Slots of luck: Evie Dennis hit the jackpot when she resigned as superintendent of Denver Public Schools: In a secret deal, the school board awarded her a $400-a-month stipend for life. "I know I needed some compensation like other people," Dennis told reporters when word of her whoopee cushion leaked out. A 28-year veteran of DPS, Dennis was earning $120,000 when she retired, and before the board so thoughtfully padded the package, she was already eligible for an annual $69,572 in retirement pay.
Since she left the school system in August 1994, Dennis's luck apparently has held. A current promo piece for Central City's Teller House casino features May's "hot slots," with two pix of the former superintendent, identified only as "Evie"--one taken when she won $1,140, and the next when her machine paid out $1,200.
Dennis's daughter, Pia Smith, is also back in the money. On the same day in June 1990 that Dennis, then deputy superintendent, was given her promotion, Smith was named principal of East High, the school she'd graduated from in 1970. In May 1995 Smith was placed on four years' probation after pleading guilty to embezzlement and misconduct for what, if you're grading on an extremely generous curve, had been very sloppy bookkeeping at East High. "If they had asked me if I had assassinated Abraham Lincoln, I would have said yes," Smith said after she'd reached an agreement with the Denver District Attorney's office. She resigned her DPS post shortly thereafter.
Smith now has a new full-time job as education director for the Denver Botanic Gardens. Although the facility is a city agency, its staffers are not considered city employees, and their salaries are not public. But Smith, who was earning $66,000 when she left East, should find that her new paycheck comes in handy in paying off the $3,760 restitution she was ordered to make to her alma mater.
Lamm to the slaughter: In one of his set pieces, "Futurizing America's Institutions," Reform Party candidate Dick Lamm notes that the current tax structure will pay for only four federal programs in 2020, "when my children are mid-career."
Actually, one of those kids is mid-career right now, and it's Dad's fault. Heather Lamm, the subject of a current New Yorker piece, was planning to attend business school this fall but may postpone it so she can help out with her father's campaign: "I mean, how can I concentrate on accounting classes when he's out leading a crusade?"
The 25-year-old Heather has done some crusading of her own, particularly as a boardmember of Third Millennium, an advocacy group for people in their twenties. As such, the New Yorker reports, "a year ago she was quoted as saying that she didn't 'know what crazy individual is willing to take the elderly on, when they vote and young people don't.' Now, at least, she does."
A national publication has yet to profile the second Lamm child, Scott. But while his family occupied the governor's mansion, Scott occasionally made the news for taking potshots with his BB gun and hosting wild-and-crazy parties.
No bull: Hordes of hoi polloi (train nuts) and the hoity-toity (special invited guests) streamed onto the Denver Post train Saturday and headed to Cheyenne Frontier Days, where the rodeo featured some real moovers-and-shakers: bulls named for printer Barry Hirschfeld and publisher Dean Singleton, better known for bucking unions than cowpokes.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Westword's biggest stories.