The city sells about 300 cars a month at auction, with an average take of about $278 per car, rather than the $3,600 the squad car brought in. And Denver also sends between 80 and 100 cars to the crusher each month, Enriquez points out. The city nets only $73 for each crushed car.
Samuel says he realizes that "even cities need a cash flow." He'd just rather see the money flowing from somewhere other than his seven acres on Brighton Boulevard.
"If they moved it out to Stapleton, they'd have unlimited space to expand, and everything on one site," he says. "The traffic is easier, the security is ten times greater."
Although the city has yet to make an offer on O'Brien's land, impound officials say they're serious about expanding the impound lot. So while O'Brien waits for a bid, Samuel is trying to improve the property. He's already begun work on a large chunk of landscaping in the middle of his paintball junkyard, complete with flowers and several small "ponds," as he calls them.
"If they can prove land was greatly enhanced, it would be a benefit to him," says O'Brien.
Right now, that's about as much as Samuel can hope for. Although he'd rather stay put, he says, "the only way we can have a remote chance of winning is to talk them out of it."
And if he loses?
His confidence is suddenly restored.
"You fight 'em," he says. "You don't lose. You attack 'em in another direction.