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Off Limits

Dialing for dolours.

The tax man recently came knocking at state treasurer Mike Coffman's door after the Republican businessman failed to pay the quarterly withholding taxes for his company, Colorado Property Management Group Inc. Embarrassed by the snafu, Coffman says he hadn't been keeping abreast of the day-to-day business -- which he used to help back up his business credentials when he ran for the office in 1998 -- and didn't find out that the company was late until a couple of weeks ago. "I'm very disappointed," he adds.

The Colorado Department of Revenue is responsible for the collection of taxes. And the state treasurer is responsible for managing and investing those taxes.

Tory Brown, a certified public accountant who handles the books for Coffman's firm, says Coffman shelled out approximately $5,000 from his own pocket to cover the tax bill, which was about ten to twelve days late. Several employees were "afraid to tell Mike they had a short-term cash-flow problem," he explains. "They all liked Mike, and they didn't want to tell him. When he found out, he immediately put in the money to pay the taxes."

Coffman founded Colorado Property Management Group, which manages Denver-area residential communities, ten years ago. After his election to state treasurer two years ago, though, he says he began thinking about selling the company. And in fact, on August 8, the firm was finally sold to an undisclosed buyer.

How convenient.


A-dressing a problem: Catholic Charities, sponsor of Capitol Hill's Samaritan House homeless shelter, has also been dealing with money matters, as it recently began a $1 million renovation job. Despite the changes, though, the organization is keeping at least one structural pillar intact: its policy on sheltering individuals who are transgendered -- a term that includes transvestites, transsexuals and everything in between.

The shelter, which opened in 1992, is partitioned into male and female dorms that house an average of 350 heads each night. The problem lies in what's a few feet below those heads -- say, if someone is seeking shelter, but fails to fall into either gender distinction. "If a man comes in with a full beard and says he is transgender, then we would be foolhardy to place him in the woman's dorm," says Jim Mauck, president of Catholic Charities.

To solve the conundrum, two years ago shelter administrators began giving transgendered clients -- at least those who identified themselves as such -- vouchers to spend the night in nearby motels or transitional apartments. Since the policy began, Mauck estimates, there have been "upward of 25 such instances."

So far, he adds, he hasn't heard of any clients lying about their gender to get out of the shelter and into a cozy motel. "It can be a tough environment out there," he says. "But I think this [policy] keeps everyone happy."

And it keeps them waking up on the right side of the bed -- whichever side that may be.

 
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