Local News

The Post Incorporation Payday

March 8, 2011

Just in case you thought some members of the Tusayan Town Council were motivated solely by civic pride when they pushed for incorporation last year, think again.

United for Tusayan, which was bankrolled by Stilo and their partners, has just amended its financial disclosure statements. Documents filed February 24th of this year show Council Member Al Montoya collected an $8,500 “Win Bonus” on March 16, 2010. Council Member John Reuter collected a $2,000 “Win Bonus.” “John Reuter and Band” also received a $1,000 payment. The checks were written by the Grand Canyon Exchange, a Stilo partner. Grand Canyon Exchange is listed with the Arizona Secretary of State. Here's the link. Its General Partner is listed as Canyon Forest Village II, the folks who tried to put a roller coaster and resorts at the doorstep of the Grand Canyon. The project was rejected by voters in Coconino County.

The timing of the amended release is curious. It follows claims made by a former member of “Because We Live Here”, a pro incorporation organization, that checks were handed out to people who would eventually be elected to the Town Council. A couple of weeks after the accusations, the pro incorporation group came clean with the County Recorder’s Office and disclosed the payouts.

 When Reuter and Montoya stood for election to the Town Council, this campaign finance report had not been filed by United for Tusayan. Would the fact that then candidates Reuter and Montoya had been paid thousands by the Stilo-backed political organization made a difference at the ballot box during the November Council elections? There is no way to say. It does raise a few eyebrows as these folks decide on land use plans submitted by Stilo. You can read the amended filing which contains more recipients of “Win Bonuses” here.

United for Tusayan also disclosed its final spending spree that gave us incorporation. The tab tops $600,000. You can read the amended material here. Think about it; $600,000 to get 197 votes. It would have been easier to write bonus checks for everyone in town, but that would have been illegal.

That kind of money raises interesting questions. Did United for Tusayan spend all that loot from Stilo and its partners because they wanted this community to determine its own future? Or did they spend that kind of money to get the kind of government that would allow Stilo and their business partners to turn tidy profits on their real estate holdings? Like the folks from FOX News say…we report..you decide.

Coming soon to the Watchdog, Town Council campaign finance reports. Halvorson was sure writing a lot of checks.