4
| News |

Alternative Fuels Guru Out of Gas

^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Things aren't looking too hot right now over at the Bob Schaffer campaign. Dogged by questions about his "fact-finding" missions to the Northern Mariana Islands, mocked for putting Mount McKinley in a campaign ad instead of Pikes Peak, the Senate hopeful has a fresh problem on his hands: the verdict announced late on May 28 in in the fraud trial of William Orr.

President of the National Alternative Fuel Foundation, Orr faced a battery of felony charges in the sprawling seven-week case in Denver federal court, from failure to pay taxes to allegedly bilking the government out of research money for a gasoline additive that was supposed to raise octane, fight global warming and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. After marathon jury deliberations that stretched over five days, he was found guilty of several counts of mail fraud and wire fraud related to misusing EPA funds and faking test results.

Orr's supporters maintain that the case was government payback against a maverick fuel guru who had challenged the EPA's sulfur emissions standards in court. But even the "he was railroaded" scenario poses some sticky questions for Schaffer, who served as director of NAFF in 2004 and 2005. The campaign treasurer for Schaffer in his 2006 race for the State Board of Education, Scott Shires, was also a top NAFF official and a key government witness at trial against Orr; Shires pleaded guilty to tax evasion and took a plea agreement.

How will all of this shake out in the dailies and Colorado's rabid political blogs? Stay tuned. – Alan Prendergast

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.