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As a former president, chief operating officer and boardmember of Hanifen Imhoff, I feel compelled to respond to Stuart Steers's April 30 article, "Incident on 17th Street," regarding recent lawsuits against Hanifen Imhoff and its senior managers.
For six of my 23 years in the securities business (1985-1991) I worked for Hanifen Imhoff, most of that time reporting directly to Walt Imhoff. I can assure you he is a man of integrity, honesty and compassion who was more concerned about the firm's employees than any other senior manager I've worked for in or out of the industry.
I can recall when the firm, forced by the market events of 1987, had the first layoffs in its history. I worked with Walt and other senior members of Hanifen to assure fairness to the employees to the extent possible under such difficult conditions. Walt, more than anyone, agonized over the impact these layoffs would have on employees and their families. In an industry as Darwinian as the securities business, these are not typical concerns for senior management.
As for the issue of separated or retiring employees being required to sell their stock back at book value, this has been the case at Hanifen for many years, and it is not at all unusual for privately held companies. It allows the company to maintain its ownership by current employees and not be subject to influences by outside shareholders or disgruntled former employees. What the article did not address is that these and other employees also were able to purchase their shares at book value, making the buy-and-sell process a level playing field.
It's understandable but unfortunate that Walt's attorneys won't let him respond to these allegations in as public a forum as his accusers have chosen. This is a proud man with a well-deserved and hard-earned reputation for being generous and compassionate. I don't know who the anonymous former employee is who was quoted as saying, "Everyone who is a former [upper-management] employee of the firm feels the way I do." But I certainly resent him speaking for me this way. I, for one, feel very differently.
And Walt, if you read this and do have a party, count me among the three.
I am the state employee mentioned in Tony Perez-Giese's April 30 article "Bad Chemistry." The primary reason I spoke with your reporter was to inform the public that labs operated by the State of Colorado are not subject to mandatory compliance with OSHA regulations, fire-department codes or health-department requirements that apply to the private sector. Since the labs are not required to comply, there is no enforcement mechanism that can be used to require the labs to provide a workplace that is safe for employees and those in the surrounding community. I have been told that my return to the lab is mandatory; Ron Turner, the lab director, has told me that I must either quit or return.
A quote at the end of the article was incorrect. I was quoted as saying that "nothing short of a court order will get me back into that lab." I never said that. Instead, in a phone conversation on March 30, 1998, Ron Turner told me that "nothing short of a court order will keep me from returning you to the lab."
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Westword regrets the error.
And the Beating Goes On
It troubles me when I observe the trite and predictable personality of folk in these times. It is always easy to recognize when one is crawling up the backside of an abject, vacuous musician and/or rock-and-roll burnout. The responses in Westword to both Michael Roberts's articles on Denver bands and their inability at success ("Breaking Up Is Easy to Do," April 30) and the Aerosmith concert ("Rock of Ages," April 23) exposed this exact mentality.
Let's get some issues straight. One, I don't know or concern myself with either Michael Roberts or Barry Fey. Two, I appreciate Jay Marvin for what he is and cannot understand why others do not also realize and not take the guy so seriously. Three, I too am a musician whose perspective and/or use of the word "success" is probably different than that of the masses. Four, I do not profess to have the entire world all figured out, so that should eliminate the absolutists.
I have had a fair amount of exposure in the Denver music scene through either playing or knowing a considerable quantity of musicians. I have observed that the number-one reason that most of these bands inevitably disband is ego. From the days of the Kamikaze Klones and the Offenders to the current roster of locals, ego was and is the element that proves deleterious to all the bands' existence. The majority of the musicians I know have egos the size of the world, and when things don't go their way, all hell breaks loose.