The truth about ‘Parking-gate’
The truth about Adam Aron’s own personal “Parking-gate” is painfully beginning to emerge a scandal that has the Vail Resorts chief pitted against venomous Vail Daily letter writers and columnist Kaye Ferry.Launched by a Dec. 31 Ferry column revealing Aron’s company car had been towed from a handicap parking space at the Eagle County Airport Dec. 27, the ensuing war of words included a retort from Aron accusing Ferry of spreading “half-truths” and making “unfair attacks.”Aron went on to say he is being treated for two bone spurs in his heel and was “concerned that walking one-third of a mile to and from the nearest available parking space was likely to send me over the edge.”But Aron also acknowledged he paid the $75 towing fee because he did not have a handicap sticker on his car. In a follow-up item in Ferry’s Jan. 7 column under the subhead “Poor baby,” she wrote, “There’s only one question to answer: did he or did he not park in a handicapped zone without a permit?”For the record, the answer to that question seems to be a definitive yes. Aron acknowledges he did not have even a temporary hang tag. But that appears to run counter to what Aron told the towing company enforcing parking regulations at the airport that day.”He does have a handicap sticker, and he accidentally didn’t have it in that vehicle,” says Gypsum Mayor Steve Carver, whose Big Steve’s Towing Company towed Aron’s four-wheel-drive BMW company car.Eagle County Administrator Jack Ingstad says that’s the version he heard as well: “I believe the vehicle was towed and it didn’t have the handicap sticker, but he had a sticker in his personal car and this was a company car,” Ingstad says. “With proof that he had a sticker we might have waived that fee, but he wanted to pay. He paid with a credit card and said he should have had that sticker. He was very pleasant and cooperative.”For the record, Aron acknowledges, through spokeswoman Kelly Ladyga, that his disabled tag had expired.Carver, whose company had been called in by the county to enforce parking signs in light of the U.S. Office of Homeland Security’s orange terror alert issued over the holiday, confirms that Aron was very cooperative.That runs counter to what Ferry wrote in her Jan. 7 column: “By the way, the part that was omitted from last week’s column was that the language exchanged during the incident is not fit for print in a family newspaper.””(Aron) was very nice and never said an unkind word,” Carver says. “He said he knew he shouldn’t have parked there because he didn’t have his handicap sticker and it was a mistake. Adam Aron was the most cooperative person we’ve dealt with since the orange alert went in.”That jibes with what Ladyga has seen of her boss’s disposition in the three years she’s worked closely with him: “I have never heard him even raise his voice, and when I read (what Ferry wrote) I thought that it was so uncharacteristic of him I didn’t believe it.”Carver’s company was towing cars left unattended in the loading and unloading zone, those illegally parked in disabled parking spaces, and cars left for too long in outlying lots.Finally, contrary to rampant rumors and what several reliable sources told The Vail Trail, Aron denies he was at the airport to pick up former vice president Al Gore, a personal friend of Aron’s who has visited the valley numerous times dating back to his days in the Clinton administration.Though sources were unable to confirm the date, Gore and his wife Tipper did fly in through the Vail Valley Jet Center, the private aviation facility at the airport, and ate dinner at Zach’s Cabin at Bachelor Gulch New Years Eve.But Aron says that on the day his vehicle was towed, Dec. 27, he was dropping off his own family for a flight back to Chicago, and that he went to park so he could go back into the terminal and say goodbye.Ingstad and Carver both say they had not heard Aron was towed while picking up Gore, but the politically conservative Carver, when asked, retorted: “I hope (Aron) has more class than that. That would make me mad is if he was going to pick up Al Gore.” q
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