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OFF LIMITS

The tapeworm has turned: A tip-top secret tape making the rounds these days promises "the truth" about all the deal-making behind Denver International Airport. Pop it into the VCR, though, and what do you get? "Corruption in High Places," a 56-minute quasi-talk show starring Stew Webb, January 1993 Westword cover boy and conspiracy theorist extraordinaire. In a variation on his standard theme, Webb (no relation to Mayor Wellington--even this conspiracy doesn't stretch that far) promises to tell all about everything from the S&L debacle to corruption at HUD to Iran-Contra gun-running to "fraud and bribery involving the new Denver airport," tying together everyone from Henry Kissinger to Neil Bush to Webb's former father-in-law to yes, Westword itself. Pointing to a six-year-old story about one of young Bush's ventures, Webb announces that after the article was published, its author, Brian Gaffney, couldn't get a job in the news media and "is now waiting tables in Aspen, Colorado...another whistleblower reporter who was hammered."

Close, but no cigar, Stew. Gaffney, now a KUSA-TV producer for Paula Woodward, actually wrote the profile of you for Westword. The author of the Bush piece was Bryan Abas, who is indeed up in Aspen--working as a reporter for the Aspen Daily News. (And, in fact, Abas is cutting such a wide journalistic swath through the mountain town that he was the subject of an April 1 story in his own paper, detailing a mythical attack on "Brian Abias" that landed the reporter in the hospital--where officials refused him treatment. According to the April Fool's spoof, the Pitkin County sheriff's long list of suspects in the incident was actually a copy of the Aspen phone book; his "shorter list is a phone book with the names of people crossed out who have moved out of state.")

Webb, who spent a significant amount of last year in the federal detention facility in Littleton after making harassing phone calls to his former father-in-law, is selling copies of the video for $25; he's also pitching membership in Guardians of American Liberties, dedicated to "ridding ourselves of the New World Order." Pssst! The group meets in Denver this Sunday.

Conspiracy or coincidence? You decide: While Denver officials insist they will stand firm against the Winter Park Resort Association, refusing to approve a land swap with the U.S. Forest Service unless and until the WPRA agrees to pay the city more money for the Denver-owned facility, a computerized skier survey recently appeared at the mountain's Sunspot Lodge. After asking such basics as age and address, the survey gets down to business: If "ski-in, ski-out" condos were built at the base (such construction would be possible only if the swap is made), just how big a unit would the skier want to buy?

Someone got carried away: Understatement of the decade goes to the copywriter who, in describing DIA's far-from-flawless baggage system in the just-released "Official Souvenir Program" for DIA, came up with this doozy: Passengers "will be pleasantly surprised to find their bags waiting for them at the terminal."

You and us both, pal.

 
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