Monday, May 16, 2011
Michael Cleverly, VIle's Aspen Bureau Chief
Submitted by: Editor

Original Company Town - Part 11

“Company Town” traces the evolution of the influence of the industries that have driven Aspen’s economic life from its boomtown silver and gold mining days to its growth into one of the premier ski resorts in the world. It also traces the changes in Aspen society, from its mining days, when basically no one had any class, to the freewheeling 70’s when the place was so democratic as to be a classless society, to today, when the entire town is essentially a gated community. The gates are not made of steel, they’re economic, and the society now is far from classless.

Let the games begin

Legend has it that Elizabeth Milias’ high school girlfriends threw a “Nancy Drew” party in which everyone was supposed to dress as a character from a Nancy Drew story, but not Nancy herself. Milias went as Nancy, claiming that she was Nancy Drew. Apparently family money and rules aren’t a good mix. It’s whispered that she went on to be a pencil carrier for Karl Rove, andwas then moved to the Pentagon to help sell “the surge.”

At some point Milias discovered retired businesswoman Marilyn Marks. It was a marriage made in one of the warmer circles of hell. Politically they were somewhere to the right of Anne Coulter only without her charm, or Mick Ireland’s charm, or the charm of a rattler having a bad day.

The two gave faces and voices to the political philosophy expounded by the Common Sense Alliance. While on one level it was refreshing to have people standing up for what they believed in, rather than lurking in the shadows like cowardly weasels, they were so obnoxious that before long just the sight of their names in print produced a reaction somewhat like that of chewing on a ball tinfoil.

The girls started The Red Ant Collation and a blog. They produced unbelievable volumes of copy, most of it aimed at running Mick Ireland out of office. Their attacks on Ireland were random, vicious and personal to a degree that one rarely sees in small town politics where everyone knows everyone.

In 2009 Marks, backed by pal Milias, ran for Mayor against Mick. She lost, but it seemed that that couldn’t be the end of it. Marks file lawsuit after lawsuit regarding the instant runoff process that Aspen had adopted to try to save some dough, and anything else all the high priced lawyers in the world could come up with. When one suit would be dismissed she’d get another one going. Basically she was trying to negate an entire election. The suits and political wrangling went on right until it was time to start thinking about the 2011 election. In the beginning it looked like Mick was going to run unopposed this time so the Red Ants brazenly announced they were going to run a smear campaign with Ireland as the target. The idea being that if an anti Mick candidate would step up, said candidate could run a clean campaign, not associated with Milias and Marks, and the  Red Ants would do the dirty work. When Aspen Times columnist Su Lum called Milias out in print, Milias responded with a letter to the editor so filled with hate and vitriol that the whole town was stunned. Milias ended her missive with, “Have a wonderful day, Su! I'm going skiing and then getting a massage. You?”

Elizabeth Milias

It should be noted that Su Lum is a tiny 74 year old woman, twice widowed, lives alone with her dogs and breaths with the aid of an oxygen tank.

Part 12: More M&M

Posted by Editor on 05/16/11 at 01:24 PM •  (0) Comments

Tags:  wealth, aspen, cleverly,

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"America does not have an aristocracy or a plutocracy."
Art Pope