Local News

Stilo succeeds in preventing you from voting on its land use plan, with a little help from ClayAnn Cook’s husband

March 30, 2012

By Mike Scerbo

Rather than take their chances with the voters, Stilo has decided to take their case to court, and that strategy proved successful. Because of a technicality in the way opponents of the Stilo plan filed their paperwork, there will be no May 15th vote on the controversial Stilo land use plan. A ruling canceling the election was upheld March 28th.

The election would have put to a vote the Stilo land use plan which calls for three million square feet of commercial space, rv parks, parking garages, resorts and thousands of new residents to the environmentally fragile landscape surrounding the Grand Canyon. It is opposed by the Havasupai Tribe, the Superintendent of the Grand Canyon National Park, and the Sierra Club. The major concern is that it would dry up springs that feed the Grand Canyon National Park and tribal lands.

It was also opposed by enough Tusayan residents to get it on the ballot but Italy-based Stilo would have rather prevented the election than go to the voters.

The lawsuit was filed by Jeff Cook. He is the husband of Clayann Cook, who seems to be a good friend to Stilo and its partner Elling Halvorson. She was in charge of the Elling Halvorson’s Western Discovery Museum which closed because no one went there. Now she is in charge of the Wild West Experience which replaced the museum and which has yet to open.

ClayAnn also sued to prevent you from voting on an initiative which would set ethical standards for Tusayan. She is a current member of the Tusayan Planning Commission and she was one of the folks who went on a trip to Italy courtesy of Stilo. She’s the one standing in the center.

 Stilo had been laboring to gain approval just in case Mr. Cook’s lawsuit failed. They held a series of parties providing free food and drink to anyone showed up. They also formed a political action committee with Planning and Zoning Commission member and Stilo ‘win bonus’ recipient Charles Townsend as its chairman. Sources tell us Townsend recently resigned his position at the Western Squire, managed by Mayor Greg Bryan.

The judge’s ruling in no way accuses Stilo opponents of any ethical lapses. The court feels the opponents merely erred in the way they filed their statement of organization. That’s despite the fact that the forms themselves might have been difficult to interpret. Because of deadlines for such elections, there is simply no way to correct the problem and schedule another election.