More drama out of Squaw Valley (or AlSquaw, Squawpine, et al.), as the fight over Olympic Valley continues. Curbed Ski has been covering the multi-year process of redeveloping Squaw Valley's base village for a while now. While KSL Capital toned down their plans for a mega-expansion and local non-profits like Incorporate Squaw Valleys and Friends of Squaw Valley have formed with the goals of increasing local control and preservation of a beloved community, dirty deeds are afoot.
This week, as reported by Unofficial Alpine, Squaw Valley CEO/President Andy Wirth- is under fire for allegedly writing his own letter of support, raising questions about the ethics of corporate influence on local non-profit organizations.
Wirth, who is against incorporating Olympic Valley into a town, stated in an April 7th letter what he sees as the negative impacts of creating a new community, arguing that Olympic Valley would not have enough tax revenue to sustain itself without raising local taxes. Incorporate Olympic Valley disagrees, stating that the new town would get a healthy amount of money from hotel bed taxes and a percentage of existing property taxes. The coalition adds that the California regulatory agency will do a financial analysis in the coming months and incorporation won't go forward if it's not revenue neutral.
Wirth has reportedly been successful at developing and maintaining a good rapport with local non-profits, but a recent letter sent to those organizations is raising eyebrows and questions amongst the community. Unofficial Alpine obtained a mild-mannered email "sent out to a number of non-profits in the area by the Executive Director of a well-known local non-profit. The email asked those agencies to consider signing a letter of support for Squaw Valley Ski Holdings CEO Andy Wirth and Squaw Valley Ski Holdings in general."
Attached to the email was a document with a markedly different tone, hinting that recipients might want to offer up a little somethin'-somethin' to Wirth or Squaw Valley Ski Holdings in the way of support. Unofficial Alpine investigated, via the magic that is the "Properties" tab on Word Document, and discovered the author of said document appeared to be none other than Andy Wirth.
Additionally, it was discovered that the letter was then "edited or reviewed by Theresa Duggan, who apparently spent 1 minute editing Mr. Wirth's writing. Duggan was hired by Squaw Valley Real Estate holdings as a Community Outreach Coordinator to head up the Save Olympic Valley campaign."
No one can accuse politics- local or national- of being a clean game, but trying to pull the wool over the eyes of a community you claim to support? Total fail. And you thought Park City had cornered the market on ski resort problems.
· All Olympic Valley Coverage [Curbed Ski Archives]
· How Much Money is Squaw Valley Willing to Spend to Stop the Incorporation of Olympic Valley? [Unofficial Alpine]
· Picking the Best Pass: Epic Pass vs. Mountain Collective [Curbed Ski Archives]
· Lake Tahoe's Shakespeare Ranch Asks Jawdropping $98M [Curbed Ski Archives]