by Pam Zubeck
David Neumann is mad as hell and isn't gonna take it any more.
Last month, his attorney sent a letter to the city outlining what he considers unethical behavior by City Councilor Tim Leigh, who has repeatedly criticized Neumann's NeuStream technology for which Colorado Springs Utilities has a contract. The emissions control device is being attached to the Martin Drake Power Plant, though perhaps not for long.
City Council, sitting as the Utilities Board, refused to cut a deal yesterday with the Sierra Club. The deal would have interrupted installation of Neumann's technology until a decommissioning study is completed next year. The board met in executive session yesterday, Thursday, for about an hour and then voted in open session 5 to 3 not to accept the proposed agreement, with board member Jan Martin saying she wouldn't make decisions based on lawsuit threats, according to local news reports.
A couple citizens showed up to speak after the executive session, notably Sean Paige, the former Councilor who now works for the Colorado chapter of Americans For Prosperity, and Kanda Calef, an activist who opposes the removal of Drake and sale of the electric utility — maneuvers promoted by Mayor Steve Bach.
Caving in to the Sierra Club, Calef stated, "is significant because accepting it hands the Sierra Club a victory before they even file suit. Defeating any technology that improves coal emissions is fundamental to their campaign to end the use of coal itself. They do not want such a technology to succeed ... If you accept this proposal, you will be helping them to make their first stride toward that goal."
She also complained the agreement had been "shaped up behind closed doors."
Bach's interested in getting rid of Drake, which would allow developers to build a sports stadium (Bach Field?) in the lower downtown area. Opponents have argued that shutting down Drake and/or selling the electric utility could drive monthly electric bills up significantly.
Anyhow, instead of recounting all of Neumann's allegations of Leigh's steady drumbeat of anti-Neumann rhetoric, here's the ethics complaint here:
In addition, Neumann sent a letter on Monday to City Attorney Chris Melcher and board President Scott Hente that also outlines Leigh's behavior and how Neumann thinks it qualifies as a conflict of interest which should prevent Leigh from voting on any matter involving Neumann. That letter is here:
After Melcher apparently blew him off, Neumann sent this e-mail on Thursday to Melcher:
My apologies. I was told that for the second time my request for an Ethics Investigation of Councilmember/Boardmember Tim Leigh did not have the proper terminology for you to consider it valid and to act on it in your proper capacity as City Attorney. Both times you have failed to show me the courtesy of a response which informs me that you are rejecting these requests and the reasons for your rejection. To be clear, I and my company NSG request an investigation of Councilmember/Boardmember Tim Leigh by the City's Independent Ethics Committee for the reasons stated in the previous two letters/emails that were sent to you.
If this is still not clear enough, then please provide me with the sample format you require for submission of a request. There is none available that I know of and no specific wording required as part of the City Charter.
I look forward to the courtesy of a response from you or your supervisor.
David K. Neumann, CEO
Neumann Systems Group, Inc.