Off Limits

No-tell hotel: Fred Kummer, owner of the Adam's Mark, got slammed by a federal magistrate for discriminating against employees at his St. Louis hotel; knocked down the I.M. Pei-designed hyperbolic paraboloid on the 16th Street Mall; gave Denver those odd, alien ballet dancers as a consolation prize; and is in the middle of an ugly dispute over allegedly stiffing subcontractors who worked on his hotel makeover, which received a $25 million subsidy from the Denver Urban Renewal Authority. So naturally, the city's about to send more business Kummer's way.

Since 1992, Denver has rented 21,245 square feet on the top floor of the original portion of the hotel, where it's stashed five Denver County courtrooms and assorted offices. Now Denver may move a sixth court over there: the environmental court, currently located in the basement of City Hall in what court administrator Matthew McConville terms the "least environmentally pleasant" space in the bursting-at-the-seams building.

McConville would like to see murder cases moved into that cramped basement area, once home to Denver's small claims court (apparently very small claims). As it is, murder suspects wind up in courtroom 108--with windows that face West Colfax Avenue, which pose a security risk--and are arraigned in the presiding judge's chambers.

Although the move was set for January 1, city council is still tweaking some of the details, which call for upping the $292,359 the city already pays Kummer each year. At a meeting two weeks ago, a few councilmembers objected to the deal, citing the subcontractors' dispute with Kummer's company, HBE. But Susan Barnes-Gelt, certainly no fan of Kummer's, says she had "no choice" but to approve the move. "The courts are so constrained in this building," she explains, "that my concern for the needs of the people here overtakes even my hostility to Fred Kummer."

When you lie down with dogs, you get lease.

First wives' club: Dottie Lamm does not want the 1998 Senate race to concentrate on the Denver Post columns she wrote over sixteen years--as Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell's operatives have suggested it will. And who can blame her? Much of their content, particularly in the early days, focused not on sticky political issues, but on treacly discussions of Lamm's role as a political wife: "A part of me seems to be dying, as I father, mother, organize and campaign--and at such a pace! I am successful, but there is no emotional space for me." But there was space in the Post for Colorado's First Lady's touchy-feely musings, which ultimately turned into Lamm's book, Second Banana. And Dottie wasn't talking about international agronomy.

A would-be first lady, Joyce Schuck, lamented the political spouse's lot in her 1991 book, Political Wives, Veiled Lives. Between journal entries dating from Steve Schuck's 1986 campaign for the Republican nomination for governor of Colorado, Joyce Schuck included interviews with wives of more successful candidates. (Steve Schuck lost the primary by 2,000 votes.) Linda Campbell, wife of then-representative, then-Democrat Ben Nighthorse Campbell, was unusually forthright in describing her distaste for political races. She "totally hated the campaign," she told Schuck, and kept a low profile. But since a woman is now challenging her husband, you can bet the consultants will be urging Linda Campbell to increase her visibility over the next year.

And the woman who's challenging Campbell? Years ago Dottie Lamm told Schuck she'd thought about running for office herself, "but probably not, especially since I'm trying to get the family out of politics."

She'd better hope she's a more effective campaigner. After Dottie Lamm uttered those words, Dick Lamm ran for the Senate in 1992 (losing to Ben Nighthorse Campbell in the primary), and last year he made a bid to get the presidential nomination from Ross Perot's party. (Dottie kept her Democratic affiliation.) The Lamms' daughter, Heather, has gained a reputation among the next generation of political activists. And although no Lamm has been in public office since 1986, Dick and Dottie still managed to pull in almost $450,000 in writing and speaking fees over the past two years, according to the Lamm campaign's recent filing.

As for Joyce Schuck, she's now in private life--and copies of her book were given away free at the Rocky Mountain Book Festival in Denver earlier this month.

Law and odor: In late September, cabdriver Daniel King was popped for illegally leafletting while handing out rabble-rousing fliers to fellow cabbies at DIA's holding area. But he's not the only driver concerned that proposed fare increases at the airport will cut back on cabbies' business--and they've got their engines revving for the next DIA taxicab meeting, slated for November 20 in the airport's holding-lot conference room. At the September 25 meeting--the third held jointly by Denver, the Public Utilities Commission and cab-company officials--cabbies were stunned to learn that the committee was proposing a new, fixed fare to downtown and the Denver Tech Center of $43, up $8 from the $35 now quoted by a few of the town's five cab companies. Although that price hike didn't make the Taxi Newsletter put out by DIA's Ground Transportation Department, it was noted in both a Yellow Cab newsletter and a September 26 memo from Colorado Transportation Services to its cabbies, which said the meeting "went well" and listed the new prices. But then, those prices reflect a $10 increase in the current CTS fare.

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