a percentage point or two) and a school board election on the same ballot, the fact he didn’t win by a huge margin was indicative of the anger of the voters this year.
Besides the concerns about the pro-development bias of the previous Council, the big factor in the election was the school board recall. Since the recalled school board members were Republicans, many voters upset with the school board also voted against the only registered Republican running for city office - Ramey Johnson for mayor. Without that “guilt by association” vote, Johnson would have beaten Paul.
In the five Council races the school board factor was reduced since all the candidates were either unaffiliated or registered Democrats. The losing establishment candidates were Ty Hull (Ward 1) - 19.5%, Richard Bryant (Ward 2) - 39.5%, Gary Harty (Ward 3) - 41% and Mike Coughlin (Ward 4) - 41%.
The one seat the establishment retained was Ward 5 where insider Dana Gutwein beat newcomer Jessica Skimel with 50.7% of the vote. Gutwein outspent Skimel 3.5 to 1 and was running for nearly a year compared to Skimel’s late Labor Day entry. In the Ward 5 election two years ago, the establishment candidate (Karen Harrison) won with 66% of the vote. The establishment’s nearly 15 point drop in this safe ward was a stunner.
The West Metro Firefighters Union (Local 1309) donated $5,000 (the legal maximum) to Adam Paul for mayor and $500 to Gary Harty for Ward 3. This generosity came despite the union spending $30,000 to support a tax increase in 2014 and $24,000 to elect three candidates to the West Metro Fire District Board of Directors that same year.
The Carpenters Union donated $300 each to Adam Paul (mayor), Ty Hull (Ward 1), Gary Harty (Ward 3) and Dana Gutwein (Ward 5).
The police union donated $1,000 to the Paul mayoral campaign.
Special Interest Contributors
Home Builders / Metro Housing
Adam Paul, mayor - $5,000
Richard Bryant, Ward 2 - $1,500
Gary Harty, Ward 3 - $1,500
Mike Coughlin, Ward 4 - $1,500
Dana Gutwein, Ward 5 - $1,500
Adam Paul, mayor - $1,000
Richard Bryant, Ward 2 - $500
Gary Harty, Ward 3 - $500
Mike Coughlin, Ward 4 - $500
Dana Gutwein, Ward 5 - $500
Realtors / 5280
Adam Paul, mayor - $750
Richard Bryant, Ward 2 - $250
Ty Hull, Ward 1 - $250
Gary Harty, Ward 3 - $250
Dana Gutwein, Ward 5 - $250
|Race||Candidate||Votes||Percentage||Funds||Ratio||$ / Vote|
|Mayor||Paul||20,680||50.59%||$100,055.00||1.15 to 1||$4.84|
|Hull||1,379||19.57%||$8,130.00||1.1 to 1||$5.90|
|Ward 2||Bryant||1,848||39.27%||$11,587.00||10 to 1||$6.27|
|Harty||3,049||40.78%||$11,175.60||1 to 1||$3.51|
|Coughlin||4,348||40.94%||$18,923.00||1.7 to 1||$4.35|
|Gutwein||3,949||50.65%||$14,729.35||3.5 to 1||$3.73|