Off Limits

Better homes and stadiums: Since Pat Bowlen wants taxpayers to build him a $320 million home for the Broncos (see story at left), we're sure he won't mind if we take a peek at his own crash pad, a three-story brick beauty (latest assessed value: $1,971,580) that overlooks the tenth hole of the Cherry Hills Country Club golf course. Like Mile High Stadium, the love shack where The Great Patsby goes to unwind after a big game can seat around 70,000 (give or take) and has at least one ghost in the attic: fellow football fan Bill "Scooter" Wall, from whom Bowlen bought the Cherry Hills Village mansion in 1990.

Bowlen has been accused of attempted highway robbery for demanding a new stadium, but Wall was a real criminal: In 1993 he was convicted of six counts of felony bank fraud for masterminding a series of crooked loans that financed the purchase of Van Schaack & Co., then Colorado's largest real estate company. Like Bowlen, Wall had a hankerin' for the gridiron; in fact, he claimed to have been a college football star. But during sentencing proceedings in his fraud case, federal prosecutors discovered that Wall had lied about being a scholarship player at Baylor University. The pigskin pretender was sentenced to seven years of hardly laboring at a federal prison camp, but after being a good boy, he's already back home with his family in C-Hills, reportedly keeping a low profile and seeking salvation at the Cherry Hills Community Church. Unfortunately, though, Wall will never know the bliss of teeing off at the neighborhood country club; thanks to a rule put through specifically as a result of his misdeeds, he and all other convicted felons are now prohibited from rubbing putters with the beautiful people.

Bowlen, of course, remains a member in good standing at the club. But Patsby's apparently been too busy winning Super Bowls to do much entertaining at his own place. Neighborhood watchers report that things have quieted down considerably at 9 Cherry Hills Drive since Wall moved out and took his legendary Valentine's Day parties with him. At those memorable affairs, Wall would don a velvet smoking jacket and welcome dozens of guests to a gourmet sit-down dinner; uniformed valets were even known to leave heart-shaped mugs and breakfast coffee cakes on the front seats of guests' Mercedes. You'd have gotten nothing more than a parking ticket, though, if you'd staked out Pat's place this past Saturday. Observers report that the Valentine's Day lovefests are a thing of the past.

A loan again, naturally: Patsby may need all that extra floor space just to crunch the numbers for his stadium proposal. Tentative plans call for him to take out loans to finance his share of the high-tech wonderland. And since he's already borrowed against the team for the $55 million maximum allowed under NFL rules, he's under the gun to get his hands on the additional $80 million or so he'll need for the stadium deal. That's why he's hired Denver Public Schools boardmember and municipal-bond expert Lee White to beat the bushes for potential lenders. According to White, banks are already vying for a piece of the action--hey, what venture capitalist worth his salt wouldn't want to tote the note on a loan backed by the revenue stream the Broncos will get from a new stadium's luxury suites and $4 cups of Coors? "We have several major institutions lined up to compete against each other," says White, who's mastered the art of working on behalf of Denver's struggling schoolchildren one minute and its struggling multi-millionaires the next. But he's less eager to discuss how much he's being paid to run interference for Bowlen. Says Patsby's chief moneyman, "That's between him and me."

Landing freeze: While air travelers recently ranked Denver International Airport the fifth-best landing field in the nation, the news isn't so rosy when it comes to discount air carriers. Not only did Western Pacific go belly-up earlier this month (estimated unpaid bills at DIA: $5 million and climbing), but Frontier recently reported a record quarterly loss of its own. And don't look to Southwest Airlines for relief: according to company spokeswoman Beth Harbin, the Dallas-based carrier still isn't interested in tangling with DIA's high lease rates and landing fees. There is one thing Southwest finds attractive at DIA, though: those dozen or so Westpac 737s now gathering dust on the tarmac. Her airline would be interested in acquiring a few of those babies, says Harbin--and promptly moving them to routes on the East Coast.

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