Adam McCoyAdam McCoyMarch 20, 20182min660

DENVER — Instead of gushing revenue, oil and gas wells on Denver International Airport’s property are a money pit, with the airport losing more than $200,000 over a nine-month period last year, according to a new audit.

The audit coordinated by Denver Auditor Timothy O’Brien found DIA is losing money on oil and gas wells on its property through unprofitable wells and significant operating costs.

“The airport needs to take a closer look at whether it’s a good idea to continue operating wells that could be costing — instead of making — money on the airport’s land,” O’Brien said in a statement.

O’Brien’s office worked with accounting firm CliftonLarsonAllen LLP to probe operating expense reports from January 2017 to September 2017. Those reports showed DIA lost more than $220,000 on its wells over that period. Overall, it brought in $617,000.

Over the nine-month period, 26 of the 71 wells on DIA’s property were unprofitable. Six of the wells have been temporarily abandoned, which incurred minimal management/operating costs, while 20 other wells were not only operating at a loss, but expected to produce less and cost more to operate over time.

Denver contracts with PetroPro Engineering, Inc for operation and maintenance of the wells — a $3.6 million contract spanning November 2016 to October 2021 — but the audit found DIA was paying other contractors for work as well. In one example, DIA paid an outside firm $204,971 in September for work on one well while the average monthly cost to PetroPro, and outside companies, is $115,575.

The auditor’s office is recommending a well-by-well review at DIA.

“The airport should determine whether it should continue to produce oil and gas from these wells or shut them down to save money on maintenance and operations,” O’Brien’s office wrote in a statement.


Joey BunchJoey BunchMarch 17, 20183min241

Denver International Airport has owned oil wells since it opened in 1995, generating millions of dollars in revenue, but a new city audit found that in 2017 a third of the 71 wells were losing money. The audit also found while DIA has a contract with an operator, PetroPro Engineering, to manage the wells the airport paid even more to third party contractors.


Parking is the second-largest revenue driver for Denver International Airport, but according to City Auditor Timothy O’Brien, lax oversight with Lyft and Uber could be letting money slip through the cracks. In a report released Thursday, O’Brien found the airport charges Lyft and Uber $2.60 for each pickup and drop off at DIA. But the […]

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirFebruary 13, 20182min3131

She made a name for herself these past four years as the No. 2 at the Denver City Attorney’s Office. Now, Cristal Torres DeHerrera is moving over to Denver International Airport (which the airport’s marketing mavens insist on calling “DEN”) to become its chief of staff.

She’ll run the high-profile airport’s external affairs business unit, which means, according to a news release from the DIA press office:

“…DeHerrera will lead development of the airport’s strategies, policies and plans related to legislative and regulatory activities at the local, state and federal levels. DeHerrera will also be working closely with the airport executive team on a number of priority initiatives, including the public-private partnership to renovate DEN’s Great Hall with the Great Hall Partners, a team of local and international companies led by Ferrovial S.A.”

The news release included high praise from Denver Mayor Michael Hancock for DeHerrera’s tenure at the City Attorney’s Office:

“Cristal will be a phenomenal addition to the airport team … During her four years as deputy city attorney, she has grown to become a trusted advisor to my administration, a strong collaborator with our regional partners and a dedicated listener to our community, and she will remain a close and steadfast advisor. I am so pleased she will be staying with the city team and helping to lead the airport into its next great era.”

Her touted accomplishments as deputy city attorney have included leading the development of the governance structure for the National Western Center, for which she, “worked to ensure the governance structure fostered ongoing partnership, collaboration and engagement with the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods and that the National Western Center directly benefits the surrounding neighborhoods and residents for the foreseeable future.”


Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 10, 20184min569
Travelers through Denver International Airport at lunchtime Friday saw something unusual: security officers protesting instead of protecting. According to a press release, they marched through the Jeppsen Terminal demanding the city of Denver require its contractors to pay officers the same as such airport workers as custodians and parking attendants. “In a city so robust […]

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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyFebruary 5, 20183min2238

In recent years, airline fees have made up roughly half of Denver International Airport’s operating revenue. That’s why DIA needs to improve its efforts to ensure airlines pay what they owe.

That’s the gist of a new review from Denver City Auditor Timothy O’Brien’s office. The report looked at progress made on 14 recommendations from a 2016 audit. That earlier review found what O’Brien’s office characterized as “weakness” that affected the airport’s ability to effectively collect some revenue from airlines flying out of DIA.

“Airlines are one of the largest sources of revenue for the airport,” O’Brien said in a statement. “It’s essential to make sure the money is managed efficiently and effectively.”

In fact, O’Brien’s office noted independently audited financial statements for DIA show in 2014, 2015 and 2016, airline revenue represented 54 percent, 50 percent and 47 percent respectively of the total airline operating revenues.

In the recent audit, O’Brien’s office outlines that DIA often receives money from airlines but doesn’t properly document the payments in invoices, or they are misapplied. Airport staff then have to reconcile disputed transactions, which could otherwise result in disputed accrued interest penalties.

DIA has improved, as recommended in the 2016 audit, on its billing process for airlines changing their use of space in the terminal, concourses and/or hangars, but “there are still flaws in the timely billing of these changes, identifying new rates and generating new invoices,” O’Brien said.

“We found airline space changes that occurred between January 2017 and June 2017 that had not been billed to airlines as of Nov. 1, 2017,” the auditor’s office said in a statement, adding some change bills weren’t processed for as much as eight months. “The goal is to get space change billing updated within 30 days.”

The audit also found flaws in DIA’s training of staff to ensure there were no gaps in billing duties and tracking airport space inspections.

DIA did improve in areas, O’Brien’s office said, including DIA’s senior vice president of airline affairs now reviewing airline use and lease agreements twice a year, with new controls in place to monitor airline compliance with the agreements.


Ernest LuningErnest LuningDecember 9, 20175min1764

State Rep. Steve Lebsock, the Thornton Democrat facing complaints he sexually harassed a fellow lawmaker and a former lobbyist, on Friday chastised social media denizens who've been heaping criticism on state Rep. Lori Saine, the Firestone Republican arrested and jailed this week at Denver International Airport for bringing a loaded handgun to a security checkpoint.