Fischer: City changing COPs plan

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Attorney Lindsay Fischer, who has  publicly expressed doubts about the legality of the city’s plan to fund the economic development agreement with the U.S. Olympic Committee, says the city is making last-minute changes to the deal’s funding structure.

The city’s initial plan was to sell certificates of participation secured by a mortgage on the building at 27 S. Tejon St. that is scheduled to become the new USOC headquarters.  That proved unworkable because COPs purchasers want their investments to be secured by so-called “essentialities,” buildings and structures that are crucial to municipal function, making default more improbable.

The city then proposed that the COPs be secured by liens on the Police Operations Center and, if necessary, upon one or two fire stations. 

However, Fischer argued during a meeting of City Council last Thursday that such securities would be bonds in all but name, and, unlike COPs, would require voter approval. 

Fischer said that during a conference call with City Attorney Pat Kelly and bond attorney Bob Hand this morning, he was informed that the city has changed the plan yet again.

According to Fischer, the city now plans to transfer ownership of the POC and the fire stations to the Public Facilities Authority, an entity created and controlled by the city which functions as a pass-through for COPs financings. 

The PFA would then issue the COPs, which would be secured by city lease payments on the POC and fire stations in amounts sufficient to service the debt.

Fischer said that Hand and Kelly, who were unavailable for comment early this afternoon, told him that the revised structure would pass legal muster, and be safe from challenge.

Fischer isn’t so sure.

“You can paint the word ‘cow’ on a pig’s back, but it’s still a pig,” he said. “And this last-minute switcheroo is clearly fraudulent.”

Contacted minutes prior to this afternoon’s City Council meeting, Vice Mayor Larry Small said that he hadn’t heard anything about changes to the deal.

“I know that Pat was going to talk to Lindsay Fischer about (his concerns) this morning,” he said, “but I don’t know about any changes.”

Fischer said he hasn’t decided whether to file suit against the city.

“I’m seriously considering filing a lawsuit pro se,” he said. “I’ll represent myself as the plaintiff. I don’t want other plaintiffs with their own different agendas and ideas to dictate how to proceed.”

3 Responses to Fischer: City changing COPs plan

  1. Lindsey needs to look at Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition v. Ortiz, Owens et al.

    In this case a challenge was made to the Colorado COPS statute on the same grounds as he proposes . The trial Court found that the statute was legal and its decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court affirmed that ruling without a hearing.

    This ship has sailed.

    August 10, 2009 at 2:42 pm

  2. If long time Colo Springs Attorney Lindsey Fisher had any magic solutions to (1) the City being able to pay its bills with that rotten Tabor Amendment making it virtually impossible from the ratchet-down effect or (2) any ways to attract new businesses to the Springs or hold on to ones we have (USOC) then I would listen to him. But as one of these tiresome critics of EVERYTHING THE ELECTED OFFICIALS OF THE CITY TRIES, I refuse to listen to his carping.

    If Lindsey Fisher had as many solutions as he pulls up problems and tries to throw obstacles in front of every initiative, I wish he would run for Council so I can see if he can run the city any better than those on there are doing now. Its time for him to put his money where his mouth is.

    dave hughes
    August 10, 2009 at 3:02 pm

  3. Calm down Hughes. Your premise that a citizen has to be an elected official to offer thoughtful dissent is unAmerican. You must have some ax to grind with Lindsay (with an “a”, not an “e”) to say your words. Come clean dude. Bottom line is that it is not the municipal government’s responsibility to leverage the public treasury to provide real property to any institution — public or private. Where does such a premise end — I don’t want to find out. I prefer green parks, strong police force and paved streets. If our community doesn’t offer natural benefits to the USOC to advance their mission, then they should go where they can be realized. Nobody cared when the bull riders headed to Pueblo, which emptied Buck Blessing’s building and cost the community 100 jobs — what’s the difference in an economic development sense? Let’s do business with companies who can sustain their presence here because it makes business sense for them to do so. They’re out there …

    August 11, 2009 at 4:58 pm