Guest Columns

GALLAGHER: WHAT ABOUT HISTORICAL HERITAGE AND WELFARE OF DENVER TAXPAYERS?

Stock Show should not be sold down the river because of Gaylord’s over-arching greed

GUEST COLUMNIST

I will oppose any move of the National Western Stock Show that will damage the City and County of Denver, its citizens and taxpayers, downtown business, our Convention Center and/or the Denver Coliseum. As Auditor I will continue to protect the interests of Denver and its citizens and I will fight any move by the National Western that has a negative impact on them. It will not happen on my watch!

I am very concerned that there is a push to precipitously make a move, any move, without regard to the consequences. I am very concerned that other potentially viable options to a move to Aurora are not being explored. I am very concerned that the ‘stock show horses’ are operating with blinders on — that there only seems to be one ‘view’ for the future and that is to move to Aurora.

And let me say this with regard to the notion of regional cooperation: when there was a viable plan to build the Gaylord complex in Commerce City and relocate the Stock Show to adjacent land in Denver — a deal that would benefit Commerce City and keep the Stock Show in Denver — it was nixed in favor of the site in Aurora in order to provide even more monetary benefit to Gaylord in order to line the pockets of a large corporation with even more taxpayer dollars. Regional cooperation didn’t seem to be so important when it was Commerce City.

Do I sound angry? You’re damn right I am. I refuse to see our city, our downtown business, our convention center, our historical heritage and the welfare of Denver taxpayers sold down the river because of over-arching greed.

Before I agree to any move, I will be assured that the move is not detrimental to Denver and that all other options have been fully explored and legitimately and justifiably proven unworkable.

Moreover, I also need to be convinced that any move is actually necessary. I need to be persuaded that remaining at their present location, with or without the acquisition of additional land is untenable; that they cannot be profitable and have not been profitable.

To that end, and because they have failed to ever provide me with their annual financial reports — as mandated by contract — I intend to examine their books and past financial statements and if necessary consult with their CPA firm to determine exactly what their financial situation is and has been. I will also evaluate whether they have been in compliance with the contract regarding maintenance and improvements to the city’s property.

As I said before, it seems to me that there is a headlong rush to move to one specific location and all other options are being ignored.

I believe there are at least three options — there may be others — that could keep the Stock Show in Denver and provide for its future viability. These options would expand on property already used by the Stock Show and allow the continued use of the Coliseum.

Option A and Option B involve land south of the Coliseum generally along Brighton Blvd. Option C involves land adjacent to and north of the Coliseum, generally along National Western Drive and Brighton Blvd.
I am not proposing any particular option, I just know that there are options, one or more of which may be workable. And of course, it may be that they are not feasible. But we don’t know that yet. And there may be other options that need to be explored.

Every option needs to be thoroughly evaluated by competent, independent professionals for their viability and fully vetted to the public and elected leadership of Denver before any decision should be made about the future of the Denver National Western Stock Show.

Unless and until that happens I will vigorously oppose any relocation.

If necessary I will oppose it at the ballot box, in the precincts and in every corner of the city.
If it is not good for Denver it will not happen on my watch!

Dennis Gallagher is the auditor for the City and County of Denver.