Colorado Springs attorney Lindsay Fischer has prepared a brief challenging the legality of the certificates of participation that the city intends to use to fund the proposed U.S. Olympic Committee deal.
Fischer, who also represents Central Bancorp chairman Ron Johnson in a complaint filed with the city Ethics Commission concerning Mayor Lionel Rivera, said that these COPs would be multi-year obligations, and as such must be approved by voters.
In the draft brief, Fischer argues that by mortgaging essential city properties such as the Police Operations Center and fire stations as security for COPs, the present City Council members will effectively and irrevocably bind future elected bodies.
“If the police station is pledged, the city can’t quit,” Fischer wrote. “Where the city does not pledge the police station, it can quit paying the PFA lease money to service the COPs if, five years from now, the city needs the $2.2 million of payment on the COPs for some other (presumably more urgent) purpose.”
He said that the certificates of participation are disguised bonds, but “the disguise does not eliminate the requirement of an election.”
Fischer said he will present his brief and supporting documents to City Council at 7 p.m. Thursday during a town hall meeting called by council to solicit public input about the USOC deal.
Fischer will urge the city to modify the structure of the COPs, or to renegotiate the deal.
If city officials refuse to take action, Fischer could request an injunction to bar the city from enacting the deal.
Fischer said he has e-mailed copies of the brief to city officials, as well as to the city attorney. He included a cover letter, which said:
“The reason for the complaint, brief and authorities in advance is because you need time to think about it and the city attorney needs time to think whether ‘essentialities’ will change the clean opinion of the city’s bond counsel to a ‘maybe’ opinion, with either no issue or issue at a higher price.”
The brief concludes by outlining a remedy. “The court should then enter orders stopping the issue unless authorized by a vote.”