Off Limits

The taxman cometh: Twenty years ago, former state senator Ben Klein was sentenced to prison on five counts of income-tax evasion. At the time, he blamed his tax problems on mental illness--which subsequently led to Klein becoming Colorado's first politician to be officially declared sane.

This time, Klein--now chair of the RTD board--blames his problems on tax bills being sent to an incorrect address. The City and County of Denver's list of 1995 delinquent real estate taxes--published in the Denver Post October 6--included nine properties owned by Klein, with back taxes totaling $12,400. "When I found out, I paid them, of course," says Klein. The city treasury got the money Friday. The properties had all "come out of the same trust deed," Klein explains, "and I understood all taxes were paid." And then the bills went to the wrong address...etc., etc., etc.

Sure. Tell it to the judge. Oh, that's right--Klein is one, in Edgewater.

Touched by an angle: A cop is like an angel, according to Denver police officer Brian Charles. They both go from mission to mission to help folks, and they "only get called when people really need us."

Charles was so struck by the connection that he started moonlighting--not as a bouncer (a favorite with some Denver cops), but as a screenwriter. With the help of his two brothers, Charles produced a screenplay about two angels--a good one and a bad one, naturally--fighting for the soul of a police officer. In 1991 Charles started sending the finished product, titled The Final Message, out to Hollywood, but the rejection letters came almost as fast as 911 calls after the bars close on Saturday night. So Charles decided to film it himself. He "hit up Mr. Visa and Mr. MasterCard," he says, found some good-looking local cops to star, and made the movie for $31,500.

The Final Message had its world premiere last Saturday at the Bug (the Denver International Film Festival, which opens this week, turned the movie down), where a crowd of independent-film buffs and fellow cops applauded Charles's efforts--and other things. "All you nasty people came to see me naked," said cop-cum-bad-angel Tyrone Campbell.

Reason enough.
But someone really should call the cops on the company that shot The Prophesy, a 1995 release starring Christopher Walken that bears a marked similarity to Charles's film. Just how likely is it that two people would come up with the idea of angels in gladiator outfits wrestling for a cop's soul?

Talking heads: At last Friday's going-away party at the Denver Press Club for Denver Post editor Neil Westergaard, a troop of revelers marched up bearing photo masks of the faces of seven other editors Westergaard had worked with during his fifteen years at the Post (stretching from Gil Spencer, who tapped Westergaard as his heir apparent, back to David Hall, who ran the show when Times-Mirror bought the paper). One visage, however, was conspicuously absent (both in person and in mask form): that of Chuck Green, who enjoyed a short-lived tenure as editor.

Green still has his column, though, which is more than can be said for several other Post writers. Kevin Simpson's column has been ground into oblivion by the "molars of reason" (one of Simpson's classic images), Mark Obmascik lost his Saturday soapbox, Jack Kisling is down to a rare appearance on the op-ed page, and contributor Chet Whye is gone from that space altogether, reportedly because he violated editor Dennis Britton's edict that columnists not endorse political candidates. When Whye went ahead and wrote a piece pushing Joe Rogers for Congress, the writing was on the wall. Whye's endorsement of Rogers never ran in the paper--but it somehow showed up on Rogers's Web page, complete with a Post credit.

Oh, Donald: Last Wednesday's Rocky Mountain News included a scintillating interview with Marlo Thomas, who explained how, at 57, she's gone from "That Girl to this woman." Even so, much of the piece focused on the hit series that went off the air 25 years ago. Would she ever do a TV-movie update? "I'm not particularly eager to do it," Thomas replied, "but Ted is." That's Ted, as in Ted Bessell, who never regained the level of fame he achieved as That Girl's boyfriend. (Starring in Me and the Chimp doesn't count.)

No wonder Ted was eager. Further back, that same issue of the News ran Bessell's obit: He'd died the previous Sunday.


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