When Mr. Schlegel's predecessor,
Rattlesnake Fire Chief Dale Goetz, began
running for Commissioner in 2006, he
turned the Fire Chief's job over to Jeff
Buckley in order to avoid any real or
perceived conflict of interest. Mr. Schlegel's
colleague, John Shipper, did not announce
his candidacy for Commissioner until after
the sales tax for roads, which he supported,
was passed. Both men were well aware of
the issue of conflict of interest.
We urge Commissioner Schlegel to resign
from either the Elbert County Board of
County Commissioners, and/or the Board of
Directors of the Elkhorn Ranch Metropolitan
District #1, immediately to avoid a conflict of
interest. His current service on both
governmental bodies could lead to
conflicting interests in any number of
transactions; leading to financial
remuneration, insider dealing, insider
information, and possible graft. We do not
know if acting County Attorney Kevin Burke
has recommended this move, but hope he
A Metropolitan District is by law allowed to
tax, improve and maintain streets, buy
water, supervise and direct sanitation, build
and maintain parks and rec centers, control
traffic, provide public transportation, take
care of antennas for TV relay and other
services, and participate in mosquito
control. So can a Board of County
Let's take an instance: Elkhorn right now
buys its water from Arapahoe County Water
and Wastewater Authority at a certain rate.
If a new water entity, Elbert and Highway
86, can sell water at a cheaper rate to
Elkhorn, Elkhorn might buy it. Who
wouldn't? Who helped approve the Elbert
and Highway 86 Water Entity? The Board of
County Commissioners, of course! Who is
on both the BOCC and the Elkhorn Ranch
Metropolitan District #1 Board?
Much like insider-trading, the inappropriate
back and forth flow of information or
opportunities for taking self enriching
action is inevitable. So too will be the legal
actions taken against all parties involved.
Either Mr. Schlegel did not understand the
connection when he stated that he had "no
conflict of interest" on his two public
boards, or Mr. Schlegel is being devious.
He pointed out, on July 13th, that Mrs.
Duvall was not accurate in her portrayal of
his serving on a "water board," and
requested that she retract her statements
regarding his service. Mrs. Duvall's only
mistake was in her wording. The Elkhorn
Ranch Metropolitan District #1 controls
water for the subdivision.
The same thing could occur with a new
road builder who wants to waive a fee
before the BOCC; with regulations
concerning transmitter towers; with
expansion on Road 186 in the valley where
Elkhorn is located; with new County
construction of a library or other public
building; even with a County-wide
campaign to eradicate mosquitoes.
Although Mr. Schlegel's work experience
has been entirely for governmental entities:
he was in the armed forces, then was an
employee of Aurora Fire, then consulted
regarding emergency services for public
entities, such as Aurora Fire; he must have
a concept of what conflict of interest means
and should therefore act.
The information above is taken, in large
part, from the website of Miller and
Associates, Law Offices, LLC, Denver,
Colorado. They represent both the Elkhorn
Ranch Metropolitan District #1 and the
Elbert and Highway 86 Commercial Metro
District. So they share a lawyer; so what?
Outside of Washington, D.C. and San
Francisco, Denver has the most lawyers per
square inch. In a town rich in lawyers, why
do they have the same one? It's probably
just really convenient for someone
Lawyers, in the best interests of their
clients, are bound to give their clients the
best advice they can. If Miller and
Associates know of a completely legal deal
between an enterprising water district and
an enterprising Metropolitan District, they
will certainly divulge the information: that's
their job. Right?
Are Mr. Schwab and Mr. Shipper
comfortable with a colleague whose actions
could be questioned so intently? Do all
three want the potential legal headaches
that will follow?
By The Editors
Avoid Conflict Of Interest, Real Or Imagined, Mr. Schlegel!