A Burlingame investigation? | AspenTimes.com

A Burlingame investigation?

Carolyn Sackariason
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” An Aspen resident has called for a special investigation into the misleading Burlingame brochure, which didn’t tell voters about $73 million in other costs for the affordable housing project.

City Attorney John Worcester said he received a letter from James H. Perry on Wednesday, asking for an outside attorney to look into whether city officials violated the law by disseminating false information to voters leading up to the May elections in 2005.

Perry said city government may have violated Aspen Municipal Code, which says “No person shall knowingly make, publish, circulate or cause to be made, published or circulated in any letter, circular, advertisement, poster or in any other writing … any false statement designed to influence the vote on any issue …”

“In the eyes of this concerned citizen of Aspen, it appears that City of Aspen officials and other interested parties were pushing this project forward, knowing full well, or had reason to know, that the information they were marketing to the voters was false in regards to the anticipated taxpayer subsidies and the project costs in the city-produced election brochure, interviews with the press, private websites and correspondence,” Perry wrote. “The facts that are now known to the public at large would lead any citizen to believe that grounds for a cause of action exist.”

Worcester said he has no evidence that suggests anyone who was responsible for producing the brochure knowingly published or circulated false information.

“I wrote him back and asked him to provide evidence of the wrongdoing,” Worcester said. “No one has admitted that they did anything knowingly.”

Worcester said he also pointed out to Perry that two separate outside audits are being conducted on Burlingame’s finances and development.

Once it was learned last month that the brochure’s figures were wrong, city officials immediately recognized the mistake. The project’s total cost listed in the brochure ” $73.4 million ” only included the costs of construction, and not below-ground improvements.

“The city has acknowledged that the information was erroneous,” Worcester said, adding he does not plan to launch an investigation.