By Shaun Boyd
DENVER (CBS4) – As State Treasurer, Walker Stapleton is the Chief Financial Officer for Colorado. He’s the last person you would think would have mistakes on a financial disclosure form, but he did and it’s raised lots of questions.
It all started when Stapleton filed a form with the Secretary of State listing Rocky Mountain Trust as the blind trust that held all of his assets. But, he filed a separate form with the Securities and Exchange Commission listing him as the manager of that trust, meaning it wasn’t blind.
But Stapleton says he made a mistake.
“Rocky Mountain LLC was a consulting company I set up to be paid as a consultant.”
The Walker R. Stapleton Blind Trust is the name that should have been on the form. Stapleton provided documents showing it was set up in 2010 and his attorney says all of his assets are in it.
But as recent as June of this year, his financial disclosure listed assets that would pose a clear conflict of interest as treasurer or governor. State funds are invested in many of the same companies.
Stapleton says those assets are what he owned before he set up the blind trust. His financial disclosures haven’t been updated. He says they will be now.
“When the blind trust was set up, I became a beneficiary of the trust. We named an independent trustee and on my disclosure forms. I listed the assets and investments I am aware of. I have no idea whether there are additional assets, additional investments, whether we’ve divested or invested.”
Among the assets listed is Sonoma West Holdings, a real estate company. Stapleton was CEO of the company before becoming treasurer and then became a high paid consultant as the company went private.
He didn’t say exactly how much time he spent as a consultant.
“I spent some time earlier on just to finish the transaction of taking the company private, and then I became an owner of the business with a number of other people.”
He said he doesn’t know if it has any financial interests in Colorado.
“It didn’t at the time we took the company private, but if the business has expanded and made other investments those decisions weren’t controlled by me. I’ve tried to make a conscientious effort to avoid conflicts of interest at all costs.”
Stapleton’s family members are also owners of Sonoma West, and they do make decisions about its holdings.
So far, Stapleton has put $1 million of his own money into the race. His opponent Jared Polis has put in $18 million.
Neither Stapleton nor Polis will release their tax returns.