Mayoral competitors Andy Beerman and Jack Thomas have been required to file conflict-of-interest disclosures with City Hall, Beerman as a member of the Park City Council and Thomas as a Planning Commissioner.
They were done with little fanfare and seemingly with interest primarily from reporters and a few Parkites who closely follow City Hall politics. As the two enter the final month of the campaign, it is likely Beerman's business interests could intrigue voters more than those of Thomas. Beerman has served nearly two years on the City Council without issues arising from his lodging firm, but City Hall over the next four years could make closely watched decisions that would almost certainly be seen as benefiting Beerman's business interests.
Through a firm called Old Town Condos, Beerman and his wife own a little less than 30 percent of the Treasure Mountain Inn, a lodge on the upper reaches of Main Street. The stake includes 13 of the 56 condominiums and approximately 4,500 square feet of the roughly 8,000 square feet of commercial space in the building.
The couple also owns a company called Lodgings @ Treasure Mountain Inn, which manages the property. Approximately 50 of the condominiums, placed in the rental pool, are under the management of Lodgings @ Treasure Mountain Inn.
Beerman said his wife, Thea Leonard, started purchasing condominiums at Treasure Mountain Inn in the early 1990s. He began his purchases later in the decade.
Beerman said he could not recall being required to remove himself from a City Council discussion or vote based on his role at Treasure Mountain Inn. He said he disclosed his interest as some Old Town issues were discussed. He also owns a Park Avenue house where the couple lives.
But the municipal government over the four years of the next mayoral term, running from early 2014 until early 2018, could make at least two decisions that could be seen as bringing financial benefits to the Treasure Mountain Inn.
There is an idea to build a gondola between the Main Street area and the Deer Valley Resort slopes. The Brew Pub lot has been seen as a potential location for the terminal on the Main Street side. The lot sits across Main Street from the Treasure Mountain Inn, steps away. A gondola terminal at that location would undoubtedly make the Treasure Mountain Inn a more desirable place to stay, effectively increasing the value of the property.
If a gondola is pursued linking the Brew Pub lot to Deer Valley, some sort of agreement would need to be reached between City Hall and the resort. An outright sale or a lease of the land required could be negotiated. The City Council would be required to approve a deal. The mayor would not cast a vote unless the City Council vote is tied. The mayor, though, runs the City Council meetings and could have a role in the direction of a discussion.
Beerman said he would consult City Hall attorneys before deciding whether he would participate in a decision about a deal between the municipal government and Deer Valley. He said an elected official usually does not remove himself, known as a recusal, unless he has a direct financial stake in a decision.
He said he has long supported projects along Main Street that could boost business, such as a Deer Valley gondola and streetscape improvements that are now underway. Beerman said gondola support is part of his overall transportation platform, indicating a Main Street-Deer Valley link would have wide benefits for downtown well beyond the Treasure Mountain Inn.
He acknowledged, though, a gondola would be a "very positive thing" for the Treasure Mountain Inn. Beerman also said a gondola would be beneficial as the Treasure Mountain Inn continues to market itself as a property where guests do not need to bring a vehicle.
The Treasure Mountain Inn, meanwhile, is the host of the Slamdance Film Festival each January. Beerman said he would probably be required to remove himself from the discussions if City Hall and Slamdance someday entered negotiations about a financial assistance package for the festival based on the contractual relationship between the inn and Slamdance.
Jack Thomas, architect
Thomas is the president and founder of his namesake architectural firm, Jack Thomas Associates, opening the firm in Park City in 1989.
He said he has just a handful of clients, including three projects that are being designed and three that are under construction. Three of the clients are inside Park City. Each of those involves a house.
Thomas said he co-manages the firm, but he plans to shift management duties to his partners by the beginning of 2014. He will remain involved, though. It is a six-person firm.
In an affidavit required of Planning Commissioners filed at City Hall in 2011, Thomas indicated he was a partner in an entity called Friends of Flagstaff LLC at Nakoma. He said in an interview this week the entity is the developer of 17 houses in Empire Pass. His firm designed the houses, Thomas said, adding that most of the firm's work at the site is completed.
Thomas said he has removed himself from Planning Commission discussions about an application to build a housing development along lower Park Avenue. The project, a cohousing development, has encountered opposition from people with properties nearby. Thomas said he had early involvement with the project, as the concept was being formulated, but he has not received compensation and will not in the future.
The cohousing development would occur on land that the group would purchase from City Hall. Thomas said he would consult City Hall attorneys before he participates in any meetings about the project should he be elected.