Adams County has had its share of corruption over the past couple of years, but Democrat County Assessor Gil Reyes is perhaps one of the worst of the bunch. That’s why it was so surprising when he responded to an investigation of his activities with a terse and “defiant” letter to the Colorado State Division of Property Taxation. The Peak has obtained a copy of the letter (see excerpt below).
Reyes’ response may not seem so ridiculous on its face, but within the context of his ethical issues, his response is wishful thinking at best. First, a Denver Post investigation revealed Reyes had saved a top donor, Majestic Realty, nearly $800,000 in property taxes on the donor’s warehouses. Then, the Adams County District Attorney, the U.S. Attorney, and the FBI got involved and charged Reyes with criminal misconduct stemming from the property tax reduction.
Unfortunately, this isn’t Reyes’ first ethical breach. He also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for accepting (and failing to disclose) prime sports tickets from major donor Majestic Realty’s leadership. He also has been criticized for working just two days per week, which he attributes to an injury. Finally, in the beginning of 2011 two of Reyes’ female employees sued him, alleging he “repeatedly engages in sexual ‘humor’ that demeans women.”
The Denver Post article reporting on Reyes’ response quoted state property tax administrator JoAnn Groff, who indicated that the state was now at an “impasse” with this situation, “in my mind, they have not cooperated with the reappraisal order. As a result, we do not have a successful reappraisal.”
While the entire saga may seem like inside baseball, the money that Assessor Reyes is offering back to his top donors is much needed in this growing community for better schools and other community benefits. The Adams County Reform Project, a 527 dedicated to cleaning out the corruption in Adams County government, weighed in on the letter:
“The arrogant tone of Mr. Reyes’ written response is shocking and simply reveals that Mr. Reyes truly doesn’t understand the damage he’s caused in exchanging the trust of residents of Adams County for his own political gain,” said Michelle Lyng of the Adams County Reform Project.
Unfortunately, this is exactly the type of government corruption and cronyism that residents of Adams County have come to expect from their Democratic leaders.