The City of Loveland is supposed to take the first step in purchasing the Larimer County building this week while in-turn “selling” it to Rocky Turner’s longtime Loveland construction firm by approving a sale for $732,000 in one hand while giving him a $750,000 check in the other. One snag, as written and approved by a unanimous council vote on Election Day, the deal is in violation of both the URA rules and state law. Anti-corruption measures which require real property only be disposed of by “competitive bidding” in both state statutes and URA governing documents appear to have been ignored by our city’s staff and elected officials who worked on the exclusive transaction for the past year.
Credit for raising this issue goes to new Loveland Mayor Jacki Marsh whose questions regarding the legality of the exclusive land give-away are available to any citizen who accesses the city council email via the city’s website. Last week Marsh wrote an email to the city’s legal team questioning why the URA’s own governing rules and state law were not being respected in this transaction. Absent any evidence the deal was legal, she was unwilling to go along and sign the transaction documents.
The bigger question is why do citizens of Loveland need to rely on a noisy and isolated mayor and state anti-corruption laws to protect their interests? What about the staff and their eight members of the City Council who appear ready to do whatever they are told? Especially troubling is City Economic Director Kelly Peters-Jones sitting on the board of LBP which solicits money for access to economic development decision makers.
In a last minute attempt to avoid a truly competitive bid, city attorney Clay Douglas sent an email tonight to Loveland’s City Council asserting City Manager Steve Adams has the authority to change the illegal resolution by conducting a bid process without having to refer the matter back to council. Incredibly, Douglas mentions new dates for the agreement with LPR Construction presupposing no other buyer will respond to the legally mandated “competitive” bid.
Does anyone else care the city just tried to give away a $1 million building to a city insider in complete violation of the law?