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Fighting the Feds: Tusayan Spending 15K a Month on Lobbyists/Lawyers Following Unsuccessful Efforts from McCain and Flake

December 8, 2017

Tusayan Mayor Craig Sanderson defends spending $15,000 a month on a high-powered Washington DC law firm Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, and Schreck.

The goal is to try and get the feds to see things differently on an application for access to Forest Service land. That access would greatly enrich Italian developer Stilo by furthering Stilo’s controversial development plans. It would also give the Town access to the Kotzin property for an affordable housing project. 

We interviewed the Mayor at a December 7th open house. Mayor Sanderson said previous efforts that engaged Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake were not successful.  The Mayor said, “We don’t have connections in Washington DC.  We tried going through Senator Flake and John McCain and they don’t seem to have the best relationship with President Trump. What we believe the reason the (Forest Service) application was returned had to do with Washington DC and not the local level.”

Sanderson says he wants to work cooperatively with the Forest Service and repair some relationships. He believes the communication from Washington DC has been hindering that.

If the Forest Service changes its mind, Italian developer Stilo could make millions as its controversial development plans at Kotzin could move forward.

The Mayor said Stilo is not funding this effort. “Those costs are strictly as it relates to our ability to access our land. Obviously, Stilo would ultimately benefit if we’re successful in having the application start over. That doesn’t mean they’re going to get an easement but it does mean that they’ll have the opportunity to go through the process of trying to get an easement.”