Michael Hancock's election took place against a bizarre backdrop. A Complete Colorado piece alleging a link between Hancock and the Denver Players prostitution ring that brought down Judge Edward Nottingham was ignored by mainstreamers, but it blew up on talk radio. On Monday, KHOW's Peter Boyles met the story's source: ex-Denver Players owner Scottie Ewing, whose records-filled computer was reported stolen later that day.
Ewing, a onetime professional skier, first graced the pages of Westword in the June 2006 Jared Jacang Maher feature "Swap Talk," which detailed the competition between Ewing and the Scarlet Ranch's Kendall Seifert for Denver swing supremacy. It's a tale Ewing didn't want told. He and his attorney, Michael Andre, shared their objections during a meeting at the Hornet with Maher and editor Patricia Calhoun -- but Westword published the story anyway.
The following February, Andre killed himself after an eight-hour SWAT team standoff in Cherry Creek.
When "Swap Talk" saw print, Ewing was best known for his association with the on-premises club Sindicate, which closed in 2005. But within months of Andre's death, Ewing was back in the news via a swingers' club he'd opened at 3648 Navajo Street. That project was followed by the launch of Sugar House, which Calhoun described as a "restaurant/bar/(very) short-time hotel" in in this April post about its building going on the block.
But federal agents didn't believe Sugar House was his sole means of support. In May 2010, the IRS came after Ewing, alleging that he'd been using a company called Sindicate Media & Consulting to "disguise from the Internal Revenue Service the true source and amount of the income he received from Denver Sugar/Denver Players," the aforementioned prostitution ring. His indictment on tax charges got national play via the sports website Deadspin.
By last November, Brenda Stewart, an ex-escort with an ownership stake in Denver Sugar/Denver Players, had also been hit with charges related to tax evasion, racketeering, money laundering and more.
A Denver Sugar website image of "Juvel."
Ewing is allowed to work at Sugar House while serving this sentence -- and that presumably offered thieves the opportunity to bust into his house and swipe a computer that included what the Denver Post describes as "a client list and appointment sheets."
Such material formed the backbone of the Complete Colorado report, which noted that the name "Mike Handcock," accompanied by Hancock's cell phone number, appeared on a Denver Players document along with a payment amount of $275. But Hancock's name doesn't appear anywhere in the Post story about the theft. Indeed, Post publisher Dean Singleton appeared on KHOW yesterday afternoon to explain why his paper had taken a pass on the Complete Colorado report. In speaking with hosts Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman, he dismissed Boyles, who'd been hyping the report, as a carnival barker.
By the way, the Post isn't the only outlet to take on the Ewing computer-theft tale. This 7News item points out that its reporters saw and recorded video of Denver Players client lists last week, implying that it's digging into the Hancock connection. The text version of the package includes the line, "When the investigation is complete, we will present what we have found."
The theft of Ewing's computer recalls a similar incident back in April 2008, when Governor Bill Ritter had a falling out with aide Greg Kolomitz. Three days after Ritter accused Kolomitz of writing over $83,000 in unauthorized checks, among other alleged infractions, the Rocky Mountain News reported, the latter's laptop was swiped.
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Coincidence or conspiracy? You be the judge.
And remember this: While on the air Tuesday morning, Boyles announced that when he met with the story's source the previous day, Ewing said that he'd already had the records moved for safekeeping. So they may be out there... somewhere.
More from our Politics archive: "Michael Hancock prostitution-article reporter waiting for mainstream outlet to pick up story."