by Pam Zubeck
What constitutes a conflict of interest and what does not?
Three members of the City Council Memorial Health System Task Force have disclosed connections with possible bidders on Memorial. City Attorney Chris Melcher says two of the three don't constitute a conflict, but he hasn't ruled on the third one.
Member Charlie Sweet, an attorney with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, disclosed a prior relationship with a possible bidder to run Memorial, according to blogger Brian Newsome, a communications official with Memorial:
Sweet says he used to work for University of Colorado system as general counsel. During that work, he worked with the University Hospital insurance pool and did some other work. If University of Colorado Hospital comes in with a bid, it would likely include University Physicians Inc. He provided legal services for them. Sweet is explainng a number of ways he interacted with Unviversity of Colorado Hospital providing legal services. This was all before 2007. Today, he provides not services to University of Colorado Hospital. He spoke with Chris Melcher that there is no actual conflict, but he believes public perception is as important as reality.
Then Sweet said he would step down from the task force before it analyzes bids, which renders the potential conflict moot, one would think.
Another member, developer Doug Quimby, who represents the Regional Leadership Forum, last week said he had a connection with Memorial through property rights involving Memorial North.
Chris Melcher has researched Doug Quimby's involvement with Memorial Hospital North. His office concluded there is no conflict of interest that would cause Mr. Quimby to recuse himself. Any financial interest that might remain is so small at this time it would not rise to a conflict.
Here's more information on that, based on a considerable stack of records we reviewed earlier this week:
In July 2004, LP47 LLC, a firm in which Quimby is a principal, sold 82 acres to Memorial for its north hospital for $17,853,055.
Quimby also is one of three directors — Scott Smith and Lee Sandifer are the others — for Briargate Crossing Medical Campus Association, Inc., a nonprofit corporation that oversees and enforces covenants on the Memorial North and surrounding property in that vicinity. Quimby also was the incorporator of the organization.
That means Quimby and the others are responsible for determining whether building additions, roads and other improvements are in compliance with restrictions on development.
More from the task force meeting, with Newsome reporting:
Quimby sent a letter to Chris outlining his involvement, he said that's public and he'd be happy to share. He said he has no continuing financial gain, except for what Chris was referring to. La Plata, Doug's company, is the manager of property is on. Landscaping, etc. His company is paid $525 for that service. He said his last connection is any building improvements be approved by a design review board under the architectural standards of the project. He could influence the approval of a building Memorial might want to build on that property. He loves the architecture and that's never been an issue. That's the nature of the relationship. He doesn't think it impedes his judgement in any way, shape or form. But, he says, if the appearance is an issue for task force, he'll respect that. He is not voluntarily stepping down.
Then, Councilman Tim Leigh discloses he owns the Boulder Medical Building, leased to Memorial, and that his wife works at Memorial. "He says he would have brought it up sooner, but he didn't think it would be a big deal," Newsome blogs.
No word from Melcher on that one.
The meeting wrapped up this morning with Council President Pro Tem Jan Martin, who chairs the task force, calling for a public town hall meeting sometime in the next four weeks as bidders put together their proposals.
No date, time or place was announced.