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UP THE SLIPPERY SLOPE

A DENVER COUNCILMAN QUESTIONS THE WINTER PARK LAND GIVEAWAY. THE MAYOR'S OFFICE WANTS TO EDUCATE HIM.

The Arlberg Club has long enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with the WPRA: Several members of the resort board are Arlbergers, as was the father of WPRA president Jerry Groswold, and the club has entertained Winter Park development plans of its own over the years. However, the tunnel commission's battle with the alpine country club may be moot if it's put out of business by the city.

Tunnel commissioner Dick Rudolph says negotiations are now under way with the WPRA and the city to forge a compromise bill. However, Wallach says the city last week reaffirmed its wish that the commission be shut down as quickly as possible--a position based largely on Denver's desire to get its hands on the tunnel board's bank account. Under Denver's bill, which has met little resistance in the House, the commission would dissolve immediately, and counties in the Moffat Tunnel Improvement District would divvy up its assets. Because Denver taxpayers paid roughly 90 percent of the cost of the tunnel, the city would stand to collect about $630,000.

Tunnel commissioner Edward J. "Jake" Jakubowski Jr., the most ardent defender of his agency, says the city is simply making a grab for quick money. "If you had just built DIA, wouldn't you be looking for new sources of revenue?" asks Jakubowski, who outraged Winter Park officials last year when he suggested that the commission might want to develop a retail complex of its own at the ski area.

The tunnel bills are on hold for now, and they probably won't be taken up again until mid-February. And though the commission survived an attempt by the city and Winter Park to shut it down last year, a new round of infighting has apparently crushed any hope of the panel presenting a unified front at the legislature. Longtime commissioner Walter O. Cass, who played a key role in the commission's activist stance in recent years, is backing the city bill, while the four other members are split over Rudolph's vision of an orderly retreat and Jakubowski's wish to keep fighting.

"I feel like I'm back in the Sixties," says Jakubowski. "What they're trying to do is have a love-in so it will be easy for the legislature to do away with us.

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