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The 2002 Hall of Shame

Let the blame game begin!

Brooks was happy enough to strip down for Playboy, however, and her lack of other assets was laid bare during a brief gig as a fill-in radio DJ. Her Web site, www.koleenbrooks.com, showcases the tattooed platform of the self-proclaimed "political pinup" (a members-only section promises hotter pictorials) while also trying to raise money for her defense against a felony charge that she tampered with evidence in connection with the assault. Her next hearing in that case is January 6 in Eagle County.

That legal session may help determine if Georgetown burned Brooks -- or if Her Dishonor was just blowing smoke.

Tracy Baker

There's a special spot in the Hall of Shame for the truly shameless, and that's where a bust of Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder Tracy Baker belongs. Baker's affair with Assistant Chief Deputy Lisa Sale gave rise to a complaint that the clerk's office was a hostile working environment, which in turn led to the county commissioners hiring a private investigator to assess the situation. The probe dug up sizzling electronic exchanges between the pair on county equipment, as well as questionable expense-account items and the fact that Baker had bumped his paramour's salary from $22,280 to $63,100.

When commissioners publicly urged Baker to step down before the November election, he maintained that those officials had no business poking their noses into his private business. (The paged messages "are not e-mails, and that's the difference," Baker e-mailed Westword, apparently with a straight face.) The Republican, facing only token Libertarian opposition, easily retained his office, capturing nearly two-thirds of the votes in the GOP stronghold.

Because Baker's an elected official, he can't be fired.

Knowing this, the plucky Baker (did we mention that he's married?) turned the tables, filing notice that he intends to sue both county and state officials for libel and slander because of their investigation into his, er, dealings with his assistant. "I think it's time for me to get my word out," he said, declining to offer any specifics other than his determination not to fire his assistant/lover, regardless of recent revelations that she failed to disclose on her government job application that she'd embezzled more than $25,000 from her previous employer.

"I'm very proud of my staff," Baker told Westword.

And Arapahoe County's very tired of it -- but no recall election can take place until at least six months after Baker's new term begins in January. In the meantime, Adams County District Attorney Bob Grant is looking into possible criminal charges -- including allegations that Baker eavesdropped on commissioners in executive sessions.

Yes, Baker's the hottest topic in political circles right now. But while he may be feeling the heat, he's not about to put himself out.

The Colorado Rockies

Sadly, the entire Rockies organization deserves a good roasting.

Unlike the Denver Nuggets, who seem suspended head-down in quicksand, the Rockies were once a source of civic pride, a measure that Denver had made it into the last outpost of pro sports. With balls sailing out of classy Coors Field, the Blake Street Bombers caught national attention.

But then the Rockies hit the rocks. Slowly, attendance declined in inverse proportion to salaries -- and management did little to overcome the swoon. Instead, in the club's tenth year, they chose to ban backpacks, fire a popular manager mid-season and only too late peddle sour, underachieving gazillionaire Mike Hampton in a deal that may have the team actually paying part of his salary to beat them in the future.

Clearly, general manager "Dealin'" (or is that "Reelin'"?) Dan O'Dowd and owners Jerry McMorris and Charlie and Dick Monfort, should be looking for some relief -- and not just for the pitching staff. But after a much-needed trade of big-salaried Larry Walker fell through, there seems little hope that the current leadership will turn the club around.

Unlike those lovable losers from Chicago, the Cubs, whose wait-till-next-year tradition continues because of generations' worth of loyalties, the Rockies have no reservoir of fan affection into which to tap. Even as water levels drop in reservoirs and aquifers around the state, this team's reserves are being drained. The Rockpile could soon be nothing more than rocks.

If the purple posse leaves town, one word of advice: Don't let the turnstile hit the doughy Dinger in his plush spiked tail.

Joe Nacchio

Eternal, infernal Hall of Shamer Joseph Nacchio may be gone, but he's far from forgotten by the state he left behind -- and the 22,000 former employees and countless investors he left bereft. "I'm very much into my legacy being to build a great company that will be good for my shareholders," the one-time AT&T exec said when he became head of that blue-light special, Qwest. "You do good for customers, good for employees and good for share owners, you ought to be happy."

And when you do bad by all of them, you have to hold your annual meeting a thousand miles away from your hometown headquarters, as Qwest did in June when its execs met in Dublin, Ohio. But that maneuver wasn't enough to save Joltin' Joe, who was finally ousted a few weeks later and slunk back to his big new mansion in New Jersey.

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