Blumenthal: No change of heart for Related | AspenTimes.com

Blumenthal: No change of heart for Related

Mel Blumenthal

While in New York City last week, previewing several highly touted new plays and musicals soon to open on Broadway — and of course accompanying my wife to previews of the fully stocked shoe departments at Saks, Bergdorfs and Barneys — I just couldn't get Related's latest blunder out of my mind. Sitting in the shoe department's impatient-husband waiting area, I dashed off the following note to Dwayne Romero, hoping to catch him in a reflective moment of remorse over Related's recent decision to kick out Village Market and bring in the less desirable Clark's Market, which, according to the loud volume of discord, neither full- nor part-time residents nor our guests want.

"Dwayne,

"At this point I would guess that it's clear to all involved that it's not about the sushi and since your damage control rep says it's not about the money, I'm confused what it's all about, but clearly many in the community are not happy that you're pushing out a very long-term, well liked and supportive institutional commercial operation in favor of one with substantially less credibility, at least in Snowmass. If it's really just all about increased size and some new amenities that you perceive the community is anxious for, it probably would have been a smarter idea to have that conversation with the community first, just to make sure that your guess was correct and if it was, to give the current long-term owner the opportunity to determine whether he was interested in playing in that game before throwing him under the bus, as they say.

"Now you have a major political mess on your hands that has likely depleted all the good will that you've been working so hard to achieve, at least since your reacquisition of Base Village. When you get Village legends like Gracie Oliphant and BJ taking pot shots at you, you really are in deep doo doo … I would imagine that the long silent Merc might even weigh in on this one.

"Knowing that you have lots of highly paid legal advisors at your beck and call and knowing what I know that high-powered lawyers do, I would imagine they've provided you with a few outs from any lease that might have been agreed to. If I'm correct and they're as good as what you pay them, I'd start extricating yourselves from this mess sooner rather than later. Although there likely won't be any spoken tie in to this unfortunate brain fart it will be a significant undercurrent in your future dealings on many important issues that you will require good relationships for in order to achieve your ultimate goals. You'll likely never know the reason for turndowns that may come your way but surely this poor decision won't be forgotten anytime soon.

"As a well-respected local southern gentleman once told me, when you're in quicksand, stop wiggling to get out, it will only increase the speed with which you are destined to sink. Better to admit the error right away and get on with the more important business issues at hand. I imagine that the powers that be will be much gentler if you quickly stand up like a mensch, apologize for your wayward decision and take immediate corrective action."

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While checking the local papers online from my East Coast perch and communicating with a few valley friends, I've not seen or heard any signs of remorse or change of heart coming from the Related team, just more wiggling in the quicksand as it quickly sinks further into the muck.

Related's recent actions once again signal a total lack of regard for the wishes of our community. It proves what many have thought and are still thinking: Related's only interest in our community is how quickly it can devour it and then exit stage right with pockets full of cash.

If you're as pissed off as my family and I are concerning this unfortunate circumstance, make sure you communicate your dissatisfaction to your elected representatives just in case they're planning to shower any favors on Related now or in the future. When Related comes calling for relief, approvals and leniency, insist that town policy and decision makers demand a pound of flesh in case they decide to grant any favors at all.

And to the cold-hearted Related team headquartered in New York City, I'd recommend an evening at Broadway's new hit musical "Big Fish." In addition to a great story and memorable music, it's got lots of heart and humanity and tons of good will, all of which the Related team would be fortunate to have rub off on it in heaping portions.

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