Local News

New Town Council Cancels Pricey Contract With DC Lobbyists

February 11, 2021

The Tusayan Town Council has decided to end its contract with Brownstein, Farber, Hyatt Schreck.

Since August of 2017 Tusayan has been paying the DC lobbyist firm of Brownstein, Farber, Hyatt, and Schreck as much as $15,000 a month. Much of their efforts went towards helping Italian developer 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 former Interior Secretary, David Bernhardt, used to work there.

At a recent Town Hall and a recent Tusayan Town Council meeting members questioned the value of the contract when public explanations of what the firm does for Tusayan are vague. Councilman Robb Baldosky said, “Since you are talking about fiscal stewardship, one of the reasons I ran for office was concern about how the town was running…I believe we can just move forward and forget the past. We owe it to ourselves to understand what we did wrong on the past.”

The firm was hired to lobby the federal government to OK Forest Service road applications making the Stilo project possible.

Mayor Clarinda Vail said the lobbying firm was not aware of the details surrounding development agreements regarding the Stilo project. Vail did note the firm played a role in helping the Grand Canyon School District secure an internet grant. But that doesn’t justify continued payments of $15,000 a month.

Vail said, “I can’t defend to constituents 15 grand a month that we are spending on them (Brownstein, Farber, Hyatt, Schreck).

On February 10th during the regular council meeting, the council decided to end the contract but left the door open to a contract reflecting a new scope of work and lower fees.

Councilmember Becky Wirth noted that right now she is “not seeing a lot of value or return for what we’re spending.”  Wirth suggested a workshop on the matter.

The council voted to end the contract.  Three voted in favor. Wirth abstained. Vice Mayor Brady Harris voted no.