Hall of Shame: Westword's worst of the worst from 2010

At the end of every year, Westword honors this town's worst of the worst — the characters whose misdeeds make our ears bleed and our eyes water — by inducting them into our Hall of Shame. Here are the 2010 inductees.

Brandon Smith

Remember all the hype about the iPad, which was unveiled last January? Bill Jordan and Brandon Smith will never forget it.

As Jordan was leaving the Cherry Creek mall with a newly purchased iPad in April, Smith grabbed the bag he was carrying, yanking it so hard that he ripped Jordan's pinkie finger to the bone. The cops later arrested Smith, caught on videotape by a security camera. Jordon had to have part of his finger amputated.

And as though Smith hadn't already done enough harm, in July he tried to put a hit on his victim from jail so that Jordan couldn't testify against him, police say. Is there an app for that? According to reports, Smith wrote a note to an acquaintance, asking him to kill Jordan. The note, which was intercepted by jail officials, included Jordan's home address.

Smith has now been charged with attempted murder.

Josh McDaniels

Like an obstinate, hoodie-wearing bull in a china shop, 34-year-old Josh McDaniels singlehandedly shattered the pride of the Denver Broncos and infuriated an orange-bleeding fan base that has sold out the town's football stadium for four decades.

The trouble started when the former New England Patriots assistant coach alienated former quarterback Jay Cutler and continued from there, as McDaniels made one questionable personnel move after another, trading away potential stars, bringing in suspect free agents and making inexplicable choices in the last two drafts. Even his smaller decisions made no sense: Why didn't he put star rookie Tim Tebow in during blowouts? Why did he wait until the last minute to fly the team to London for a game against the 49ers? Why did he insist on imitating dark lord Bill Belichick's idiotic fashion sense?

"Josh, I am your father..."

In November, the NFL revealed that it would fine McDaniels and the Broncos $50,000 each for a taping incident being labeled Spygate II, in which a now-former Broncos employee recorded a Niners walk-through in London and offered it to the coach. McDaniels said he turned down the offer but didn't report it to the NFL.

Then, finally, with a 3-8 record this season, McDaniels was mercifully — for fans — fired. Should he have been let go so soon? A better question is whether he should have been chased out of town with torches or with icy snowballs.

Scott McInnis

Maybe he shouldn't have shaved the mustache he'd worn for a quarter of a century. Because, like Samson, once he lost his hair, the wheels began falling off for Scott McInnis, the six-term Western Slope Republican congressman.

Anointed by the state GOP, McInnis looked like a lock for the Republican nomination for governor, and the favorite to win the whole thing after Democratic governor Bill Ritter announced that he wouldn't run for re-election. But in July, just weeks before the GOP primary, it was revealed that McInnis had plagiarized a large part of a 150-page report on water that he'd submitted to the Hasan Family Foundation from a 1984 essay by future Colorado Supreme Court justice Gregory Hobbs; the Hasan family demanded to be repaid the $300,000 they'd given McInnis for his "Musings on Water."

Although McInnis denied that the heavy lifting had been his fault — he blamed it on his assistant, an 82-year-old former water official — his weak response cost him the primary and nearly cost the Republican Party its major-party status when eventual punchline Dan Maes became the GOP nominee. Former Republican rabble-rouser Tom Tancredo switched from the GOP to the American Constitution Party to run against both Maes and Democratic candidate John Hickenlooper, splitting the conservative vote.

The "McInnis effect" was largely responsible for Colorado's getting both a Democratic governor and a Democratic senator in November — bucking the national trend.

Gary Faulkner

In June, fifty-year-old Gary Brooks Faulkner packed up his pistol, his forty-inch sword, a dagger and a pair of night-vision goggles for a little trip from Greeley to Afghanistan. The goal: to find and kill Osama bin Laden.

But the wannabe avenger ran into some trouble at the Afghan-Pakistani border, where he was detained by Pakistani officials. Apparently, the heavily armed (and heavily bearded) Faulkner stood out from the crowd. "He's not insane; he's not psychotic; he's as normal as you and I," Faulkner's brother Scott told one newspaper reporter.

We beg to differ. After returning home empty-handed but safe, Faulkner likened himself to bin Laden by referring to the pair as "two heavyweights" on the Late Show With David Letterman, then told the New York Post that he was in terrorists' cross hairs because of his commando mission. "They want me as bad as I want him," Faulkner said. "My family has already been instructed where not to go, what not to do, because of safety concerns."

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes