ROCKY MOUNTAIN LOWS
Ben Nighthorse Campbell
Occupation: Democratic/Republican U.S. senator
People back in Washington knew you could always make a handshake deal with the craggy Coloradan--after all, he was a straight-talkin', ponytail wearin', Harley-ridin', judo-choppin' son of a gun from Out West. They also knew that any such deal would have about as much chance of being honored as a cowpie has of staying frozen in the spring. His own constituents, though, didn't fully appreciate the Nighthorse's propensity for changing ponies in mid-stream until they saw him defect from the Democrats to the Republicans last March. That's stickin' to your guns!
Most Notable Achievement: Set personal best for sales of handcrafted genuine Indian jewelry.
Most Notable Disappointment: Failed to close six-figure deal with Coca-Cola Company for limited production run of "Coca-Pelli" bolo ties.
Quote (after tackling and handcuffing a man who had pushed Senator Strom Thurmond): "The mind and spirit are still willing even if the body has slowed down."
Occupation: Millionaire deadbeat
The former uranium-trading king of the world once drew headlines when he loaded 100 cattle from his Colorado ranch onto a Federal Express jet and flew them to Russia as a gift to the government. After gambling hundreds of millions of dollars on a plan to corner the uranium market, though, Benton was the one flying coach. Claiming debts of as much as $1.2 billion and no cash--though he still lives in a $1 million loft in downtown Denver--Benton filed for bankruptcy in February, listing among his assets his $33 million stake in the Colorado Rockies. He then promptly asked a bankruptcy judge to pay him an annual salary of $750,000 for dismantling his fallen empire.
Most Notable Achievement: Inexplicably transferred $1.1 million to private companies under his control during brief stint as chairman of one public company.
Most Notable Disappointment: Denver offices raided by U.S. Customs agents who suspected him of illegally importing Russian uranium.
Quote (after being asked about $7,500 in clothes he purchased on his American Express card while his employees went without paychecks): "What the hell difference does this make? I just think it's trying to make some kind of newsiness out of nothing."
Kevin Tebedo and Colin Cook
Occupation: Family-values defenders
Tebedo, the former director of Colorado for Family Values, stood firmly behind Cook, a leader in the Christian gay-to-straight movement whose counseling sessions with homosexual men reportedly included mutual masturbation and prayer sessions thanking Jesus for "handsome thighs" and "fleshy balls." When Cook came under fire for his techniques--including reportedly advising one client to kneel naked by his bed and say, "Jesus, I would like to suck a penis right now"--Tebedo angrily defended his friend's efforts. Added Tebedo, "I've never been homosexual! And I never will be homosexual! Thank the Lord!"
Most Notable Achievement: Cook admitted secretly sniffing a pair of underwear belonging to a male college roommate.
Most Notable Disappointment: Colorado for Family Values loses Tebedo, reportedly to the patriot movement.
Quote (from Cook): "When someone says I'm unorthodox, I put my flag up and say, `Amen!'"
Occupation: Webbocrat for hire
The former Denver Public Works manager distinguished himself last year by repeatedly crowing that Denver International Airport would open by May 15, 1994 (actual debut: February 28, 1995). For his next act, he quit his city gig last summer to take a big-money job with O'Brien-Kreitzberg, the same engineering firm whose lavish travel and lodging expenses he'd approved while it was running up a $5.8 million consulting tab at DIA. When other airport contractors accused him of helping steer money to his newfound employer while still on the taxpayers' dime, Little Mikey was shocked--shocked!--at the suggestion. But he did admit placing an angry phone call to an assistant city attorney who had the gall to suggest the city hire someone other than O'Brien-Kreitzberg on another city project.
Most Notable Achievement: Played golf at Pebble Beach with O'Brien-Kreitzberg executive last March in apparent celebration of DIA's long-awaited opening.
Most Notable Disappointment: Drove seventeen consecutive tee shots into ocean in botched attempt to impress future employer.
Quote (from the assistant city attorney): "I thought [Musgrave's phone call] was highly irregular."
Occupation: Defender of small animals
The Denver Post columnist moved from the editorial page onto B1 this year and quickly set about proving how often he could whip his readers into a lather. The Green Hornet launched one community crusade after another, most of which lasted about as long as it took his audience to finish their orange juice. His one-man campaign to convince drivers to put black electrical tape on their left taillights in honor of a slain Denver policeman, for instance, fizzled when city officials suggested turning on headlights as an alternative. But the Chuckster hit big with his teary series on behalf of Keko and Snowy, the ill-fated Wheat Ridge canines who succumbed to antifreeze cocktails served up by a man Green delighted in pummeling--and pummeling--in print. Sic 'em, Chuckie!
Most Notable Achievement: Continued to carry parakeet on shoulder in effort to bolster reputation as a Real Character.
Most Notable Disappointment: After collecting thousands on behalf of Keko and Snowy's civil suit, he learns that state law prevents dog owners from collecting punitive damages.
Quote (from a column regarding the death of an infant): "Except for the soft sobs of grief, it was suddenly quiet. In fact, it was too damned quiet."
Occupation: Jefferson County persecutor
Exactly three days after Evergreen's Mitchell and Candice Aronson filed an ethnic-intimidation lawsuit against their neighbors, William and Dee Quigley, Thomas's office unleashed an avalanche of no fewer than thirteen felony charges against the Quigleys. They were accused of ethnic intimidation, conspiracy and harassment--based almost entirely on private phone calls that the Aronsons had intercepted with a scanner and then transcribed, somewhat selectively, for authorities. When Thomas's underlings actually got around to listening to the tapes, the case just as quickly dried up. Later, the DA issued a public apology and agreed to pay the Quigleys $75,000 to prevent them from taking the county to the cleaners in a civil suit.
Most Notable Achievement: Got the sheriff's office to pony up $25,000 for the settlement.
Most Notable Disappointment: After bringing three criminal charges against a friend of the Quigleys for allegedly joking about painting an oven door on the Aronsons' house, he learned his office had identified the wrong woman.
Quote: "We attempt to dispense justice in an even-handed and fair manner in every case presented to our office."
William E. "Eddie" Neusteter
Occupation: Wealthy young hoodlum
His grandmother was shocked when this young scion of one of Denver's wealthiest families was busted for sticking up a 7-Eleven with a 9mm Glock. After all, she exclaimed, he simply adored his pet French poodle. The public was equally stunned when a Denver judge let Neusteter off with probation--despite the testimony of a clerk who said he feared for his life when Eddie stuck a gun in his face. But the young master, who once merrily threatened to kill one of his schoolteachers, was back in jail in no time after a spirited bout of fisticuffs with his sister earned him a domestic-violence arrest. There, there, Edward.
Most Notable Achievement: Cleared $30 from the 7-Eleven job.
Most Notable Disappointment: Thrown out of court-ordered anger-management program after stating he'd "like to kick someone's ass."
Quote (from his defense attorney): "He's the victim."
Occupation: Patriotic American
Though he drew a paycheck as a state senator from Monument, Charlie's real job was as a national spokesman and apologist for the patriot movement. Criticized for making thousands of dollars in phone calls to patriot groups from his taxpayer-funded Senate phone, he defended the yak sessions by noting that, unlike other lawmakers, he didn't take free Rockies tickets. And what about that time he asked a crowd of patriots how many of them believed the federal government itself was behind the Oklahoma City bombing? Charlie said he was just taking a poll.
Most Notable Achievement: Referring to Ben Nighthorse Campbell, he told Jefferson County Republicans, "We should send him back to the reservation."
Most Notable Disappointment: Failed to detect mind-control microchip injected by government operatives during last tetanus shot.
Quote: "We don't recognize the authority of the federal government [and its] unelected bureaucrats...and we sure as hell don't recognize the authority of the United Nations.
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.
- Reader: Bars Will Lose a Ton on Drink Sales If They Let People Smoke Weed
- Thirty Mind-Blowing Murals at the Heart of Project Colfax
- The Mexican Says Adiós to Denver