Jankovsky asked withdraw from SG Interests discussions

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said on Monday that he will consider whether to recuse himself from discussion of issues involving SG Interests (SGI), the Houston energy company that wants to drill for gas in the Thompson Divide area southwest of Glenwood Springs.

Jankovsky’s statements came after he was confronted by a constituent more than $10,000 in campaign contributions from SGI officers, who donated to Jankovsky’s successful 2010 bid to defeat former Commissioner Tresi Houpt.

The request that he recuse himself, meaning to not discuss or vote on issues where he has a conflict of interests, came from Anita Sherman of Glenwood Springs, who has raised the issue before at BOCC meetings.

Sherman first thanked Jankovsky for stating his opposition to SG Interests’ plans to use Four Mile Road as its haul route for trucks and other vehicles.

The company has applied for permits to drill two wells, with more applications expected, in the controversial Thompson Divide area.

Sherman then asked Jankovsky to withdraw from discussions about, and votes on anything related to SG Interests and the company’s plans to drill for gas in the Thompson Divide region, because he accepted campaign contributions from two principal officers of the company.

According to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, Jankovsky received a total of $10,000 from two officers of SG Interests – Lester Smith, listed as chairman, and Russell Gordy, listed as secretary and president.

When Sherman asked Jankovsky if he had taken contributions from SG Interests as a company, Jankovsky replied, “No, I did not.”

He later clarified that he had gotten contributions from the two individuals.

“I had probably $60,000 to $80,000 in outside money from a Colorado environmental coalition, which was spent against my campaign,” he said. “I had six or eight of those fliers coming at me … with ‘Jankovsky kills babies with benzene’ on them.”

His reference was to benzene, an organic compound known to cause cancer in humans that is commonly associated with natural-gas drilling activities.

In general, he said, “I raised money from the business community, more than from oil and gas.”

He quickly amended that statement, however, to say that contributions to his campaign were evenly spread among the oil and gas industry, the tourism industry and the business community.

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