Both sides raised same amount of money in Safeway battle
SILVERTHORNE – The diametrically opposed committees that campaigned for and against the Shops at Silver Mountain Village raised about the same amount in donations, according to recently filed campaign finance reports.
The Dec. 9 election that yielded a nine-vote difference, with the highest turnout ever in the town, favored a rezoning for a 95,000-square-foot Safeway-anchored shopping plaza. A lawsuit initiated by Councilmember Howard Hallman is pending. It challenges what Hallman says were “honest mistakes” in the election process.
Forty-seven people, including eight businesses, donated nearly $9,500 to the Vote Yes for Silverthorne committee. Fifty-seven people donated more than $9,500 to Silverthorne Advocates for Votes on Expansion (SAVE). SAVE outpaced Yes proponents by just $38 in donations.
The biggest donors to the Vote Yes for Silverthorne campaign were the developer Kornfeld Koslosky Properties of Denver ($2,000) and the Smith Ranch landowner investor Seminole Land Holding Company of Boulder ($2,000).
SAVE’s largest donors were Mont and Karen Levy ($2,000) and Bill and Kathy Bauer ($2,000), all of Ruby Ranch.
Bill Bauer, whose home is directly west of the Smith Ranch, said he donated to SAVE because he disagrees with the way town officials are guiding development plans in town. He said views from his home will not be affected by the project.
Both committees spent their money on similar expenses, including newspaper advertisements, radio advertisements, flyers and mailings.
Donations were still rolling into the SAVE account the first week of January.
“People called in support of SAVE as the recount was pending,” said Janet Carter, SAVE treasurer.
The Yes committee has $1,120 in unspent donations and has not closed it’s account yet because of pending litigation against the town and county clerks who ran the election, said Yes committee treasurer Vincent Lanuza.
SAVE spent all of its donations, records show.
One donor asked for his money back, according to public records.
A month before the election, John Drake of Dallas, Texas donated $200 to SAVE. Two weeks before the election, Drake requested his donation back. SAVE’s public records said he changed his mind after being “repeatedly threatened by the Smith Ranch landowner.”
“I don’t know who put the word “threat’ into the public records, but it’s not accurate at all. “Threat’ carries a very serious connotation which some people will misinterpret,” Drake said from his home in Texas. “I thought it over, and it was a personal decision not to contribute to SAVE.”
Texas wasn’t the only place where contributors’ primary residences were located. Second homeowners who live across the Front Range and from Florida to Arizona also contributed to both sides.
One of the campaign leaders from the Yes for Silverthorne committee, Dick Marshall, donated $200 personally and $200 from his business – dhm Design Corporation in Denver. Marshall is on the list of voters challenged in the lawsuit to have the election results tossed out.
The campaign finance documents listed Marshall’s address in Denver when he made the donation on Nov. 17. Marshall also owns a home in Silverthorne and changed his voter registration because he said he lived in town for at least 30 days before the Dec. 9 election. Marshall repeatedly has not returned phone calls to either residence.
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