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Fri June 10, 2005
Chair of Democratic Party Perks Raise Eyebrows
Laramie, Wy – Wyoming Democratic Party Chairman Mike
Gierau paid just 125 dollars for a huge suite at a Four Seasons resort at Teton Village just weeks before casting a vote that could benefit that resort.
Besides being state Democratic chairman, Gierau is a Teton County commissioner. As a commissioner he has voted twice in the past month in support of a plan that would benefit Four Seasons by allowing Teton Village to expand.
Those votes and his relatively small payment for a 22-hundred-square-foot presidential suite at Four Seasons-Jackson Hole are raising questions. Gierau paid just 125-dollars for the suite. During peak season, the suite goes for as much as four-thousand dollars.
Gierau denies any impropriety.
He says he sought a room at the resort in April and was upgraded to the presidential suite by his friend Paul Cherrett, who's the resort manager.
Cherrett says he often offers upgrades to friends. And Cherrett says Gierau recently steered a Democratic convention to the Four Seasons.
But Cherrett says he never talked about the Teton Village expansion with Gierau.
Also in April, Gierau went on an expenses-paid trip to Four Seasons in Las Vegas. That trip was paid for through a voucher Gierau received in 2003 from his colleagues at Jackson Hole Air improvement Resources.
Gierau is chairman of J-H-AIR, and the group's board members have included officials with Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. As with Four Seasons, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort also stands to benefit from the Teton Village proposal.
Gierau says he received the trip voucher as thanks for his work with J-H-AIR. Gierau was appointed to the commission this year, and says no one could have foreseen back then that he would be voting on the Teton Village proposal now.