Showing his pearly whites last week, Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter was toeing the JonBenet party line as a member of Boulder DA Alex Hunter's dream team of metro-area prosecutors; usually, Adams County DA Bob Grant does the talking for that crew. And Hunter would do well to keep Jeffco DA Dave Thomas, another team player, away from the mikes altogether. Thomas has already been threatened with a libel lawsuit by Titus Peterson, an attorney whose contempt-of-court charge in Gilpin County was recently dropped--but not before former boss Thomas labeled him a "liar."
And last week Thomas came in for a drubbing from former Denver chief deputy DA Craig Silverman, one of whose clients has been ordered to stand trial in Jeffco on a felony count of wiretapping. His alleged crime? He taped a conversation between his ex-wife and twelve-year-old daughter and then took the tape to a Jeffco judge, asking for a restraining order against the ex-wife, who does not have custody of the girl. Instead, Anthony Roszel got whacked with the wiretapping charge. Usually, Jeffco isn't all that eager to press charges in such cases: Although the infamous Quigley-Aronson family feud involved extensive wiretapping by the Aronsons (and even the DA's office), it was the Quigleys who wound up charged with crimes--and Jeffco DA Thomas who subsequently wound up settling with the Quigleys for $75,000.
Change partners: No sooner had they approved the budget bill than lawmakers started making more money. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, who knows an important issue when it hits him on his un-helmeted head, has introduced a bill directing the U.S. Treasury to make a limited-edition buffalo nickel. Profits from sales of the coin, according to Campbell, would go to the National Museum of the American Indian, now under construction in D.C.
The original coin, which was in general circulation between 1913 and 1938, featured a buffalo on one side and the profile of an American Indian on the other. Three Indians modeled for artist James Earle Fraser: Iron Tail, an Oglala Sioux, Two Moons, a Northern Cheyenne, and Big Tree, a Seneca Iroquois. "Legend has it that those Indians were performers appearing in Wild West shows in New York City when they posed for Mr. Fraser," said Campbell. "As for the buffalo, it was immortalized on the nickel and then slaughtered."
At the same time, Representative Michael Castle of Delaware has proposed minting quarters to honor all fifty states, a concept that last week won the reluctant approval of Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin. Although Rubin says he wants "no frivolous or inappropriate designs," Illinois is already talking about putting Michael Jordan opposite George Washington on its coin. Since Colorado seems so all-fired interested in getting Nike here, why not just grit our teeth and go for a swoosh?
On your toes: The space-alien ballerinas are set for unveiling any day now at Adam's Mark. But Fred Kummer's hotel has already emerged from the cloud of race-discrimination charges alleged by several former employees, if the past week's National Black Chamber of Commerce confab there was any indication. The convention's theme was "Contacts, Contracts and Jobs... Setting the Pace for Success"; Kummer, who got a $25 million subsidy to remodel his hotel, could have told them a thing or two. The next big local convention is of a group of Baptists, set to start gathering September 1 in Denver, a quick substitute after California passed its anti-affirmative-action measure last year. This is the group headed by the Reverend Henry Lyons, whose unusual finances and lifestyle have come under question since his wife was arrested last month and accused of setting fire to a Florida home owned by her husband and Bernice Edwards, a convicted embezzler hired by Lyons as director of public relations. Watch for the fireworks...