Letters to the editor
I am appalled. Do you know that the editor, Don Rogers, edits your letters if he doesn’t like the content or thinks it could libelous? He edited my May 14 letter to the editor without contacting me and having the common courtesy to discuss it. I guess if our privileges as citizens can be violated by the Supreme Court, then the Vail Daily can do it as well. If there were any problems with what I wrote shouldn’t I have had the opportunity to clarify? Shame on you Don!
At the same time, you have allowed many vicious attacks on Michael Cacioppos’ credibility. He can sometimes be in your face, but that is only his way of trying to keep this community honest. Unfortunately to call the political left honest is an oxymoron.
In fact, to keep things honest I am prepared to swear at a deposition that I heard a voice mail of an Eagle County administrator telling a local business to stop advertising in Speakout or teachers would stop shopping at this particular business. That is also appalling. I’m glad I don’t have kids that age anymore or else this kind of obscenity would become very personal. Lets remember this is America, not an Islamic country, and we do have these rights and should defend them zealously.
Now let’s point out something you did not “edit.” Ms. Goodwin’s letter last week mentioned Hitler’s problem with Jewish immigrants. I didn’t know that there were Jewish “immigrants” in Germany and the key word here is immigrants. How absurd a statement. This woman needs to read a little history. Jewish-German citizens, and the key word here is citizens, fled Germany so as not to be killed. Hitler’s problem? As I recall it was about 6 million citizens’ problem. Wake up D.R.!
G-D Bless America.
Editor’s note: While we do not edit for “liking content,” we make no apologies for editing letters, Tipslines and other submissions for potential libel, private matters vs. public issues, language and overt bigotry.
Why I did this
In the May 9 Sunday paper, Veronica Whitney wrote two articles, accompanied by a front-page headline: “Witness: Data falsified.” They referred to an embezzlement of a large sum of money through my company, PRM Realty and said I was distraught for not being paid for five and a half month’s work I gave the district attorney so it could prosecute the alleged perpetrator, Brandon Outlaw. The articles reported I now say “the data are false” because I have not been paid for my time given.
Rohn Robbins, a local attorney, discussed my position in one article, distinguishing a “fact” from an “expert” witness who is “paid.”
A “fact” witness, Robbins said, is “someone who observes a crime with his own senses.” Well, I did not observe this alleged crime with my own senses. This alleged crime, while it was occurring, was not observed in anyone’s senses but those of FirstBank and Wells Fargo bank tellers and Outlaw’s for over one and a half years. Outlaw doctored the homeowners associations and PRM books/checks and destroyed the forgeries so effectively it was unobservable.
Then Robbins said an “expert” witness is someone who “gets paid” as “an expert in the matter.” When Detective Doug Winters came to investigate, I told him I was not precisely sure how it happened or how much money was involved or even how long it occurred. I said it would require investigating 25 bank accounts individually entry by entry in conjunction with associated financial statements and ledgers over the two and a half years that Outlaw was an employee at PRM. I said this could take a long time, possibly several months or more.
Winters replied not only did he not know how to do this, but also he did not have the time, for he was working on a murder case. I then said give me a clerk from your office and I will guide that person through the investigation because I know what needs to be done, referring to my strong financial background.
But Winters said he did not have such a resource available. I then offered to do it, but said I wanted to be paid, for it is your job and it will delay me from closing down my companies that this incident has caused me to lose. When Winters left, I thought it odd that I would be doing the sheriff and DA’s job (and so did my attorneys). But I also thought Winters was comfortable with it because of my expertise.
Now let me go to Hurlbert’s contention that paying a witness “can hurt (witness) credibility.” The facts are that witnesses get paid, sometimes even “fact” witnesses, I since have found. Everyone knows “expert” witnesses are being paid in the Kobe Bryant case. So, am I an expert to be paid? Well, I have a strong background in accounting, I did not observe this alleged crime with my own senses, I presented a professional product, and Winters
and I certainly had discussions like I was an expert. We discussed having the HOAs do their own investigations. The problem was, we discussed, HOA investigations would necessarily end with their funds going into my company accounts.
We discussed how Winters needed to show not just this but also how the funds then flowed out of my company accounts and into Outlaw’s accounts. He needed this bigger picture to prove the case. He asked if I could provide that, and I said I could.
My complaint with the prosecution has always been about recognizing that data I provided is of extreme value to the prosecution. The work was done professionally, accurately and as an expert would do it. It is as airtight as any forensic accountant would provide. Measured against forensic work some of the HOAs paid for that I have seen, it is even more so.
I can expertly present it at trial, showing the exact trail of funds flowing from the HOAs into the Outlaw’s accounts. The only thing that jeopardizes this is the prosecution’s disregard for its obligation to me in giving “the people” their much-deserved justice.
Up until the May 9 articles, the only response I had ever gotten was there was no budget. That always seemed wildly unjust, given the budget increases of the Kobe Bryant case. I thought it was about justice influenced by money again. Now that the Whitney articles provide a “legal” perspective, I see my position sustainable compared to actual rules.
If doing the prosecution’s job had only taken two or three weeks, getting paid would not have been an issue. I would have been happy to do it just to clear my name and get justice for the people and myself and then move on. This, however, was a five and a half month effort. I even had to hire a clerk to help assemble the details. This was because Outlaw’s scheme was cleverly crafted, complicated and very concealed.
I know the prosecution wants to hold itself to high standards for the people it serves. I know it does. I know it will. It is a shame that this situation got to a threat of public perjury and even case jeopardy. Like everyone else, however, I am required to make ends meet. I have bills to pay. I hope everyone understands this. I did not intend to disrespect the law. When I started the prosecution’s investigation, I did it expecting compensation for what I would bring to the table. I still do.
Is the Bair Ranch proposal perfect? Certainly not. But does it have several overriding and compelling advantages? Absolutely.
The first is the fact that the county’s investment of $2 million leverages into place over $3 million of OPM (Other People’s Money). The bottom line, my friends, is that we are getting one heck of a deal. And remember, these other funds for the most part will leave the county forever. Say goodbye to the money. Bye bye.
The second is that we are only buying THE DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS. If we wanted to walk on the property, we wouldn’t be paying “just” $5 million. We would have to pay four times that much. And that would definitely not be a good deal for the taxpayers of Eagle County.
Will we benefit from this right away? Probably not. Will we benefit in 10 years? Maybe. But will we benefit in 20 years when the Eagle County population swells to and past the 90,000 population predicted by our state demographer? Absolutely. Would we be able to afford the same easements then that are offered today. No way!
This is an investment in our future. This is an investment to ensure that Eagle County remains one of the world’s special places. Our natural uncongested environment is the golden egg of our economic success. Let’s not kill the goose.
Candidate for Eagle County commissioner
Not a fan
I read Richard Carne’s column of May 4 and tried to discern if there was a point buried in the vituperation and sarcasm. Alas, no coherent point or argument was to be found. If you have a point to make, make it. If you have an argument to present, present it. Dispense with the sarcasm. Ad hominem attacks have no place in civilized discourse and are a cowardly and intellectually vapid way to attempt to make a point.