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Fight to the Finish

The Moffat Tunnel Commission goes out kicking and screaming.

The resolution's failure means Romer's commissioners will get a chance to serve, probably beginning with an organizational meeting January 13. And the new commissioners will inherit a few pieces of old business. They'll have to decide what to do about the lawsuit against Denver, which is still pending in Adams County District Court. That legal action, which prompted a countersuit by Denver, is a tug-of-war over roughly $2 million that the commission received from the WPRA to settle its lawsuit against the ski area.

The new commission also will have to determine the fate of the tunnels, which were put up for sale by the outgoing board. Under the legislation, the railroad and the water board have the first right of refusal on any offer, and they're expected to end up each owning a tunnel. If they choose not to buy them, another bidder could conceivably wind up with the properties. But that's considered unlikely, since the tunnels are encumbered by long-term leases to the current tenants. If nobody buys the tunnels by the time the new commission sunsets in February 1998, Smith's agency will manage them.

The departing commissioners, meanwhile, remain unapologetic. Cass says he believes the commission fought the good fight, though he suggests he may be "put on blocks and hung outside Union Station" for the trouble he caused Mayor Wellington Webb. Jakubowski says he's embarrassed by his failure to pass the suicide resolution at the final meeting. But he acknowledges that, compared with some of the commission's past exploits--which included Cass's threat to build a Taco Bell on tunnel land at Winter Park just to irk resort boss Jerry Groswold--the last hurrah wasn't all that strange.

"It's no more bizarre than the last six years, actually," says Jakubowski. "I don't know why I'm surprised."

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