Off Limits

Cheap shots: On Friday, Arapahoe County sheriff's deputies responded to the ICG building near the Denver Tech Center on a report that a shot had been fired at the top-story conference room, breaking a window. According to the sheriff's office, the area was checked and no suspects were found, but if Monday's 50 percent stock drop and subsequent speculation that ICG may be on its last legs are any indication, the culprit could easily have been an about-to-be-former employee. Then again, maybe it was Karen Deger McChesney, of LoDo's Flying Dog Brewery. McChesney is furious at both ICG and Qwest, which have been giving her the runaround on phone service for the past two weeks. The brewery, which just moved from 2441 Broadway to 2401 Blake Street, has been relying on cell phones in the meantime.

Okay, so it probably wasn't McChesney, either; as it turns out, the sheriff's deputies concluded that the errant object that broke the glass wasn't a bullet. (A low-flying pigeon, perhaps? Or the ghost of J. Shelby Bryan, the former ICG head who got better ink in the New York gossip columns -- as the squire of magazine maven Anna Wintour -- than he did in the business pages.)

But McChesney isn't alone in harboring ill will toward local phone companies -- particularly Qwest, which is cutting back on its predecessor's philanthropic practices. Maybe that explains why a September 4 full-page ad in the Rocky Mountain News for the Children's Hospital program "Be a Fan of Your Kid" listed US West as one of the public-service campaign's major sponsors -- two months after Qwest covered up the US West logo on its downtown building. But no, responds hospital spokeswoman Becky Grupe."We haven't changed it in our ads yet because we haven't gotten any information from them on that," she says. "We are running two more ads coming up, and they will be the same as they have been."

Qwest will continue to maintain the two-year-old Be a Fan of Your Kid Web site, its main contribution to the cause, Grupe says. In the meantime, this year's program ends September 24, when the winners of an essay contest about dads will be announced at a Colorado Rockies game."I'm sure I'll get together then and talk to all of [the sponsors] about whether they want to participate again," Grupe says. "Luckily, we haven't been affected, but that's not to say we won't be. We are looking forward to working with [Qwest] again in 2001."

Just watch out for the crossfire.


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