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Taxpayer trust violated

Dick Gustafson and Debbie Buckley
Eagle County commissioner candidates

County Commissioners Peter Runyon, Arn Menconi and Sarah Fisher have refused to tell the public how much of our money they spent on Denver lawyers for a legal opinion to support Gov. Bill Ritter’s tax hike (SB199) that was determined to be illegal in a Denver district court in Denver. Only the costs of the legal fees were requested, not information about the legal strategy (The funds were part of $200,000 previously budgeted for the county attorney’s outside legal advice.) Further, Eagle County initiated the complaint and invited other counties to participate in the county’s position by signing on to the filed amicus brief at no cost to them.

Whether we support the expenditure is not the issue. We believe that the refusal by the Eagle County Commissioners to release the cost of the Amicus brief was inappropriate (now estimated to be $40,000 to $60,000). The decision to approve the expenditure, made during a telephone conversation, was never discussed in as open hearing. Instead of an appropriate explanation, Commissioner Runyon cavalierly stated “Sometimes expediency requires we make decisions like that.”

We believe that the taxpayers have an absolute right to know where and how all of our taxes are being spent. There is a long list of undisclosed donations and consultant expenditures. Why? This trend is cause for concern.



The commissioners have sworn to follow the laws of our State and the Nation. They have a duty to represent us and not work for their own agenda. As your new majority on the commissioner, our first order of business will be to initiate a forensic audit to protect the taxpayer’s interest, to review and disclose all the expenditures over the past four years, and to clear the air. Our code of conduct will require accountable, open, and honest government.


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