Granby Ranch homeowners say metro district board broke law with kangaroo appointments
Despite Granby Ranch homeowners’ attempts to join the Headwaters Metropolitan District board, three new candidates were appointed as directors, leaving some people to question their legality.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Headwaters directors Randel Lewis and Chris Harff looked over a list of seven candidates interested in filling the three vacancies on the board. Those candidates were Granby Ranch homeowners Colleen Hannon, John Gillogley and Lee Sprigg, who approached Granby’s town board last month after they were allegedly passed over as candidates for the Headwaters board.
The Headwaters Metro District has long been developer-controlled and influences operations in the Granby Ranch subdivision. The district’s primary funds come from other financing districts in the area with homeowners having little say in how those funds are spent.
In December, three homeowners in Granby Ranch purchased property within the district’s boundaries and responded to a notice from Headwaters seeking qualified and interested electors. At a Dec. 22 Headwaters meeting, the homeowners were not appointed to the board even though there were vacancies.
Ashley van Dissel, Brian Melody, Bryan McFarland and Liz Titus also expressed interest in serving on the board, though Titus did not submit the necessary document in time for the meeting, according to Headwaters’ counsel.
With no discussion beyond outlining eligibility, the board appointed van Dissel, McFarland and Melody as directors.
Following McFarland’s oath, Granby trustees’ nonvoting attendee Natascha O’Flaherty jumped in to ask why these candidates were appointed, mentioning a state statute that prohibits soliciting further candidates for a metro district once enough have been garnered.
To be eligible to serve on the board, a candidate must own, reside or enter an option contract for a property in the district. An option contract is how all candidates qualified for the board.
The owner of Granby Ranch, GP Granby Holdings, sold each of the appointed candidates an interest on a piece of land within district, which was purchased Feb. 3 according to Grand County records. Colorado Revised Statute 32-2-808 says special districts cannot do this unless there are not enough qualified electors for the board.
Some homeowners argued that there were already enough qualified electors before three new candidates were added. Homeowners Hannon, Gillogley and Sprigg purchased an option on a different property in the district in December.
“It is a shameless and manipulative abuse of a public municipal entity,” O’Flaherty said over the phone Wednesday.
The Headwaters board and its attorney held that their actions were legal. The attorney for Headwaters, Clint Waldron, said the board followed state statute and only exercised its preference in selecting the directors.
“The board has the discretion to choose from those candidates,” Waldron said during the meeting. “Whether or not there are other claims that someone wants to make, that’s for another forum.”
O’Flaherty also pointed out that the notice of vacancy Headwaters is required to publish gave a Dec. 21 deadline for letters of interest, but all three letters from those appointed were not sent until Feb. 5, according to the board packet.
According to those letters, van Dissel and Melody work for Touchstone Golf, the contractor that operated the golf course at Granby Ranch last summer. McFarland is the founder of Denali Development Group, a nationwide firm that focuses on development for shopping centers.
“The two who are Touchstone Golf employees are inherently conflicted due to their employment,” said Gillogley, who also argues the board’s action were illegal. “The statement made about these appointments being the most qualified were blatantly false.”
Headwaters could only administer the oath of office to McFarland on Wednesday, as Melody and van Dissel did not attend the meeting. The board said it would administer the oaths for the other candidates once they were able to meet.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the correct number of the Colorado Revised Statute, which is 32-2-808.
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