The lawsuit accuses El Pomar officials of secretly attempting to block approval of the Hitch Rack Ranch quarry.
A lawsuit was filed in El Paso County District Court against the El Pomar Foundation on behalf of the RMBC Group on Monday, Aug. 3, the Gazette reports
The RMBC Group, which owns the Hitch Rack Ranch, accuses El Pomar in the lawsuit of bypassing public process and secretly influencing officials to deny a permit application to set up a quarry on the property. It alleges the El Pomar Foundation, particularly Chairman Bill Hybl and President and CEO Kyle Hybl, pressed then-Gov. John Hickenlooper’s staff for a meeting with Bob Randall, executive director of the Department of Natural Resources — and a voting member of the Mined Land Reclamation Board (MLRB).
The MLRB voted 3-2 to deny the quarry permit in April 2018. As the Indy previously reported
, in late 2018, the El Pomar Foundation paid a $15 million settlement to Transit Mix Concrete parent company Continental Materials, after the company apparently accused the foundation of backdoor lobbying.
Some details from that story
- Transit Mix's proposed quarry at Hitch Rack Ranch would have been located near Aiken Canyon, a preserve overseen by The Nature Conservancy. Adjacent to that canyon is a 293-acre tract known as the Ingersoll Trust. Upon the late Buck Ingersoll’s wife’s death, the property is to be split between The Nature Conservancy and El Pomar, which intends to preserve the parcel as open space. As a spokesperson states, El Pomar’s interest in the quarry stemmed from that future bequest.
- On Dec. 23, 2017, Jamie Van Leeuwen with the governor’s office wrote an email to Robert Randall, executive director of the Department of Natural Resources, Bill Hybl and Kyle Hybl. He thanked Randall for “a great conversation” about the Transit Mix application and said he was “looping in ... my two dear friends Kyle and Bill Hybl who brought this matter to my attention."
- A meeting took place on March 9 , 2018, and that same day Kyle Hybl wrote to two governor’s employees — Jacki Melmed, Hickenlooper’s chief legal counsel, and Patrick Meyers, his chief of staff. He also copied Thayer Tutt Jr., El Pomar’s chief financial officer, and Bill Hybl: “Thayer and I thank you for your time today,” he wrote. “It was and is appreciated.”
- No lawsuit was ever filed by Continental Materials, so it is unclear what led El Pomar to make the $15 million payment.
- After Continental Materials received the money, it scrapped plans for the Hitch Rack Ranch quarry and, on Feb. 1, 2019, sold Transit Mix Concrete and all of the real property of that company to Aggregate Industries – WCR Inc., a Colorado company, for $27.1 million, according to an SEC filing.