Some background on the Suteys
December 10, 2011
Concerning the Wexner-Sutey land swap: Frank Sutey Sr. and his family were exceptionally close friends of my father and mother. Frank Sr. and my grandfather Steve Krizmanich Sr. were originally from northern Croatia, then Austria-Hungary. Both young men left that beautiful, gentle land for backbreaking work in the coal mines and deep snow of Crested Butte in the early 1900s.
My grandfather had been a game warden in his homeland; however, economic times were so bad he and Sutey immigrated to the U.S. In the “old country” the lord of the land, or “big guy,” owned everything. The common man couldn’t make a living – a very common story throughout Europe at the time.
I had been informed that Mr. Sutey was blackballed from working in the coal mines around Crested Butte for trying to organize and unionize the miners. Unable to find work, sometime in the 1930s he and his family traveled down Scofield Canyon in a wagon to homestead the forgotten barren land on Cattle Creek, his reward for trying to help the little guy.
The Wexners may be good people. At least they are much more upfront about their business than the secretive and powerful Koch brothers; unfortunately their class is rapidly proving that if you have enough money you can do anything, even change existing laws and regulations.
It is exceptionally ironic and very sad that after 100-plus years, the very same conditions that drove Frank Sutey to this area are being reborn in the U.S. on a major scale. Even more ironic, just across the Kolpa river from Sutey’s village is Slovenia – the country recently awarded the honor of being the Western country with the smallest financial gap between the rich and poor. Even beating the Scandinavian countries. A direction totally opposite the U.S.
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I have been very honored and blessed to have known the Suteys and wouldn’t trade the experience for knowing all the millionaires and billionaires on the Western Slope.
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