Maes picks former Democrat, Trial Lawyers Association member for LG
Tambor Williams is running mate. …And what about Ted Harvey, Tom T.’s choice to replace Maes?
Tambor Williams is running mate. …And what about Ted Harvey, Tom T.’s choice to replace Maes?
By Jody Hope Strogoff
THE COLORADO STATESMAN
We admit the headline over this week’s column might be a tad on the sensational side, but it is also true.
Tambor Williams, selected by Republican Party gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes this week to be his running mate, is indeed a former Democrat and at one time was a member of the more politically liberal Trial Lawyers Association in Colorado.
And state Sen. Ted Harvey? Throw him into the mix, as well! He’s who Tom Tancredo was pushing to replace Maes in his latest offer.
But you’ll have to read through this column before we divulge all the particulars. Hopefully that won’t be too much of a strain, as we’re still staying with the subject of the governor’s race. And is this not an entertaining topic, or what! Anyone with even a sliver of a sense of humor has to be chuckling over the latest developments on the Republican side.
Either that or crying.
I’m sure, for instance, that GOP State Chairman Dick Wadhams isn’t necessarily grinning from ear to ear with the cheery prospects of his party taking over the governor’s office after the November elections. He’s probably tearing up whenever he ponders what might have been a few short months ago. You remember, when likely GOP nominee Scott McInnis hadn’t yet been outed as a plagiarist and was even ahead of Democrat John Hickenlooper in some of the polls.
But that was then, and this is now. Maes is the duly elected Republican Party nominee for governor, and not even a second offer proffered this week by American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo for both of them to withdraw from the race got any serious consideration.
Actually, as we now know from a press release this week from Wadhams, he himself was the go-between for Tancredo’s proposal that would have the former congressman and nominee Maes dropping out of the race so the GOP could annoint — excuse me, appoint — a more formidable candidate to square off against Hickenlooper in the general election.
“I felt it was my responsibility as state chairman to inform Dan of this offer since it held open the possibility of eliminating the current three-way race that gives the Democratic candidate a huge advantage,” Wadhams explained in his release.
“Dan indicated he would remain in the race. I respect and appreciate both Tom’s offer and Dan’s response. I continue to support Dan Maes for governor of Colorado,” Wadhams said.
Well, give credit to Wadhams for agreeing to support the nominee of his own political party, and also to serve as the emissary to Maes. But did he really expect a different response from Maes?
On primary election night, we asked Maes ourselves whether he might be enticed to drop out of the governor’s race for any possible reason.
No, Maes said clearly.
We pushed it.
What, for example, if someone offered him a high-paying job in exchange for dropping out of the race? It’s been reported, afterall, that he has made less money some years than the federal poverty level figure. Would he consider?
No, Maes responded. “That would be called a bribe, I believe. And I think the salary for governor is just fine.”
We can’t say we were surprised in the least that Maes shunned the latest Tancredo-via-Wadhams proposal.
And what, exactly, were the details of this most recent offer by Tancredo? Were he and Maes just supposed to slink away and allow a vacancy committee to select a candidate? What would Tancredo get out of it? What incentive was there for Maes to withdraw?
And come to think of it, after that now infamous and explosive blow-up between Wadhams and Tancredo a few weeks ago on the Caplis & Silverman radio show, we were wondering how Wadhams and Tancredo ever got back to the point of talking to each other, nevermind hatching out some new deal.
Well, lucky us. Just as we were about to go to press on Thursday, the “Tanc” himself poked his head into The Statesman office and was in a chatty, if somewhat rushed, mode. But if he thought he would escape without filling us in on the latest goings-on, he should have known better.
We fired away. He answered.
“I know Dick, God love him, I don’t fault him. When he calls me the day before yesterday he tells me he’s talked to Maes and he’s not going to get out.
“Before that we had these —maybe five — long discussions about the whole thing which started last weekend. I had heard that Dick had had a sort of ‘Come to Jesus’ meeting with Maes on Thursday and said to him, you can’t win this thing, you got no money, the RGA is walking away. And so I thought well, you know, let’s capitalize on that. And if the party is telling him that, then if I say by the way, if the party tells you this, I’ll get out if you get out…
“I made this offer to Dick and he liked it — a lot.
“I don’t know if he was just trying to flim flam me, maybe that was part of it, where he wanted to be involved and do this so I look weak and that sort of thing, but I guarantee you he was enthusiastic about it, at least at first.”
Tancredo continued, saying that Wadhams told him he could probably get former U.S. Senators Hank Brown and Wayne Allard aboard to support the plan.
“…I called Dick and said are you sure you talked to them, and he said he did. He says he called them and they said they would support Maes getting out.
“There were two or three things I asked for,” Tancredo revealed.
“First thing it has to be made public.
“Number two, we must have some sort of veto power over who you pick to replace him. I don’t want to have just another liberal. He agreed, he did.
“We talked about who, and I came in with a name. I said Ted Harvey. That’s the guy I would pick. He said okay, I like that, I like that a lot.
“Dick said a very important big businessman had called him, he didn’t tell me who (it wasn’t real estate tycoon Dave Liniger) but he said he was fed up with all this crap going on and said he wanted to get in the race…
“So this was progressing over the weekend. Calls back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.
“And one was, I just saw that Brown and Allard have endorsed Maes. Are you telling me they’d be willing to now say to him, get out?
“Maes called them and they had to (endorse him),” Dick said.
“The next day (Dick) called me and said he was going to be subdued. I totally understand that. What was he going to say, I’m the chairman of the party and I’m telling some guy to get out who has just won the election?
“What he said was, had there been any wiggle room, then the guys (Brown and Allard) would have intervened (with Maes) and said yeah, you should do this.”
Which brings us to Tancredo himself. Is he planning on staying in the race now that Maes is still in?
“Yes maam, we’re raising money, or trying to,” he said.
“This is the hardest part. If we don’t raise enough money to be credible, then this has been a lot of effort.”
The candidate estimated it will take between $500,000 and three quarters of a million dollars to run a bare minimum campaign.
“But at least I don’t have to buy a million dollars worth of name id,” Tancredo said.
Then he returned to the subject of Maes’ candidacy for governor.
“I have a better chance of winning in a three-way than Maes does in a two-way.
“I really believe with all my heart that Dan Maes should never be the candidate. It’s not that he just can’t win — he shouldn’t win. It isn’t as if you can go, well, he’s the Republican candidate, he’s a little soft on this, a little too hard on that, whatever… he could be governor! I certainly don’t want Hickenlooper but I believe in the end that (there would be) a wipeout.
“I really think I have done everything I can possibly do,” Tancredo summed up.
“I supported every Republican. Josh Penry. He got out. I supported Scott McInnis until all hell broke loose and everything fell apart. I have done everything the party has asked me to do in support of these candidates, but sometimes the party asks too much… Asking me to support Dan Maes is too much. I can’t do it.”
Now, about the headline that accompanies this column and our initial mention of Tambor Williams. She was a Democrat, albeit just for awhile. “There was a year in my life when my partner was running for sheriff as a Democrat,” Williams told us as she was about to begin her first term in the state House back in 1997.
“I changed parties to help him out. We lost. I’ve been a Republican all my life except for that year.”
And a member of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association.
Yes. Also in our freshman profile of Williams, she listed the organization along with a half dozen others when asked which clubs and organizations she belonged to.
Maes doesn’t remember if Poundstone’s cash was a gift or a contribution
By Karen Crummy
Denver Post Staff Writer
Republican Dan Maes. (Andy Cross/The Denver Post)
Hours after denying that a former supporter gave him a cash gift to help make mortgage payments, Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes said he now doesn’t remember if $300 given to him by Freda Poundstone was a campaign contribution or to help with his mortgage or other family matters.
“Honestly, I don’t remember, George. She gave a $300 contribution and it was done under my request to say ‘hey we need funds to move forward’ and that was the agreement it was taken under,” Maes said near the close of an interview this morning on the Peter Boyles show on KHOW radio (the interview starts at the 24-minute mark and the comment comes at the 36:45 mark).
“If she wants to read more into it about that we were financially struggling, and I might even made the comment that ‘we’re tight right now, we need every contribution we can get.’ I just don’t remember the conversation that well.”
He also said that he “may have” received financial assistance during his campaign from family members.
Maes, who never reported a $300 contribution from Poundstone in campaign finance filings, has alternatively blamed a former treasurer and new software launched by the Secretary of State’s office for the “squabble.” He characterized the allegations as “annoyances and distractions” and dismissed them as a “publicity stunt” by those opposing his candidacy.
An additional campaign-finance problem for Maes could be that he says Poundstone gave him $300 cash, which would be a violation of campaign finance laws.
(10) No candidate committee, political committee, small donor committee, issue committee, or political party shall accept a contribution, or make an expenditure, in currency or coin exceeding one hundred dollars.
Poundstone is a former Maes supporter who said she voted for Scott McInnis in the Republican primary and now supports Tom Tancredo in his third-party bid for governor.
On Thursday, she told Denver Post reporter Christopher N. Osher that she gave Maes “more than $300″ because he was struggling to pay his mortgage and insisted it was gift, not a campaign contributions. She challenged Maes to take a polygraph with her to settle the issue.
Maes said Poundstone was one of many other people in his campaign who “wanted a seat at the table” and when they didn’t get it,
Republican Maes deflects ‘deceptions’
Maes, money & Primary mania
Maes, money & Primary mania
By Leslie Jorgensen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN
Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes has often promoted himself as a successful businessman who is capable of turning around dying companies — now, his acumen is being questioned by supporters. Their concerns stem from Maes agreeing to pay a $17,500 penalty for campaign finance reporting violations, tax returns that reveal more years of struggle than success and switching positions on illegal immigration and gun rights.
Nearly two dozen supporters hand delivered a letter to the Maes campaign office on Saturday, July 17, that questioned why the candidate had reimbursed himself more than $40,000 for mileage in the past 12 months — at least 25 percent of the campaign funds. The mileage reimbursement was one of several violations cited in a complaint against Maes and his campaign committee filed by attorney Erik Groves on behalf of Christopher Klitzke of Grand Junction that was settled earlier this month.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes with his wife, Karen.
Photo by Leslie Jorgensen/The Colorado Statesman
“We’re further concerned that rather than standing up against these claims, you agreed to pay a fine of $17,500, thereby preventing a judge or the public access to your committee’s financial records and gas log,” stated the letter that the writers had published on the Complete Colorado website.
“Where is YOUR transparency?” asked the authors of the letter who reminded Maes that he’d campaigned on the compelling message of an open and transparent government. They demanded that Maes make public, at the very least, his 2009 tax return filing.
The letter was signed by Hugh J. Campbell, Claudette Campbell, Robert R. Hering, Sharon Layne Kidd, Mary F. Mernah, Richard O’Brien, Jackie O’Brien, Jonathan O’Leary, Mary O’Leary, Lynne Ann Pasion, Philip Pasion, Denis Perron, Margaret Perron, Barbara Piper, Cynthia E. Post, Loretta Ragsdale, Scott A. Rogers, Patty Ross, George Vajda, Sonja Vajda, Katherine Vitale and Richard Vitale.
According to Maes’ campaign finance reports, the individual campaign contributions range from $30 given by Ragsdale to $500 from Claudette Campbell, both of Parker.
During the Caplis & Silverman talk radio show on KHOW Monday, Maes shrugged it off as a stunt. The candidate said one woman had bugged his campaign so much that he plans to refund her contribution so she’ll quit calling headquarters.
Maes, who called the violations “clerical errors,” said that he paid a reduced fine to avoid a legal battle that would detract from campaigning in the final weeks before the Aug. 10 primary. The candidate viewed himself as a victim of a political conspiracy to sabotage his campaign against Republican opponent Scott McInnis, former 3rd District Congressman, who recently became snarled in plagiarism charges.
On July 2, Maes urged his supporters to “stand strong!!” against the campaign finance violations complaint that he called “deception.”
The message was embraced by passionate Maes supporters — and rejected by fence sitters, some of whom began questioning the candidate’s professional history, political positions and qualifications to be governor.
After Maes agreed to pay the campaign violation fine, reduced from potentially $27,000 to $17,500, he issued a press release on July 13 that proclaimed, “Maes Campaign Finance Matter Closed — No Misuse of Funds Occurred.”
“… Groves re-approached Maes’ attorney Steve Jones with a proposal to reduce the fine amount,” stated the campaign press release that called Maes, the “Republican Designee for Governor of Colorado.”
The release said that Maes had agreed to pay fines for improperly reporting an in-kind donation, stating occupations of nine contributors and failing to disclose expenditures in a timely manner.
“Allegations of improper payments to Dan Maes by the campaign account proved untrue,” declared the campaign statement.
Not so, said Groves. The reduced fine included $8,150 and $3,000 for violations listed under the third and fourth claims that addressed undocumented expenditures, including disbursements to the candidate that appeared to be monetary advances.
“I didn’t call them, they called me to negotiate a reduced fine,” said Groves of Maes’ attorneys Ross Pulkrabek and Daniel Wartell of the Jones & Keller law firm. Had Maes contested the complaint, Groves said he would have asked to depose the candidate and others and review the campaign financial records including the mileage log.
“(Maes) labels himself as ‘Republican designee for Governor.’
“Did he win the primary already and I just didn’t get notified?” asked Groves with a laugh.
Donna Jack of Evergreen said she initially was impressed by Maes, but now questions who is deceiving who and called for “truth.” Jack is not alone.
Concerns about the complaint and Maes’ switching positions on key issues, such as illegal immigration, appeared to be addressed in a July 2 e-mail that he sent to supporters.
“The manipulation of facts, bending the truth, and blatant lies will be used to win. Words will be twisted to make you question what you have heard previously. Honest mistakes will be turned into alleged crimes,” asserted Maes on July 2.
Jen Raiffie said that she jumped off the campaign bandwagon because Maes originally said he supported amnesty for illegal immigrants and opposed the e-verify system to identify illegal workers because it was too cumbersome for businesses. Maes later reversed his positions.
“He said that he was never for amnesty… and anyone who says he did is a liar,” said Raiffe, who works for Republican former 6th District Congressman Tom Tancredo, an ardent opponent of amnesty.
Raiffe, who also writes a blog, said that was “untrue” and has continued to discuss Maes’ movement on positions with other conservatives. Perhaps that caused Maes to send a terse e-mail to Raiffe in January.
“Jen, you better have your ducks in a row moving forward. You better speak the truth. You are getting in over your head and being used. There are legal consequences for your actions if they are not truthful. You will get hung out to dry by those who you are looking to for your paycheck.
“I know how smart you are. Don’t let them use you like this. I have copied my attorney on this communication. His name is Steve Jones. If I see one erroneous report about my background, work history, etc. there will be consequences,” signed Dan Maes, “The Peoples Candidate — Re-energizing Colorado’s Economy.”
The message didn’t deter Raiffe, who with others have dispatched e-mails with links to online news articles that quote Maes on the immigration issues. His original positions have been removed from the campaign website.
This week, Maes released portions of his income tax statements filed between 2000 and 2007, through The Constitutionalist Today newspaper based in Colorado Springs. The newspaper has endorsed Maes in the GOP gubernatorial primary.
According to the monthly newspaper, Maes earned about $89,000 a year between 2000 and 2004. His income hovered at roughly $20,000 in 2005 and 2006, and increased to nearly $52,000 in 2007, a time period that corresponds to the establishment of his business, Amaesing Credit Solutions, LLC. Since March 2007, the business has been deemed “delinquent” in filing annual reports with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.
Maes earned $11,000 in 2008, the year that he organized Advantage Credit Bureau of Colorado, LLC, which was formed by transferring 49 percent of the assets from Amaesing Credit Solutions in order to sell the credit company in January. Maes told The Colorado Statesman that he kept 51 percent of the Amaesing Credit Solutions and that a separate company, Amaesing Educational Resources, was formed but never made money.
According to Jordan Maes, the candidate’s daughter and campaign aide, The Constitutionalist Today Publisher Lana Warkocz has handled “all of the media” for the Maes campaign, including radio ads. Warkocz has contributed $540 to the Maes campaign according to the most recent filing. There was no report of an in-kind donation.
“That looks like a conflict of interest,” said Jack. “The truth will prevail.”
Maes did not return multiple calls to The Colorado Statesman for a response.
Maes says complaint is politically motivated
Campaign finance violations are ‘clerical errors’
Campaign finance violations are ‘clerical errors’
Maes accepts $17,500 fine for campaign violations
By Leslie Jorgensen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN
Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes whittled more than $27,000 in fines for campaign finance violations down to $17,500. The agreement was reached last Friday and entered into the court records on Monday – canceling the morning hearing before an administrative law judge.
Under the agreement, the Friends of Dan Maes for Governor committee and Maes are to pay a total of $17,500 in fines to the Secretary of State within 30 days of the Order being signed.
Last week, Maes said that his attorneys were negotiating a deal to either dismiss the complaint or significantly reduce the fines. The Evergreen businessman might have achieved one of those goals – particularly a lower fine – by appearing before the administrative law judge.
That action, however, might have required Maes to produce records of contributions and receipts to validate hefty campaign cash advances to the candidate – more than $43,000 claimed for vehicle mileage since July 2009. The candidate and others might also have been deposed.
Maes said he didn’t want to become embroiled in a lengthy legal battle before the Aug. 10 primary against Republican former 3rd District Congressman Scott McInnis.
“This is an intentional distraction. We are not hiding anything. There have not been any inappropriate reimbursements,” declared Maes. “We admit that we made a couple of clerical errors.”
Maes did not contest the violations in his campaign financial reports filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office in a response on Friday, July 2, from his attorneys Ross Pulkrabek and Daniel Wartell of Jones & Keller, PC. Even the reduced fine is thought to be the largest in state history.
“We didn’t want to pursue this because it would be a drain of our time and our finances,” said Maes. “We just want to move on.”
The candidate said that was the reason why he didn’t challenge the complaint which could have opened the door to a deposition that called for records of expenditures and contributions from individuals, including a high profile lobbyist.
The complaint was filed by attorney Erik Groves on behalf of Christopher Klitzke of Grand Junction in early May. Groves said that Klitzke, who is engaged to the attorney’s paralegal, is an oil field worker on the Western Slope. He is also a student in a college class taught by Groves.
“He is a good old oil field rough neck and citizen,” said Groves.
Klitzke had asked Groves about Maes’ campaign financial records and was informed that a citizen can file a complaint.
Maes described the complaint as a “manipulation of facts, bending of the truth and blatant lies” in an e-mail to key supporters on July 2. The candidate equated it to a political attack in a heated primary race.
“The greatest challenge is when the deception comes from within our own party. Some are becoming desperate and they will use many different means to attack. For us one came in the form of a civil suit from a Grand Junction man, represented by a Grand Junction attorney, who himself was litigated recently for wrong doing in the capitol,” wrote Maes.
“The suit claims we mishandled our campaign contributions and asked for financial damages… This suit is timed to be publicized in conjunction with the primary vote. It is our judgment to agree to the claims, which amount to parking tickets in the grand scheme of things,” he said.
Groves, a former lobbyist, was accused of attempting to influence a legislator in the election of a leader in the state House of Representatives in 2008. The election was cancelled because House Minority Leader Mike May withdrew his resignation and after a hearing, Groves received an advisement letter to abide by House rules of protocol.
Maes said the 2009 fourth quarter campaign finance report was filed late because the campaign’s “contracted treasurer” abruptly quit two days after it was due. A few days later, he said, Andrea Hough, a managing partner in the Denver-based Pinnacle Political Resources, sent an e-mail complaining that the campaign had not paid her for previous work in a timely manner.
Hough confirmed that she sent that e-mail in response to his request that she find someone to prepare the financial reports. She said that last summer Maes had requested her services in an emergency, but she told it him to find someone else to contract. Work that she performed in early October went unpaid until a few days before the 2009 fourth quarter report was due to be filed.
“I told him that I had two other political campaign clients and I could not take on more work,” said Hough. “I filled in temporarily as a favor. I was very upset when he told people that I had joined the campaign — that wasn’t true. We didn’t even have a contract.”
As a finance campaign manager for Republican statewide and congressional candidates now and in the past, Hough said that her job is to maintain all financial records, sign the checks, pay the bills, enter contribution checks, make bank deposits and file the financial reports.
“(Maes) kept total control of the finances. He e-mailed an Excel file of contributions but I never saw the checks. He dropped off an envelop full of receipts mostly for eating out, including Burger King, and expected me to reconcile them against an online bank statement e-mailed by his wife Karen to me. You can’t reconcile anything from that,” said Hough. “I never even saw a mileage log.”
“Those were red flags,” said Hough.
“As a campaign finance manager I have a fiduciary responsibility for the validity of the finance report. It’s a federal offense — or even felony — if anything goes wrong,” declared Hough.
She recalled meeting Maes once for a 10-minute conversation and talking twice on the phone. Maes said they talked almost daily about finances and the reports until early January when he realized that Hough was no longer in the picture.
“I called my daughter Jordan and asked her to get on the phone with the Secretary of State’s office and complete the filing within 48 hours. This 23-year-old did the finest job possible,” said Maes.
There were clerical errors, said Maes, two contributions were classified incorrectly because his daughter had listed the name of a company instead of a person.
Another issue in the complaint is the campaign’s mileage reimbursements to the candidate. Groves said the compensation did not correlate to the candidate’s event schedule published on the campaign Web site.
“According to my cursory calculations, that puts him on the road approximately eight hours a day,” said Groves. “That certainly raises suspicions.”
Maes was compensated $125 on Nov. 16, $1,000 on Nov. 17, $750 on Nov. 20 and $450 on Dec. 10. From Dec. 15 – 30, he received four payments totaling $3,100. In the first quarter of 2010, Maes received a $9,460 mileage reimbursement followed by what appear to be $5,000 advances in February, March and April. The candidate received mileage reimbursements of $4,861 in May and $1,000 and $861 in June.
“Anyone who’s watched our campaign knows the mileage we’ve logged,” declared Maes and estimated that he’s clocked 80,000 miles on his car in the past 16 months of the campaign.
The complaint also questioned duplicate compensations for rent paid to Evergreen Enterprise, LLC that the Secretary of State’s office lists as an entity represented by Barbara Wingate at 30496 Bryant Drive in Evergreen — the same address as Maes’ business registrations.
Maes said that the cited errors all arose from Hough quitting. “It is like dropping your tax information off at the CPA’s office about three days before April 15, and then finding out a couple of days later it was never filed.”
“These are clerical errors,” said Maes, who conceded that he’s been too busy campaigning to file paperwork for a couple of his businesses.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, Maes’ companies Amaesing Education Resources and Amaesing Credit Solutions are “delinquent” in filing annual reports.
He said that Amaesing Education Resources was created when he sold 51 percent of Amaesing Credit solutions, renamed Advantage Credit Bureau of Colorado LLC, to a company in North Dakota. Maes said he needs to file the reports and paperwork to close Amaesing Education Resources, a video production company that never evolved.
“These are clerical errors,” said Maes.
The publicized errors are fodder for the Republican candidate’s critics.
“For someone vying to be the chief executive of this state, the number of issues with campaign finance reports and other business irregularities certainly raise a troubling pattern of behavior,” said Groves.
Maes said that his campaign has spent less money than McInnis, has been staffed by volunteers and family and has thrived on grassroots support.
“We have momentum. According to the most recent filings, our campaign contributions are up 5 percent; McInnis campaign contributions dropped 35 percent,” asserted Maes.
At the end of June, Maes campaign reported $23,229 cash on hand compared to McInnis’ campaign war chest with $522,645 cash on hand.
McInnis campaign Communications Director Sean Duffy smirked and asked, “After paying that fine, where is Maes going to get the money to run campaign ads between now and the primary?”
“That’s a politically motivated comment that gets to heart of this whole problem,” responded Maes. “The whole intent of this complaint was to drain our financial resources just before the primary.”
“This no accident,” declared Maes.