Minturn councilman should go |

Minturn councilman should go

Matt Zalaznick
NWS Downtown Minturn PU 5-1

Whether Tom Sullivan has been an effective councilman in Minturn is beside the point. He should resign. The Minturn Inn, which Sullivan owns a part of and has managed, was sold last month for $6.5 million to Florida developer Bobby Ginn, who, for the forseeable future, will be trying his hardest to get the town to approve the massive private skiing and golfing community he wants to build south of town. These deliberations, which require Minturn to expand its government as well as annex the 5,300 acres Ginn has purchased on and around Battle Mountain, will take up most of the town council’s time in the coming months and maybe years Minturn Councilman Jerry Bumgarner has told the Vail Daily Sullivan should be able to vote on Ginn development issues once he stops running the inn. “As long as he’s not employed or doesn’t have any contractual obligations, as far as I can see, this is just a real estate transaction,” said Burmgarner, adding he trusted Sullivan’s objectivity. Commissioner Arn Menconi, who has no formal involvement the Ginn deliberations, faulted Sullivan for not earlier disclosing the sale he was working on with Ginn. Sullivan has not been involved in the council’s work on Ginn since the sale, but he’s still on the coucil. Sullivan may be overflowing with integrity, but it doesn’t matter. Exercising government authority in favor or to the detriment of a developer who paid you millions of dollars can never appear honest. And perceptions, though often silly and sometimes useless, are important in these sorts of small-town decisions. There is no question Sullivan that should not participate in any of the council’s discussions of Ginn’s plan. There is no question he that he should not vote on anything having to do with the Battle Mountain project. That’s why he has to step down. If he finds council work irrestably fulfilling, he can run for re-election after Ginn’s project has been built or rejected. It seems pointless for a council to operate a man down on a project that will monopolize its time (Ginn has used the phrase “long haul”) and which could drastically alter Minturn. Voters also did not elect Sullivan so he could sit out one of the biggest decisions in the council’s history, having just sold his inn for a handsome profit to the developer who would dwarf the current town. Vail, Colorado

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