OFF LIMITS

Hi-ho, Silverado! If you've got a great big new airport and no business around it, who're you gonna call? Paging Bill Pauls. Recent media accounts of Pauls's planned purchase of a huge chunk of land around I-70 and Pena Boulevard hailed him as a captain of industry. Those stories neglected to point out, though, that Pauls's road to Denver actually started in London in the Seventies, when he and fellow Canadian John Dick, clad in mink overcoats instead of the more proper pinstripes, were known in Britain's financial district as a wheelin'-and-dealin' "dark duo." They grabbed hold of European Ferries Ltd. and eventually latched onto the Denver Tech Center.

Dick is currently in exile on the Isle of Jersey after a very public divorce case. (Dick's ex-wife accused him of helping former chamber of commerce president and Silverado defaultee Bill Walters stash $20 million.) Dick's old partner Pauls manages to keep out of the news, except for an occasional splash on the society pages. But back in '87, when Walters was busily selling off his Denver properties prior to skedaddling out of town, Pauls paid him $30 million for the downtown Boston Building. Pauls defaulted on the property; last year the building sold for $5 million. Pauls also bought Walters's Cherry Hills Village mansion. And according to testimony at Walters's California bankruptcy trial, while pleading poverty he was receiving $10,000 a month in "management fees" from a company called W.P. Development and owned by Pauls.

Not content with bailing out S&L scofflaws, last year Pauls tried to rescue the people of Colorado. He and his wife contributed at least $76,000 of the $110,000 war chest behind Amendment 16, the religious right's unsuccessful antiporn measure. In keeping with his private nature, Pauls refused to tell the public why he wanted to interfere with their privacy.

Tunnel vision: The Denver Post's Penelope Purdy thinks DIA's underground trains are a "hoot," as she wrote Saturday. Travelers actually using the trains, though, apply far nastier nouns. This weekend the cars were jammed, jammed, jammed, and even the soothing recorded voices of Pete Smythe and Reynelda Muse couldn't calm the crowds (particularly when quickly closing doors threatened to separate parents from their children--not to mention their own arms). Our farflung correspondents reported long waits at noon Saturday, 10:30 a.m. Sunday (six trains' worth) and 5:30 p.m. Sunday, and then the ride was a one-way ticket to Claustrophobiaville.

DIA officials can no longer blame the press on the visiting press; these were folks getting off United planes. Aviation manager Jim DeLong has said that more cars are on the way--the trains are already one car larger than originally planned--but the first won't be here for at least a year. In the meantime, everyone has plenty of time to wonder: Couldn't some traffic engineer have predicted this crush?

The love bug: In last Tuesday's "A Man's Point of View," Rocky Mountain News columnist Curtis Eichelberger recounted his reaction when a date revealed she'd had 22 lovers. "I almost swallowed my tongue," the stunned writer confessed. Swallowing hers was no longer a possibility; Eichelberger decided he wasn't interested in becoming number 23. He was interested, however, in getting readers' opinions on the burning issue of "How many lovers are too many?" That query prompted a nosy Newsie to ask Eichelberger how many notches he had in his bedpost, since he'd neglected to print his own score. The answer: less than 22, but in the double digits. Is he using both hands to count?

 
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