Local News

Tusayan’s Lavish Lobbyist Spending Gets National Attention

March 5, 2020

 Since August of 2017 Tusayan has been paring the lobbyist form of Brownstein, Farber, Hyatt, and Schreck  as much as $15,000 a month to help Stilo push its controversial development project that would drop thousands of homes and more than a million square feet of commercial space in Tusayan. The current Interior Secretary, David Bernhardt, used to work there.

As recently as February Tusayan gave the lobbying firm a check for $10,000 to deal with “right of way issues.”

As Tusayan and Stilo try to pressure the federal government into giving Stilo Forest Service Road access to make the development possible, the Western Values Project has taken notice. The WVP is dedicated to defending public lands such as the Grand Canyon and the Kaibab National Forest.

It has issued a report drawing attention to the lobbyist loot. The report quotes the WVP’s Deputy Director, “Interior Secretary Bernhardt has bent over backward for his former lobby firm and their clients in the past, and we don’t expect anything different when it comes to this controversial proposal. Tusayan City Commissioners and the foreign development corporation pushing this controversial development know that when money talks, the Trump administration listens,” said Jayson O’Neill, Deputy Director of Western Values Project. The Arizona Republic is reporting on the findings.

Congressman Tom O’Halleran has also expressed concerns about influence on the federal level and why the National Parks Service has remained silent about Stilo’s plans. Here is a link to the letter. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6790150-2020-02-07-Letter-Rep-O-Halleran-to-National.html

Mayor Sanderson recently travelled to Washington DC. to lobby for the Stilo right of way access. He discussed that trip at the February 12th Town Council meeting. Sanderson said, “We talked to elected officials to let them know this is a controversial thing. …trust us to work with the Forest Service to alleviate any concerns.”