Wellshire Inn is down for the count -- and a recount by the city auditor

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Diners who've lived in Denver for more than a decade all have tales of some meal they had at the Wellshire Inn, the elegant restaurant that Leo Goto ran out an old Tudor-style building on the park/golf course owned by the City and County of Denver, at 3333 South Colorado Boulevard.

My last meal there was a lunch with Peter Boyles and Tom Tancredo, back when Boyles was still on Colorado Inside Out and Tancredo was still in Congress -- not battling John Hickenlooper to become governor of Colorado.

But times change, and they've certainly changed for the Wellshire. After Goto left to pursue other ventures, the city put the space out for lease. And the result? Not good, according to this Facethestate story by former Westword staffer Jared Jacang Maher.

A September 16 report by Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher calls the deal with the current concessionaire "questionable," Maher reports, and says the process that resulted in the deal was "inconsistent and unfair."

After Goto left, Wellshire LLC -- headed by Howard Torgrove -- got the contract to run the space, which included the restaurant and other rooms available for special events. In a deal signed in 2003, the concessionaire said it would do $1.2 million in improvements -- but failed to complete them, the auditor's office determined in 2007. And in December 2008, the Wellshire Inn closed altogether as a regular restaurant.

"According to the latest audit, Parks and Recreation put the contract to operate the Inn out to bid in December 2008," Maher reports, "but again awarded concession rights to Wellshire LLC -- despite its not having completed $1.2 million in promised improvements and repairs."

That concessionaire has focused on using the Wellshire as an events center, available for weddings and other festivities (and installing one ugly tent in front of the building). The details of the city's renegotiated contract with Wellshire LLC are supposed to be submitted to Denver City Council at the end of this week.

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


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