City Newsletter Bias Blasted
We discovered an interesting letter to the editor of the Denver Post (November 12, 2015 edition) written by Rob Natelson.
Natelson writes, “The recent Lakewood mayoral election was subject to the equivalent of tampering and should be re-run.
The candidates were two members of the City Council: Adam Paul, who was supported by the current mayor, and Ramey Johnson. One of Johnson’s top issues was her opposition to a city plan to acquire contaminated Denver Federal Center land for redevelopment — a plan supported by Paul and the mayor.
About the same time ballots were mailed to the voters, the city administration, using public funds, sent the official city newsletter to all Lakewood households and businesses. The entire front page was devoted to praising and promoting the controversial land acquisition. No opposing arguments were reported. In other words, this was an unreported contribution of public funds to the Paul campaign.
The mailing may well have swung the vote tally, which Paul won by only a single percentage point. The citizens of Lakewood are entitled to elect their mayor in a fair election. Because this one was corrupted, state officials should authorize a new one.”
Rob Natelson, Lakewood.
Adam Paul Receives Thousands From Developers After Election
In pervious issues Watchdog has examined the influence of special interest money on Lakewood politics. The city requires campaign finance reports be filed online a couple times during election season. To get around this transparency problem candidates often “lend” themselves money during the campaign and then AFTER the campaign ends and the last finance report is filed, they do a major fundraiser. These post-election donations are reported but the filing isn’t required until nearly a year after the campaign ends and citizens are no longer paying attention.
A classic example of this was Adam Paul’s run for mayor. Paul raised another $7,300 after the election in addition to the $100,000 in donations previously reported. On the finance disclosure report filed the end of October 2016, Adam Paul reported the following donations from special interests:
$1,500 – Greg Stevinson – the developer behind the Dino Ridge car lot development
$1,000 – Waste Management – seeking the bid for city trash hauling in the future?
$1,000 - Josh Hanfling & RD Sewald - Seward Haufling – lobbyist for developers
$500 – Comcast – holder of the no-bid monopoly on cable service in Lakewood,
$500 – Vivage – developer of senior housing projects,
$500 – Heff Hermanson – Larimer Associates – real estate developer,
$500 – Berry Hirschfeld - AB Hirschfeld – real estate developer,
$250 – David Cole & Associates – lobbyist for developers,
$250 – Husch Blackwell LLP – lobbyist for developers,
$250 – Village at Belmar – local development,
$250 – Pipefitters Union
$100 - Mary Beth Jenkins – Laramie Company – Rooney Valley property owner.
Paul spend $2,500 repaying himself for the money he lent himself at the beginning of the campaign. Since the mayoral election was already won, Paul spent most of the remaining money on meet and greet parties for his supporters and wealthy donors - $1,628.20 to 240 Union Restaurant (owned by Michael Coughlin, his unsuccessful candidate for City Council) and $1,841.58 to the Lakewood Country Club.
This practice was repeated by other establishment candidates. Ward 2’s Sharon Vincent received $250 from the Board of Realtors Association a couple months after winning her election.
These campaign reports are available on the city’s website at www.lakewood.org. Go to Government, Elections, Campaign forms & submitted reports, Submitted reports, colorado.easycampaignfinance.com.
Check It Out For Yourself
These campaign finance reports are available on the city’s website at www.lakewood.org. Go to Government, Elections, Campaign forms & submitted reports, Submitted reports, colorado.easycampaignfinance.com. Also check out www.followthemoney.com for political donations.
Adam Paul's Special Interest Donors