Snowmass council member responds to ex parte allegations | AspenTimes.com

Snowmass council member responds to ex parte allegations

Jill Beathard
The Aspen Times

At his last meeting as a Snowmass Village Town Council member, Fred Kucker responded Monday to allegations that he participated in ex parte communications about a recent application.

The allegations were brought forth by Councilman Chris Jacobson on Oct. 6, who alluded to two conversations that Kucker appeared to have had about Related Colorado's application to extend Base Village vesting, which the council approved that night by a 3-2 vote. Kucker defended himself on both allegations Monday, the first of which was a comment Kucker made to Related attorney Joe Krabacher, which Jacobson implied gave the appearance the two had talked outside of the public eye.

"To accuse me of having a conversation that never took place and reaching an agreement that never happened from reading between the lines is nothing short of bizarre, but it's a perfect example of the means Mr. Jacobson will resort to in order to accomplish his ends," Kucker said.

Jacobson also had accused Kucker of discussing the application with Don Schuster, vice president of hospitality development at Aspen Skiing Co., which had an agreement to purchase a Base Village lot from Related once the vesting extension was granted. Kucker maintained Monday that Skico was not the applicant, and so discussing the documents with him did not violate the town's code about ex parte communications.

"Anything I said to Mr. Schuster, I had said before in a public meeting," Kucker added.

Kucker also alleged that Jacobson had an "extended conversation" with Skico CEO Mike Kaplan, to which Jacobson did not respond.

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Kucker said the best way to ensure Jacobson could do no harm is to vote Councilwoman Markey Butler for mayor, because her opponent, Councilman Jason Haber, has consistently voted with him. Haber questioned whether Kucker's comments were in line with legal campaign practices, but Town Manager Clint Kinney said he believed they were acceptable.

Butler used her time to speak to thank Mayor Bill Boineau and Haber, both of whom are vacating their current positions. Haber is running for mayor and Boineau is running for a council seat because he's term-limited as mayor.

"Councilman Kucker's contributions to our work here will be well-remembered, and certainly without him here that will change the dynamic in terms of entertainment value," Haber said.

Kucker is not seeking re-election.

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