Commission calls meeting to discuss ‘abuses’ by state agency
December 28, 2005
DENVER – The chairman of the state Gaming Commission, which regulates gambling, called an emergency meeting on Thursday to “discuss abuses” in the Department of Revenue’s administration of Colorado’s Gaming Act.Commission chairwoman Natalie Meyer said there was no time to post the meeting in advance. Dan Burmania, spokesman for the Gaming Commission, said he could not answer questions about the meeting and commission members refused to comment.Michael Cooke, executive director of the Revenue Department, which oversees the Division of Gaming, said she has had several disputes with the commission recently over staffing and spending, but none that she believes rose to the level of abuse.”I think it’s really probably just some misunderstanding. It’s unfortunate that it has elevated to this level,” Cooke said.Meyer promised to tell the governor legislative leadership about the meeting, but legislative leaders said they had not been contacted. Cooke said she also was not informed on the purpose of the meeting and Meyer had not returned her phone calls.Cooke, a member of GOP Gov. Bill Owens’ Cabinet, said all five members of the commission were appointed by Owens and she was caught off-guard by the claims of abuse.Cooke said commission members expressed concern several weeks ago because it has taken weeks to hire four auditors. She said the commission was also upset that Cooke and the department insisted on having control over hiring.Cooke said the commission was also upset after she rejected a request to hold a workshop at the Table Mountain Inn in Golden at a cost of $3,100 to discuss tax-setting procedures and standards for executive sessions. Cooke said she felt those issues could be discussed at a regular meeting in state offices in Lakewood.”I think this has been blown out of proportion. It hasn’t interfered with anything. It’s a philosophical disagreement,” she said.