‘Scoop’ gave away boots, house key | VailDaily.com

‘Scoop’ gave away boots, house key

Nicole Formosa
Vail, CO Colorado
Ryan Slabaugh/Summit DailyDistrict Attorney Mark Hurlbert speaks Wednesday at the press conference at the Breckenridge Police Department, which detailed an arrest warrant issued for Royal "Scoop" Daniel.

Editor’s Note: All the information contained in this story was pulled from the arrest warrant affidavit for Royal Daniel. A complete copy of the affidavit can be viewed at http://www.summitdaily.com.

BRECKENRIDGE ” The night before he disappeared, Royal “Scoop” Daniel III took his girlfriend of five months, Jennifer Rathbun, to a fundraiser for the Backstage Theatre at Hearthstone Restaurant in Breckenridge.

There, he purchased $510 of auction items, which would be declined by his credit card company the next day.

Rathbun and Daniel spent that Thursday at his rented home on High Street. On Friday morning, he gave her his favorite running suit and his Sorrel boots, saying he would not be needing them for a while. Daniel also gave her a key to his house, which she thought was odd because he always left the door unlocked.

He dropped her off at home at 5:30 a.m., then went to work.

As the day went on, things got even more strange.

Daniel’s assistant, Sarah Bailey, arrived at work at 8:45 a.m. on Friday. She found her paycheck on her desk in an envelope, something that had never happened in the two-and-a-half years she worked for Daniel. Usually, he handed it to her personally just before 5 p.m.

After he missed several appointments, Bailey filed a missing persons report with police.

The next day, authorities searched Daniel’s home, office and car and confiscated two computers for processing. A laptop that Daniel carried to and from work has not been found.

A subsequent interview with Rathbun, who is also Daniel’s personal banker, revealed that Daniel is in extreme credit card debt and was recently rejected for a line of credit because of his debt and current tax liens.

Three days after his disappearance, detectives interviewed Bailey again. She said she believed Daniel had been illegally moving money into and out of his Colorado Laywer Trust Account Foundation and 1031 escrow accounts to pay office operating expenses and personal debt. She couldn’t find any paper bank records for 2006 or 2007.

Bailey said she found a notice in the recycling bin stating Daniel was behind in child support payments and a two-year-old letter from the Colorado Supreme Court saying he was not being disciplined for a complaint against him.

On May 1, Gene Gregory of Franktown called Breckenridge Police to report that Daniel had helped him with a 1031 transaction last year, and when Gregory was ready for the $254,000 he’d entrusted Daniel with, Daniel couldn’t produce it.

Daniel eventually paid Gregory back most of what he owed him, after telling him he used his money to repay other clients their 1031 money he had previously spent.

While executing a search warrant on May 2 at Daniel’s office, police found a November 2000 letter to Community First Bank asking for a business line of credit.

The letter stated that his firm’s main client, Transbrasil Airlines, had taken a downturn in 1997 and suspended almost all international operations resulting in a loss of income that made up 60 percent of the firm’s $250,000 annual practice.

“This has caused us to ‘re-tool’ the practice over the last two years,” Daniel wrote.

Since Daniel disappeared, seven clients have come forward saying he should be holding their 1031 trust accounts equaling at least $561,571.25. Police have found $229,820.67 between 10 bank accounts in his name or his firm’s name.

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