Sunday, December 11, 2016



                                            



UPDATES WILL BE POSTED BELOW


FACT: The Hardrock 100 has violated their Special Recreational Permit with the Forest Service and BLM by intentionally breaking the law, engaging in repeated and numerous acts of dishonesty, performing illegal, unpermitted and dangerous trail work, and concealing for 14 years that  they have been making fake picks in their lottery  and passing them off as bona-fide.  They tried to imply that

the BLM has approved their lottery fakery, but there is no evidence of this.



SUMMARY

The Hardrock 100 is possibly the premier 100 mile run in the country. This year, in this public race on public land, the HR100 only gave 42 spots to 1722 hopeful entrants who had never run the race before, reserving the remaining 100  slots for a largely male group of 243 people (only 45 were female), all of whom had previously run this bucket list, "life changing race," many of them from 5 to 20 times.  Even worse, the Hardrock 100 has been inserting fake picks into their yearly lottery and passing them off as genuine, random picks. Because the HR100 rules provide that the more often someone finishes the race the more likely they are to get in again, these fake-picks have a greatly increased chance of entry in future lotteries. 

Despite yearly complaints about the obvious favoratism of the results and the fact the HR100 lottery is held in secret, all the HR100 has previously done to guarantee the integrity of the lottery is "live-tweet" the picks as they are drawn, claiming, "Short of inviting the general public into my living room, this is about as public as we can get."  However, in 2014, after an unusual number of elite athletes got in via the secret lottery, Race Director Dale Garland was asked by Matt Hart of outsideonline whether he was responsible, and for the first time ever, it was publicly revealed that the HR was making secret picks every year.   Nevertheless, the Hardrock 100 continued to conceal the fact of their secret picks, not listing them on their Rules of the Lottery page or factoring them into the odds of winning they publish each year. In fact, they did not add the fact they were making secret picks to their website until January of 2016, after we raised the issue in a public forum. And, they STILL have not publicly admitted that they are passing fake picks off as genuine, random picks.

The Hardrock 100 claims that the reason they kept these fake picks secret for 14 years and  go through the elaborate procedures required to pass them off as bona-fide, is to preserve the confidentiality of the chosen "few."  Other big 100 mile races are very up front about who they let in, but the Hardrock seems to be suggesting carnage would ensue if they revealed their fake picks.  If you have secretly been making more than 5 picks every year, admitting to making only 5 and refusing to identify them is a good smokescreen.


Hardrock states that they use these fake picks on 3 types of people, "a runner who has tried for many years to enter, or who has given exceptional service to the HR, or that Hardrock thinks will bring added interest to the run." This explanation is weak because , in the first case, the Hardrock already has a system in place where the chances of getting into the race double each year that a runner is not selected, and there would be no reason to keep this kind of selection secret; in the second case, the Hardrock 100 has always has a "Service Ticket" system in place which rewards runners for service to the Hardrock, and there would also be no reason to keep this kind of a fake pick secret.  


Additionally, to avoid running a dishonest lottery, the Hardrock could simply have done what the Wasatch 100 does and state in their rules that they reserve the right to make 5 picks.  In January of 2016, after we pushed the issue, the Hardrock added a statement to their Rules Page which said that were adding runners "in addition" to those chosen in the lottery.  This newly listed rule neglected to mention that these runners are added during the lottery at random times and passed off as bona-fide picks so that no one can audit the results.


As a result of our efforts, the HR100 has eliminated the $10 fee they charged for a miniscule chance at entry and offered to refund the $17,000 they took in this year, and they also added the fact they are making secret picks to their rules page (though they still have not publicly admitted that they are passing these off as bona-fide picks).  Additionally, the HR100 told the

Denver Post that they would have independent observers at the lottery this year, for the first time ever, "in order to add a level of transparency."

But, neither of these independent observers, Heather Sackett writing for Ultrarunning Magazine and Ian Torrence, wrote about  the part where the HR100 inserts fake picks into the lottery and passes them off as genuine, random picks to avoid accountability.  
There is no longer any question the HR is doing this, in RD Blake Wood's words, "Dale comes armed with his ordered list of those he would like to see in the run, and makes his picks at times of his choosing in the appropriate lottery...As the lottery progresses, Dale will chime in "I want to make my next pick at #55", and we will pause the drawing then to get his name." Then the HR100 "live-tweets" these names, and later they post photos of the tickets as though they had actually been drawn.  This is a fact which the Hardrock has refused to make public.


One of these "independent" observers did write about the 'honesty and veneration' with which the lottery was conducted, but it appears that both of these writers deliberately chose not to write about the lottery fakery. Obviously, it would be difficult to write about the honesty and veneration with which fake picks are passed off as bona fide.


After these dishonest reports were published, RD Blake Wood immediately took to FB to tell thousands of people to read these articles because they "give an honest and accurate appraisal of how we conducted this Hardrock lottery." 


Of course, the Hardrock  can't just come out and say, "By the way, we have been inserting fake picks into our secret lottery for the last 14 years and passing them off as bona-fide picks, and even though our lottery is secret, we still inserted these picks at random times, just in case we got busted someday, but we promise, it is only 5 fake picks a year."  It is incredible to believe the Hardrock would engage in such dishonest, elaborate subterfuge merely to keep 5 picks secret, and most likely that they have been inserting many more than 5 fake picks into their yearly lottery.



As detailed below, the Hardrock has violated its permit in several other ways, including deliberately holding a lottery they knew was illegal and not offering to refund the $17,000 they took in this year until they were busted.



Our only goal is to get the Hardrock to implement a public, fair, honest and transparent lottery, like that of Western States 100, which allows the Race Directors to choose 20% of the field, but only on a fully disclosed basis.


Please continue reading for more information and verification of these allegations.



UPDATE 12/20/2016

When the issue of secret picks was first being discussed, Hardrock 100 Board President Kris Kern stated, "“Our permit is granted by the BLM with review from (I think) 7 jurisdictions. Never in those reviews have there been any questions about our conduct of the event, and yes they look very carefully.”  We didn't believe them then and we don't believe them now.  The BLM would never approve of the Hardrock 100 making fake picks in the lottery and passing them off as genuine, so we filed a FOIA with the BLM, and it turns out there was no record of any documents or communications between the Hardrock and the BLM relating to secret picks!

Stay tuned, coming in the new year: new details on the illegal, unpermitted and dangerous trailwork done by the Hardrock in La Junta Basin; allegations of more illegal and unpermitted trail work done by a Hardrock trail-crew leader on Grants Swamp Pass, with, as usual, no repercussions; and our open letter to the BLM and Forest Service asking why the Hardrock 100 is allowed to violate their Special Use Permit by engaging in numerous and repeated acts of dishonesty and intentional violations of the law.



Thank you for all the support!

                                                                      
As a result of our efforts, the Hardrock 100 has eliminated the $10 non-refundable fee they charged for a small chance of entry, and, for the first time ever, added the fact they make secret picks to their rules page.  We believe this is a good start, but the biggest issues still remain.

The HR100 rule page incorrectly says, "“In addition to those selected via the lottery, Hardrock may also select up to 5 runners for entry.”  However, these secret picks are not selected "in addition" to those selected in the lottery, they are selected during the lottery and then  passed off as actual, random picks by live-tweeting the name and a photo of the ticket. Hardrock 100 attorney Fred Abramowitz claims, "other than the five selections, the lottery was conducted exactly as stated on the website,"  but we are not so sure.


This year, in response to our allegations of impropriety, the Hardrock 100 had two observers at the privately held lottery, telling the Denver Post that the obervers were there, "in order to add a level of transparency,"  and in a Facebook posting read by several thousand people, Blake Woods asked everyone to read these independent observers' detailed write-ups of the lottery process, saying they "give an honest and accurate appraisal of how we conducted this Hardrock lottery."


Sadly, although one of these "independent observers wrote about the "honesty and veneration" with which the lottery was conducted, neither wrote about the part which is no longer in dispute, but which the HR has still not publicly admitted to,  the part where HR100 inserts fake picks into the lottery and then passes them off as genuine, random picks.


The Hardrock 100 concealed the fact of these fake picks for 14 years.  Admitting to making 5 secret picks is  simply a half-clever attempt to explain the obvious favoratism of the results and passing these picks off as genuine, random picks is their attempt to avoid accountability.  In concealing these secret picks and the elaborate process whereby they are passed off as genuine, the Hardrock has  demonstrated little integrity  and there is no reason to believe they only  make 5 fake picks each year.  It is just as easy to make 5 fake picks and pass them off as genuine as it is to make 6 or 8 or 15 fake picks.  


The Hardrock 100 rules also provide that the "luckier" someone gets in the lottery, the more likely they are to get into the race again in the future. This year, the Hardrock only offered 42 spots to  1700 hopefuls who had never run the race before, while reserving 100 spots for a group of about 250 people, a largely male group, who have been very "lucky" in the lottery,  many of whom have run the race 10 and 20 times.


Please read below for a fuller explanation.


December 5, 2016



Our goal is to get the Hardrock 100 to adopt a fair and transparent lottery system so that this public race on public land will truly be open to all, and not just the select few.

The Hardrock 100 is a public race on public land, and is the most popular 100 mile race in the United States.  When they applied for their permit, the Hardrock 100 stated,


“The objective of the proposal is to allow the public to participate in a high elevation, ultra trail run in a safe and environmentally responsible manner…The event would permit the fast-growing community of recreational ultra-endurance runners to participate…on one of the most unique and challenging courses in the world…those who complete this unique and difficult course consider it one of lifetime’s great achievements.” 


Due to the overwhelming demand to enter this race the Hardrock 100 has developed a lottery system.  However, the lottery is illegal, unfair, and is held in secret.  In addition, we have discovered that the Hardrock 100 has been pretending to draw names during the lottery, and then passing them off as genuine picks.

In addition to inserting fake picks, the Hardrock 100, in what is supposed to be a public race, has  made up rules which provide that people who have been “lucky” in the lottery, whether as a result of actual or fake picks,  have a greatly increased chance of getting in again in the future.  Out of 145 available spots, only 42 are allotted to the public.  Almost 70% of the spots are doled out based on the Race Directors’ discretionary rules and are given out to a group of about 250 people who have already run the race before, some of them 10 and 20 times.  Since this group is overwhelmingly comprised of males, this rule also discriminates against females.  Since the lottery is held in secret and they have developed a complicated maneuver to conceal their fake picks, there is no way to know if the Hardrock 100 is only pretending to pick 5 names every year or many more.



This year over 1700 members of the public who have never run the race competed for only 42 spots.  To earn the right to compete for a miniscule chance in the lottery, these 1700 people had to complete a separate, very difficult 100 mile race and pay non-refundable fees totaling over $17,000.  These runners have spent years of their lives trying to qualify and stay qualified for the Hardrock lottery,  and with all the blood, sweat and tears expended, it is inexcusable for the Hardrock 100 to act with less than the utmost integrity.


 Demonstrating a consistent pattern of dissembling, the Hardrock 100 has also claimed, several times, that their lottery is in absolute compliance with all state and federal laws. This is false, they are in violation of numerous federal laws and the laws of New Mexico and Colorado.


Despite numerous claims to the contrary, the Hardrock 100 has also, on at least one occasion, allowed favored runners to enter the race without running a valid qualifier.


 We have tried to work with the Hardrock 100 in private to reform the current system, but they have refused to work with us.  They have responded with little more than bluff and bluster, demonstrated a pattern of dissembling and confabulation, and announced that they stand ready to litigate the issue.  

We simply ask that the Hardrock 100 obey the law and adopt the rules of the Western States 100, which require a public drawing, and allow the Race Directors to pick 20% of the field on a discretionary, but fully disclosed basis.


 Thank you!  Also, please share on social media!


 P.S. If you are aware of, or simply suspect any other acts of favoritism or wrongdoing by the Hardrock 100, or if you are one of the thousands of aggrieved lottery entrants and would like to discuss other remedies, please contact us by email at waaron1@yahoo.com


Include “hardrock” in the header and briefly detail which years you were denied entry and the effort you put into qualifying.  All responses will be kept confidential.


Aaron Denberg
04 Canyon Ranch Rd.
Big Horn, WY
82833
Colorado Attorney Registration # 34327

======================================


Dear [Government Official],

We are writing to inform you of numerous legal violations committed by the Hardrock 100, a nonprofit  incorporated in Colorado which holds an illegal lottery in New Mexico.  The Hardrock 100 is the preeminent 100 mile run in the United States and is run mostly on Federal land in southwest Colorado.  Thousands of people spend years of their lives trying to qualify for this race, and because so many people want to get into this race, the Hardrock 100 has developed a raffle system. Unfortunately, they have always held this raffle in secret and the results have always brought complaints of favoritism. The only response from the Hardrock 100 has been assertions of transparency and honesty. However, in January of 2016, they privately admitted that they have been making fake picks during the raffle and “live-tweeting” these fake picks along with pictures of the tickets which were never actually drawn.

This year, 1700 entrants who have never had a chance to run this race were vying for only  42 spots, and each one of these applicants had to complete a different, predetermined 100 mile run along with paying non-refundable fees totaling over $17,000.  Meanwhile, a smaller pool of about 250 people, all of whom had run the race before, many from 5 to 20 times, were given 100 spots.  Among the other violations listed below, the Hardrock 100 has been pretending to pick names during their raffle.  This amounts to at least 75 fake picks in the last 15 years, however given their pattern of dissembling, it is probable they have fake-picked many times that number. They have also developed a rule system which provides that the “luckier” one gets in the raffle, the greater their chances of winning in the future.  This has resulted in a situation where a small group of runners are almost guaranteed entry into the race for their 6th to 20th time, while the vast majority of the applicants have a miniscule chance of getting in.

When we first raised the issue of these fake picks on the Hardrock 100 Yahoo User Group, Hardrock 100 Board President Kris Kern responded,
       

“Our permit is granted by the BLM with review from (I think) 7 jurisdictions. Never in those reviews have there been any questions about our conduct of the event, and yes they look very carefully.”





It is unlikely that these 7 jurisdictions would approve the fraud and misrepresentation inherent in making and concealing these fake picks, and it is far more likely that the Hardrock 100 did not disclose these fake picks  during the permitting process.  We have made a FOIA request to discover exactly what, if anything, the Hardrock 100 told these agencies about the fake picks they were making.





There are numerous other legal violations listed below and we think this problem can be resolved if the Hardrock 100 will agree to immediately abandon their current fraudulent system and adopt the entry procedures of the Western States 100, the oldest 100 mile run in the United States.  Unlike the Hardrock 100, the Western States 100 has a fully open and transparent lottery, they hold their drawing in public and they detail exactly how they alot their discretionary picks.  Like Western States 100, the Hardrock 100 should have 20% of their picks be discretionary and be allowed to use these picks however they want, on elite runners, friends and family, industry insiders, sponsors, people who spend a lot of money in Silverton, or investment bankers who can help turn Silverton into Telluride, but they should not be allowed to keep their picks secret.





The Hardrock 100 has violated the law and their Special Use Permit in at least the following respects:


1.  The Hardrock 100 has committed numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation in connection with their raffle.





2.  The Hardrock 100 raffle is illegal under federal law and the laws of New Mexico and Colorado.





3.  The Hardrock 100 has breached their contract with thousands of prospective entrants by not following their own printed rules, and omitting material facts from their website.





4.  The Hardrock 100's misrepresentations about the conduct of the raffle violate the Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.


5.  The Hardrock 100 has wrongfully deprived qualified runners of an entry by violating their own rules and allowing a "favored person's" son to run the race, even though he was not properly qualified.


6.  The Hardrock 100 has engaged in illegal, unpermitted, reckless, dangerous and destructive "trail work."


7.  The Hardrock 100’s Entry Selection Procedures violate Equal Protection Laws.


            8.  The Hardrock 100 has still not released their 2015 tax returns to us, despite several requests.








1.      Hardrock 100 has committed numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation in connection with this raffle.





In private emails with race director Blake Wood, we discovered in January of 2016 that every year during their raffle, the Hardrock 100 pretends to draw names they didn't actually draw.  Then, to demonstrate their transparency and honesty, they "live-tweet" the names of these fake picks and also tweet pictures of the tickets they didn’t actually draw.  This is fraud under federal law (18 US Code 1001), the laws of Colorado (CO Stat. 18-5-301) and New Mexico(NM Stat. 30-16-6).





This has never before been publicly revealed, but in Race Director Blake Wood’s own words,



“He [Dale Garland] decides when he is going to use one of his picks, and when we get to that point his pick is inserted…We also tweet them out… At the end of the drawing we dig out an actual ticket for the runner[s] he picked and we put a placeholder on the poster board… we post photos of the poster boards on our website after the drawing.”


When we raised the issue of these fake picks on a public forum (Yahoo User Group for Hardrock 100) Hardrock Board President Kris Kern asserted, 


"The Board has discussed this at various times over the years, so it’s not a secret."

Obviously, the Board discussing these fake picks in private is not evidence that they were not secret.  These fake picks never appeared on the Hardrock 100's webpage before January of this year (after we raised the issue in a public forum), they have never been calculated into the odds of winning before this year, nor have they ever been disclosed on the Hardrock 100's rules of the lottery page.  Moreover, when Hardrock 100 finally disclosed these secret picks on their webpage this year, they continued their pattern of dissembling by simply stating,


In addition to those selected via the lottery, Hardrock may also select up to 5 runners for entry.”

These fake picks are not selected in addition to the lottery, they are selected during the lottery and, in a relatively complicated maneuver, passed off as actual picks. 

Further, when we asked Blake Wood why the Hardrock will not hold the lottery in public as it would assure transparency and put an end to the yearly complaints of favoritism, he contradicted the Hardrock 100 President's assertion that these fake picks were "not a secret," replying, 


"Short of inviting the general public into my living room, this is about as public as we can get...As I previously mentioned, we DO have a live tweet feed. Having a live audio, video, or entirely public lottery would not work with our desire to keep "Dale's Picks" confidential."

It is disingenuous for the Hardrock 100 to assert that “live-tweeting” names and pictures of the drawn tickets is a guarantee of transparency when they are actually using these live-tweets to conceal the fake picks.

2.       The raffle is illegal under federal law and the laws of both New Mexico and Colorado.


The Hardrock 100 conducts the illegal raffle every year in Blake Wood's living room in Los Alamos New Mexico.  The Hardrock 100 is not a 'qualified organization' under  NM l60-2F-4, they do not conduct the raffle in public as required under New Mexico law, nor do they spend any of the proceeds in New Mexico, but spend them all in Colorado.  In addition, the Hardrock 100 is in violation of  various reporting and registration requirements of the state of New Mexico.

The Hardrock 100 raffle is illegal under Colorado law because the Hardrock 100 has not been a qualified organization for 5 years, it is violating C.R.S. 6-16-111, 12-9-102.3, C.R.S. §12-9-102(19.3), 8 CCR 1505-9 10.2, CRS 6-16-104(9), 6-16-104, 6-16-111, and 7-128-401, just to name a few,  Addtionally, the Hardrock 100 is violating various reporting and registration requirements of the state of Colorado.

In what has become a pattern in our dealings with the Hardrock 100, they have taken great pains to cover up the fact they have been running an illegal raffle.  When I first suggested they were not in compliance with the law, on the Yahoo Hardrock 100 User Group, Hardrock 100 Board President Kris Kern wrote,


“Just to make it clear: The HRH Board had the lottery process reviewed by our legal council. They assured us that it is legal under CO law.”

But, when I asked for their raffle license, the Hardrock 100 lawyered up and their attorney, Fred Abromovitz, informed me that,

"the lottery established by Hardrock is not in violation of Colorado gaming or any other state or federal laws."

Abromivitz also suggested that we had somehow committed an ethical violation by “threatening to take this up with the relevant governmental agencies,” informed us that we were no longer allowed to contact the Race Directors of the Hardrock 100, and in response to our legally authorized request for their tax returns and raffle license, replied,
  
            "Hardrock is under no obligation to provide them to you and at my recommendation will    
             decline to do so."


We continued to question Abromivitz, and despite his earlier assurances that the Hardrock 100 was in complete compliance with the raffle laws, on January 28, 2016, he finally admitted that the Hardrock 100 did not in fact have a raffle license,

"Hardrock takes the position that it is not a “raffle” in that no “prize" is offered and thus they don’t need a license. Entry into the race has no intrinsic value, cannot be bought or sold, and merely entitles the person to enter the race. Is this a settled question?  No. You want to challenge it in a court of law? Have at it. You win, they’ll get rid of the fee, and you’ll be taking money from their charities.”

Anticipating this argument, we had previously asked Mr. Dominic Lieurence, Acting Executive Director of the New Mexico Gaming Authority, and Lawrence Runn, Nonprofits Lead Investigator for the Colorado Department of State, whether or not a hypothetical race like the Hardrock 100’s would have to have a raffle license, and both agencies expressed the opinion that a under New Mexico and Colorado law, not only would a lottery like the Hardrock’s have to apply for a raffle license, both states expressed the opinion that a lottery like the Hardrock’s would be illegal.

We explicitly told the Hardrock that both New Mexico and Colorado considered their raffle to be illegal, and provided names so they could check, but they held the raffle anyway! 

3.       Hardrock 100 has breached their contract with thousands of people in the conduct of this raffle.


Thousands of people have spent years trying to qualify and stay qualified to enter the Hardrock 100.  These people justifiably relied on Hardrock 100’s numerous assertions of honesty and integrity, their printed rules, their published odds of winning, and their elaborate algorithm, and believed that the Hardrock 100 would actually operate with integrity and follow the rules.  These people ran a qualifier and paid non-refundable fees, totaling near $20,000 this year.  Along with inserting fake picks into the lottery, the Hardrock 100 has misrepresented and omitted material facts in their rules and this has caused significant damage.


4.       The Hardrock 100's misrepresentations about the conduct of the raffle is a violation of the Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.


Unfair and deceptive trade practices are,"activity by an individual or business that is meant to mislead or lure the public into purchasing a product or service, e.g., false advertising." 
The Hardrock 100’s webpage misrepresents and omits many important facts, and at the same time touts the "honesty, integrity and professionalism of our management.”  There is an extensive explanation of the rules of the lottery and an elaborate algorithm has been developed, all of which constitute false advertising as they are designed to convince people of the integrity of a lottery which has always been run in a fraudulent fashion.  A lottery which brought in $20,000 in non-refundable fees this year.


5.       The Hardrock 100 has ignored their own rules to allow a favored person's son into the race even though he was not properly qualified.


In December of 2015, on the Hardrock 100 User Group, in response to my accusation that the Hardrock 100 was breaking their own rules to favor their friends and family.  Race Director Blake Wood demonstrated the Hardrock 100’s pattern of dissembling when he wrote,


"You also suggested in another posting that we let runners in without qualifiers. This is not true - we check that every applicant has a valid qualifier.... In short, we invest enormous time and effort into ensuring our lottery is fair, accurate, transparent, non-corrupt, and auditable. I think your insinuation that we dishonestly rig things to favor our friends is unfair and indefensible.”


However, shortly after this, researching along the obvious lines of nepotism, we discoverd that the Hardrock 100 actually does “dishonestly rig things to favor their friends and family.”    For example, in 2007 a favored person's son was let into the race even though he didn't properly qualify.  Not only did this deprive a properly qualified runner of their fair shot at the race, the unqualified runner dropped out after about 5 miles.  


It took us three tries to get the Hardrock 100 to admit that it violated the rules to let a favored person's son into the race. Race Director Dale Garland first told us a story about how this favored person had gained entry into the race, 


“There were years when spots outnumbered applicants and we had a process which asked those who wanted to run Hardrock who hadn't run a qualifier to document any equivalent mountain experience(s) that they had that would prepare them for Hardrock…if memory serves that's what [RD’s son] used to gain entry.”


This story was incorrect. There has been a waitlist for the Hardrock 100 every year since at least 2000, and Dale Garland, who knows everything about the race, should know this very well. Additionally, there were 200 people on the wait list that year, all of whom deserved to run before the unqualified favored person’s son, and we are aware of at least one runner who was on the wait list that year and in Silverton ready to run. 


In response to this story, we replied,

“thanks for your reply dale.  I have checked, and it looks like there were at least 200 applicants for the 2007 running.  would you mind double checking jimmy wrublik's qualifier?”

Dale Responded,

I'm having Blake check his historical data for the answer to your question. What source of information are you consulting for your information? (that may make it easier for Blake).”

And then Blake Wood responded,

“I checked  on UltraSignup and see that Jimmy ran HURT in 2005, 2006, and 2007 - any of them would have been a valid qualifier for 2007.”

We pointed out that this too was incorrect since running 100k is not a proper qualifier,

“Dale, please try again.  Wrublik only ran the 100k versions of hurt in 2005, and 2006 and 2007 hurt was not a valid qualifier for 2007 hr.”

 Blake Wood responded,

Although our list of qualifiers specified that they be finished in 2005 and 2006 for the 2007 Hardrock, we also counted the HURT 100 mile in 2007, since it was run in January, before our lottery at the beginning of February.  The point of qualifiers is to ensure a runner is ready for Hardrock, etc., etc... Aaron is right though about HURT in 2005 and 2006 - Jimmy did the 100k in those years, not the 100 mile, according to UltraSignup.”


Hurt 2007 was NOT a valid qualifier for the 2007 Hardrock, and no other runner was given an opportunity to use that race as a qualifier that year.  It took several days and a lot of effort to get the Hardrock 100 to admit to this violation of the rules.


6.        The Hardrock 100 has engaged in illegal, unpermitted, reckless, dangerous and destructive "trail work."


Based on results of FOIA requests, we believe the Hardrock 100 has violated its Special Use Permit several times by doing illegal, unpermitted, destructive and dangerous trail work. The most egregious example of this occurred in the Norwood Ranger District in the first week of July, 2011. About 25-30 people met in Telluride Town Park where Race Director Rick Denesik brought tools for everyone to use. Race Director Rick Trujillo, who was trying to find a way from the Bear Creek drainage into the Bridal Veil drainage to avoid the 'armed guard' and closure of the upper Bear Creek Trail, led the work party. 


Work began at a large talus field (probably a dangerous rock glacier) which stretched from the base of the upper cliffs all the way down to the Bear Creek drainage. The trail across the talus field had been covered by rock fall as the talus field is very unstable.


At first, people carefully moved rocks, but inevitably someone slipped and a rock went bounding down the talus field. Eventually, after no screams were heard from below, 25 people were enthusiastically “trundling” (heaving rocks off the slope and watching them careen down). Very predictably with this amount of trundling, the slope gave way and several small rock falls let loose, releasing thousands of small to medium sized rocks over a period of about 15-30 seconds. Amazingly, as often happens in the mountains, nobody was hurt, but the results could very easily have been much worse, and the trail work party descended immediately after this rockfall.  The Forest Service would never have given permission for a bunch of untrained yahoos to go trundling on an unstable slope or fail to check the runout zone.


In 2013, the Hardrock 100 sanctimoniously and hypocritically removed Leadville 100 from its list of qualifying runs because,


"the 2013 Leadville 100 ignored other traits of importance to the HR: environmental responsibility, support of the hosting community, and having a positive impact on the health of our sport."

It is unfair for the Leadville 100 to be removed as a qualifier for lack of environmental responsibility when the Hardrock 100's lack of environmental responsibility is so much more flagrant.

7.      The Hardrock 100’s Entry Selection Procedures violate Equal Protection Laws.

The Environmental Assessment prepared by the Hardrock 100 for the Tres Rios BLM states that trail runners are a fast growing group and that,

“The objective of the proposal is to allow the PUBLIC [emphasis supplied] to participate in a high elevation, ultra trail run in a safe and environmentally responsible manner…The event would permit the fast-growing community of recreational ultra-endurance runners to participate…on one of the most unique and challenging courses in the world…those who complete this unique and difficult course consider it one of lifetime’s great achievements.”


The current Entry Selection Procedures heavily favor those who have already run this race and deny an equal chance at entry to thousands of equally qualified runners.  As “one of the most unique and challenging courses in the world, one of lifetime’s great achievements,” and the only opportunity for a “safe and environmentally responsible” race, all qualified applicants should be given an equal chance to enter. However, under the current rules, a small group of about 40 people who have run the race 5 to 20 times are virtually guaranteed an entry, and another 200 or so people who have already run the race from 1 to 4 times have a greatly increased chance of getting in.  Meanwhile, thousands of people who have put years into qualifying have only a fractional chance of getting in.


 Additionally, the qualifying rules are unintelligible.  For many years, simply starting the Hardrock 100 within the last 5 years was considered to be a valid qualifier.  Under this rule, about 5 or 6 runners who came to Silverton early every year and appeared to spend a bunch of money there, were able to accumulate nearly 30 DNF’s between them.  As detailed above, Hardrock 100 has allowed a Race Director’s son to run the race without a valid qualifier, but did not provide this opportunity to everyone else.  HURT 100 and Western States were considered  valid qualifiers for many years, but then inexplicably removed.  Likewise, the Leadville 100 was considered a valid qualifier but, as detailed above, was removed for hypocritical reasons.  Leadville finishers are qualified to run the Hardrock 100 and should be given an equal chance to enter the lottery.  Additionally, there are numerous other 100 and 200 mile runs which would demonstrate that a runner is qualified to run the Hardrock 100.  The Hardrock 100 has developed some standards on what qualifies as a qualifying run, buy the end result is entirely subjective.

Hardrock 100 originally developed this rule, which provides that “lucky” runners will have greatly increased luck in future drawings, to give preference to runners who ran the race in the early years before there was a waitlist, and who helped to make the run a success. This was fair, because these people actually contributed something to growing the race.

However, the Hardrock is now a success and there has been a waitlist every year since 2000, so giving preference to people who have already run the race, gotten “lucky,” does not provide equal protection to all the runners who have never gotten to run the race but are equally qualified.  The Hardrock 100 claims that rewarding “lucky” runners provides “an ideal mix of the old and new,” but all it does is enshrine their fraud and ensure that all the fraudulent picks get grandfathered into the race.

The Hardrock 100 should adopt Western States entry procedures, as these would obviate any Equal Protection problems.  Additionally, the Hardrock 100 should be required to develop qualifying standards which are completely objective, for example based on amount of climbing and average time of finish only, so that all qualified runners get a chance to enter, not just those who finish favored races.


8.         It took several months and several requests to get the HR100 to release their 990's and they have decline to answer whether these are amended 990's and whether they were on public display in July of 2015


We have made several requests for the 2015 990's.  First, on January 20, 2016 we requested them from Race Director Dale Garland.  Instead of providing the 990's, as he is legally required to do, he contacted the Hardrock 100 attorney, Fred Abromovitz who immediately wrote telling us we could no longer contact his client and refusing to provide either a copy of the Hardrock 100 990's or their raffle license.


On January 26, 2016 we informed Mr. Abramovitz that he was legally required to provide the 990's, and we did receive them for 2013 and 2014, but not 2015.


We renewed our request for the 2015 990's in late June of 2016 but have still have received nothing but a letter from the Hardrock 100 accountant in August,  stating that they were in the process of preparing the 2015 return and would send it  when they were finished. However, our understanding is that the 2015 990's had to be filed by May 2016. Additionally, the Hardrock 100 held a public meeting in Silverton in July of 2016 where the 2015 990's were allegedly on hand for public inspection.  We asked their lawyer whether the return had been filed in May, whether it was on public display in July, 2016, and whether the Hardrock 100’s accountants were preparing an amended return.  He declined to address these issues.

Where there’s Smoke, there’s Mirrors


Having detailed the legal violations, we turn now to the Hardrock 100’s response to our discovery of their fake picks.  The Hardrock 100 claims that they only fake-pick and conceal 5 names every year, which would still be 75 fake picks and concealments in the last 15 years.  However, it doesn’t take any more effort for the race directors to collude in making 5 fake picks than it does for them to collude in making 25 fake picks, and given all the dissembling and confabulation coming from the Hardrock 100, it is difficult to believe that they only made 5 fake picks each year.  More likely, they only admitted to making 5 fake picks to explain the obvious favoritism of the results, and to conceal the fact they were fake-picking many more names.  This also implies that they reject actually drawn names for personal, political or financial reasons.


Transparency and accountability are the twin guiding lights for non profits, but according to Blake Wood, Dale Garland makes his fake picks at wholly random times.  There is no other reason for this than to ensure lack of transparency.  It would be much easier to just insert the names at the end, and unless they have been trying to conceal their fake picks from Putin, for example, inserting fake picks at random times serves only to guarantee that there can be no accountability


Instead of all this subterfuge, the Hardrock 100 could simply have done what the Wasatch 100 does and state in their rules that, 


“The race committee reserves the right to select and admit 5 at large runners in addition to those chosen in the drawing.”

The Wasatch 100 rarely uses these at-large picks and, although they don't disclose them, they also don't keep them secret, meaning any interested party could figure out who had been picked.  No one ever complains about the Wasatch 100's 5 picks because unlike the Hardrock, they hold their raffle in public, adhere to their rules, and most importantly, they don’t try to pass off fake picks as genuine.


Runners have been complaining about the favoritism inherent in the results of the raffle for at least the past 15 years.  It seems like the following groups have been favored in the raffle:


Runners who come to Silverton early spend a bunch of money and stay in hotels owned by Race Directors, friends and family of the race directors, industry insiders, elite runners, race directors from this and other races, investment bankers and others likely to help turn Silverton into Telluride,  people coached by Jason Koop of Carmichael Training Systems, top male and female athletes from Solomon running have gotten in almost every year for the last 10 years, and in 2016, after Altra shoes became a diamond level sponsor of the Hardrock 100, at least 5  people with a connection to Altra got in.

The Race Directors of the Hardrock 100 appear to have succumbed to ordinary human temptation, but when you consider the thousands of runners who have expended years of their lives and gallons of blood, sweat and tears to qualify for a small chance of winning in the raffle, it is clear that the Hardrock 100 needs to take the simple step of  adopting a transparent and accountable system like that of Western States 100.

Thank you,

Aaron Denberg
CO Atty. Reg. 34327








                                                CORRESPONDENCE


In January of 2016, I accused the Hardrock 100 of various unfair and illegal practices, you can see the thread here,https://beta.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/HR100/conversations/topics/3882

This is the email history starting with Dale Garland’s response to my posting on the Hardrock 100 User Group.


Jan 14 at 9:41 AM
To       
awdenberg@yahoo.com
Message body
Good Morning Aaron,
I have purposely waited to respond to your posts until I could sort out what I think is relevant for me to comment on. Obviously as the run director of Hardrock I have my feelings and ideas about how things should be done but I must admit I am not sure what prompted your  posts yesterday. I am emailing you personally rather responding to the group because I believe doing so is the better way to address my concerns. I would hope that if you choose to respond that you'll extend me the same courtesy and professionalism.
As an educator  and leadership advisor for the past 24 years I must express my concern about some things that I observed from the exchange of posts over the past 24 hours.

1. To my knowledge there was no communication between you and me or you and the Hardrock board as to how and/or why we conduct the lottery the way we do, the policies and procedures of Hardrock or anything else that you questioned or made comment. One of my basic tenets in teaching leadership comes from Stephen Covey's idea of first attempt to understand and then be understood. Did you attempt to contact us and did we not respond?
2. I found that many of your comments lacked any evidence of research and/or made some unsubstantiated allegations or innuendos. Obviously the Allie Wood comment showed this but further comments about doubting whether or not we actually cut up paper strips (we carefully, skillfully and cautiously do) as well as making an  allegation that we somehow penalize people for questionning or commenting on policies and procedures to me only served to inflame and divide the Hardrock community.
3. The fact that many of your comments have been levelled directly at Blake Wood puzzles me. I do not know the history between you and Blake but I will say that in the entire time Blake and I have been associated with Hardrock (over 20 years) he has never given me reason to question his integrity, his commitment to Hardrock nor his sense of fairness. To imply that Blake  is anything less is totally unfounded. The fact that you singled him out makes me wonder 2 things:

      a. is there something that happened between you and Blake that needs to resolved? (in which case, I would hope that you and he could work that out between you in a private forum or
       b. the fact that you think Blake can make decisions without the rest of the Hardrock Board of Directors weighing in and acting as a board shows a basic misunderstanding of how a board works (in which case I would be happy to do a mini lesson on Roberts Rules of Order, majority voting, etc.:) )
4. As a history and leadership teacher, I emphasize that  substantive and effective change and progress often come from working together. I know we could have a discussion on the value of revolution and dissenting opinions but in my experience  that process often causes more issues and hard feelings than results. I wonder why you chose the forum that you did rather than communicating with me or the board (item 1) and asking what could be done to change/modify and/or address your concerns. Why was the hr100 group your first choice? Please help me understand. The fact that you chose that forum makes wonder about your true intent.
  In closing, I hope you know that I and the rest of the Hardrock board of directors and run committee look upon organizing Hardrock as a labor of love and take great pride in what we do. That does not mean that we can't improve or change how we do things. I just wish you would have chosen a different, and in my mind, more constructive way to help us.
Thanks,
Dale Garland
RD, Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run
Subject:
Re: Some thoughts on Hardrock
well, of course, not every race is hardrock.  by the way, my internet is pretty slow here in rural wyoming so I am not sure, but I am not able to find a qualifying run for james wrublik in 2007.  would you please let me know what his qualifier was?
thanks,
aaron
  Jan 17 at 6:28 PM
HI Aaron
       There were years when spots outnumbered applicants and we had a process which asked those who wanted to run Hardrock who hadn't run a qualifier to document any equivalent mountain experience(s) that they had that would prepare them for Hardrock. We would evaluate those essays and then vote on whether or not to accept those individuals into Hardrock, if memory serves that's what Jimmy used to gain entry. We did away with that  some years ago because it we had more than enough runners who had run qualifiers to fill our field.
You avoided answering my question about your motivation and whether or not you vet every run you enter the same way you are doing with Hardrock.
Thanks,
Dale
Mon, 18 Jan 2016 04:29:22 +0000 (UTC)
Subject:
Re: Some thoughts on Hardrock
thanks for your reply dale.  I have checked, and it looks like there were at least 200 applicants for the 2007 running.  would you mind double checking jimmy wrublik's qualifier?  my motivation for questioning the process is that it does not seem open and transparent enough.  I wouldn't care too much if it was another race.
-------------------------------------------------------------
Jan 18 at 8:26 AM
To       
aaron denberg
Message body
HI Aaron,
        I'm having Blake check his historical data for the answer to your question. What source of information are you consulting for your information? (that may make it easier for Blake).
        I still am unsure about what you mean by the term "process". Are you referring to the selection "process"? I understand your reason for asking about transparency but I think it's pretty well laid out here http://hardrock100.com/hardrock-lottery.php . The fact that we conduct the lottery from a private residence and broadcast the results on our website should not be misconstrued with conducting a secret or closed lottery selection. If it's something else please let me know.
        In my opinion, you still are avoiding answering the question about your motivation for doing this.  Transparency and openness is the "reason" but in my mind, that differs from your motivation. Can you elaborate on what is driving this wanting to know? I find it somewhat odd that you have singled out Hardrock to ask these types of questions when you don't feel the need to do this with other events that you have participated in. Can you elaborate on that as well?
Thanks,
Dale
HI Aaron,
 Here is Blake's response relevant to Jimmy Wrublik's 2007 entry.
"Blake Wood
Mon, 18 Jan 2016 16:33:45 +0000 (UTC)
Subject:
Aaron Denberg's latest request
Dale -
We formally did away with the "equivalent mountaineering experience" Std. IV qualifier in 2013, although we hadn't admitted anyone under it for several yearsbefore that.  I think the last time we let someone in with it was probably Gerry Roach in 2011. 
We would not have let Jimmy Wrublik in under Std. IV, considering his age.    I checked on UltraSignup and see that Jimmy ran HURT in 2005, 2006, and 2007 - any of them would have been a valid qualifier for 2007. 
- Blake
aaron denberg Jan 18 at 1:24 PM
Dale, please try again.  Wrublik only ran the 100k versions of hurt in 2005, and 2006 and
2007 hurt was not a valid qualifier for 2007 hr.
From:
"Blake Woood
Tue, 19 Jan 2016 02:08:33 +0000 (UTC)
Subject:
Re: Aaron Denberg's latest request
Dale -
Although our list of qualifiers specified that they be finished in 2005 and 2006 for the 2007 Hardrock, we also counted the HURT 100 mile in 2007, since it was run in January, before our lottery at the beginning of February.  The point of qualifiers is to ensure a runner is ready for Hardrock, etc., etc., and thus having run a qualifying race MORE recently than we call for definitely satisfies the purpose of having qualifier.
Aaron is right though about HURT in 2005 and 2006 - Jimmy did the 100k in those years, not the 100 mile, according to UltraSignup.  I missed that in checking quickly while waiting in the boarding area for my flight to Washington DC this morning.
- Blake
aaron denberg < Jan 19 at 5:40 PM
Blake, thanks for your reply on the Jimmy Wrublik issue, I hope you can answer a few more questions:
1.  You have a lot of procedures in place to ensure the drawing is legitimate, such as making sure
other board members are there, color coding the tickets, keeping the old tickets on hand for inspection, etc. Since the issue of the openness and transparency of the drawing seems to come up every year, wouldn't it solve a lot of problems to hold the drawing publicly like wasatch and western, or at least have a live video feed?
2.  I can appreciate the reasons for not revealing the names of "Dale's 5 picks," but can you tell me what procedure you use to enter Dale's picks into the drawing.  For example, are they the first 5 names drawn, the last 5 names drawn, or are the 5 picks just mixed in?
3.  Would you be able to tell me the names of the board members who witnessed the drawing the last three years?

Thank you for your time,
aaron denberg
Blake Wood Jan 19 at 6:48 PM
Aaron -
I assume you got the word that Jimmy was qualified for the 2007 Hardrock by virtue of having finished the 2007 HURT.  Although only the previous two years of HURT was listed as a qualifier (that is, 2005 and 2006 for 2007), back when we held our lottery in February we counted the HURT that was run the previous month, in January.  The purpose of the qualifiers is not to weed people out, but rather to ensure they can run Hardrock safely and have a reasonable chance of finishing.  Counting a qualifier that was run MORE recently than we required satisfied this.  This is no longer an issue now that our lottery is held in December.
As to your questions:
1.  Perhaps.  As I previously mentioned, we DO have a live tweet feed.  Having a live audio, video, or entirely public lottery would not work with our desire to keep "Dale's Picks" confidential.
2.  Dale comes armed with his ordered list of those he would like to see in the run, and makes his picks at times of his choosing in the appropriate lottery. Typically they are spread out over the last half of the lottery or very early on the wait list.  His pick would be "wasted" if the runner's name was subsequently pulled from the jar naturally (which does happen - it did this year), so Dale is balancing confidentiality against having his picks count.
3.  This year the entire Board was present except for Andrea Feucht and Betsy Kalmeyer - Andrea couldn't make it out from Los Angeles, and Betsy had to work. That means that myself, Kris Kern, David Coblentz, Charlie Thorn, Ken Gordon, Roch Horton, and Ricky Denesik were present.  I'd have to check old photos or meeting minutes for the previous two years, and I can't do that right now, as I'm in Washington DC for a series of meetings. If I don't do that when
I'm home on Friday, remind me.
- Blake
From: "aaron denberg"
Sent: Tuesday, January 19, 2016 7:51:36 PM
Subject: Re: Hardrock drawing
Blake, thanks for your reply, please don't worry about tracking down the board members who were there the other years.  I had no idea so many people were there to watch the drawing.
I still don't  understand how Dale works his picks in.  Do you guys pass the jar around and take turns picking tickets, or does Dale pick all of them?  Thanks for taking the time to answer my question
P.S. It seems like if you announced publicly who was there watching the drawing that would probably help a lot, but at the same time I can understand why you would be annoyed by the constant questioning.
Thanks,
aaron
  Jan 20 at 3:00 PM
To       
aaron denberg
Aaron -
We pass around a jar (actually a large plastic pitcher) to draw the tickets from - one pitcher for each lottery to ensure the tickets are kept separate.
 Everyone present takes turns pulling tickets.  As the lottery progresses, Dale will chime in "I want to make my next pick at #55", and we will pause the drawing then to get his name (Dale is usually present, but wasn't this year - he had a personal commitment that afternoon and couldn't have gotten back in time - so he was connected via phone.)\
As we pull the tickets, we tape them to a poster board and I enter them into my spreadsheet.  We also tweet them out, typically in groups of two or three so the tweeter can keep up.  As we go along and at the end, I check what I am entering in my spreadsheet against what is taped to the board, to ensure we haven't missed anyone or given someone two slots.  Since each ticket is labeled with the number of tickets that applicant has in the lottery, we can get a good seat-of-the-pants feeling for how the stats are working out. When we pull a name for the second or third or fourth or ... time, we just discard it into a separate pile.  We keep all the tickets so at the end we can ensure that anyone we are interested in really DID have the proper number of tickets in the lottery - for instance, we did this when Kirk Apt ended up so far down the wait list last year, and when an applicant last year with 128 tickets did not get pulled until far down the wait list.
- Blake
From: aaron denberg
To: Blake Wood
Sent: January 20, 2016 at 9:00 PM
Subject: Re: Hardrock drawing
Blake,
Your timely and detailed response was most heartening.  I know you are very busy and would prefer not to have to deal with these "first world" problems, 
but if you could indulge me in answering one more question I would be grateful.  Can you tell me how the process differs when Dale is actually there?  
For example, if I understand you, he announces when he is ready to make a pick, he gets the jar,and then what?
Sincerely, aaron
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Aaron -
It is really no different when Dale is present. He decides when he is going to use one of his picks, and when we get to that point his pick is inserted and we put a placeholder on the poster board and continue drawing. At the end of the drawing we dig out an actual ticket for the runner he picked and replace the placeholder with it.
As I said earlier, we post photos of the poster boards on our website after the drawing. When we post the list online, we order it alphabetically for the runners' convenience in finding their names, except for the wait list which is kept in the order we drew it for obvious reasons.
- Blake

Jan 20 at 9:41 AM
Aaron,
I am still waiting on your response(s) regarding the 2 questions that I posed to you last week. Namely-what is your motivation for doing all of this and do you vet other events as thoroughly as you have with us and why or why not?  Your responses will help me in answering your questions and concerns more effectively.
Thanks,
Dale
"aaron denberg"
To:
"Dale Garland" Wed, 20 Jan 2016 15:19:35 +0000 (UTC)
Subject:
990's and raffle license
Hi Dale,
Would you send me a copy of the Annual Information Return and Annual Tax Return for the
Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run for the last three years?
Thanks, and please let me know if there will be any cost associated with this request.
Cheers,
aaron
P.S.  Do you happen to have a copy of your raffle license on hand?  If not that's okay
I think I can get it from the sos.
Fred Abramowitz <  Jan 25 at 7:56 AM
To       
awdenberg CC
Blake Wood and Rebecca Clark  Dale Garland  Kern, Kris
Dear Mr. Denberg,
            I have been asked by Hardrock to respond to the various requests, allegations and statements made by you via email and on the social media. I trust this response will bring the matter to a close. First, the lottery established by Hardrock is not in violation of Colorado gaming or any other state or federal laws. Other events in Colorado, as well as elsewhere, charge a fee for entry into their lottery - the Leadville 100 run and bike events, come to mind. In the case of Hardrock, the fees do not inure to the benefit of Hardrock or its board in any way - Hardrock is a not-for-profit and the fees generated are earmarked for charity and also to be used for such things as improvements to the Hardrock course or to otherwise benefit the Hardrock communities. No member of Hardrock benefits financially from the lottery. With respect to how Hardrock actually conducts its lottery, the algorithm used and the factors considered are fully explained on the website and the lottery is conducted in accordance therewith. Hardrock is, of course, free to use any algorithm it wishes in selecting from its large pool of applicants and if you aren’t in agreement with it you are free not to enter the lottery. And, while a very few events do conduct a public lottery, the vast majority do not (again, Leadville and many, many others) and they are under no obligation to do so. Hardrock at this time does not conduct a public lottery, although real time coverage of the drawing is provided via Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
  You have also requested that Hardrock provide you with certain documentation. Since it appears you are an attorney I am sure you are aware that much of what you are requesting are public records, and you are welcome to contact the appropriate agencies and inspect those documents yourself. 
To the extent what you are requesting are not public records Hardrock is under no obligation to provide them to you and at my recommendation will decline to do so.
Which brings me to the final point. You have accused Hardrock of “breach of contract, fraud, misrepresentation and violations of the Equal Protection Clause” and have threatened to take “this up with up with the relevant governmental agencies.” While I will not dignify these accusations with a response, I am concerned since it appears you are an attorney and yet you failed to disclose that fact when making those threats.

 Ethical violation or not, I’m sure you are aware that henceforth you may not contact my clients without my prior approval. Please do not. If you find it necessary to further discuss this matter, please contact me and do not contact Hardrock in any manner.
            Your attention is appreciated.
Fred Abramowitz
aaron denberg Jan 26 at 4:39 AM
To       
Fred Abramowitz
Message body
Dear Fred,
I am afraid that your letter does not come close to bringing this matter to a close.  I find it curious that, in the absence of a claim of harassment, the Hardrock chose to lawyer up after I made a legally authorized request for their 990's, which in any event they are required to provide me within 30 days or pay a daily fine. 
You see Fred, this is not going away because a race director once told me that, "of course Hardrock bends the rules to let in their friends and family."  At first this didn't bother me because, after all why shouldn't they be allowed to let in a few friends and family after doing so much work on the race? However, when every year there are complaints about the lottery, and every year the Hardrock responds with little more than assertions that they are fully open and transparent, I find it hard to stomach.
The net result so far of my questioning the BOD has been to transform my allegations of fraud and misrepresentation into fact. Every year the Hardrock publishes their rules, they misrepresent by omission when they conceal the fact that Dale gets 5 picks, they misrepresent when they issue an incorrect listing of the odds of winning, and they commit fraud when they pretend to pick 5 tickets which they don't actually  pick.  My questioning of the BOD has not only caused them to admit to this fraud and misrepresentation, but has also revealed that on at least one occasion they violated their printed rules to led a RD's son in.
So, as the legal representative of Hardrock, and in the interests of judicial economy, please tell me how the acts and omissions of Hardrock do not satisfy each and every element of fraud and misrepresentation under both state and federal law?  Additionally, your assertion that because other lotteries are similar to yours you are somehow in compliance with the law, is not convincing.  You may not be under any legal obligation to produce an explanation of your raffle licensure, other than the general requirements of transparencyfor all 501(c)3's, but I am asking you in the interests of judicial economy, and in a good faitheffort to resolve this dispute to do so nevertheless.
sincerely,
aaron
co atty reg. # 34327
Fred Abramowitz <Abramowitzlaw Jan 27 at 9:40 AM
To       
Message body
Aaron,
I’m not going to debate the legal merits of your claim. You are free to file whatever you wish to file and avail yourself of whatever forum will entertain your complaints and we’ll go from there, but I do think you should consider a few things.
First, Hardrock has been addressing rumors and complaints concerning its lottery for years. Most of those complaints in effect concern the various algorithms Hardrock has used. I think Hardrock has been reasonably good at explaining that there are different ways of conducting lotteries and there’s no easy way to satisfy everyone. But your complaint, to the extent I understand it, seems different. I don’t know what “race director” told you that Hardrock “bends its rules" to let family and friends in, but I hope your complaint is based on more than just some rumor or innuendo from some "race director" or someone else who it seems has no idea what they are talking about, implying that the lottery is somehow “rigged.”
I understand that you may be upset that Hardrock did not previously disclose that there are five selections taken outside the lottery process. Perhaps they should have done so. Obviously, prior to instituting the lottery fee, Hardrock was free to accept whomever it wished into their race, as you seem to acknowledge, although even then, other than the five selections, the lottery was conducted exactly as stated on the website. But regarding the five selections, I think you’ll agree there’s nothing improper or wrong about selecting a few applicants who may have done extraordinary service for the race, or the sport, or who otherwise deserve entry into the race outside the lottery process. But again,other than those selections, the lottery has always been and is conducted exactly as stated.
Second, the lottery fee Hardrock charges has been in existence only for the past two years. My understanding is that in 2015 you were selected for the lottery, and for 2016 you didn’t apply. I’m unsure how you have been harmed, even assuming there is a legal claim. Even so, surely you’re not suggesting that the extent of what you’re claiming as” fraud" are the two sets of Dale selections over the past two years which were not made available to the public? That would be $100 in lottery fees. I’d note that over the past two years Hardrock increased the number of accepted entrants by more than the five selections anyway. They were not required to do that.
Aaron, I’m at a loss here. I’m not sure what it is you want. We’ll send you the 990’s. I understand you’re pursuing permits to use the Hardrock course for your own race and of course you’re free to do so. But lastly consider this: Hardrock is a not-for-profit whose board members, whatever you may think of them, volunteer their time for the sport and for charity. If they abandon the lottery fee, if that’s what you’re seeking, the only ones harmed will be those who stand to benefit from it. But if this is an attempt to wrongfully discredit the race and its board (and I truly, truly, trust and hope this isn’t the case) to somehow assist you in your endeavors to put on your own race, I strongly suggest you step back and consider what you’re doing.
Fred
On Jan 28, 2016, at 9:01 AM, aaron denberg wrote:
Fred, thanks for your response, you have sadly misjudged my motives. I am not attempting to wrongfully discredit the race or its board, nor do I have any interest in promoting a race on the Hardrock course or anywhere else.  Many people have suggested over the years that if people are unhappy with the Hardrock they should start their own race.  My letter to the BLM was mostly aimed at developing possible Equal Protection challenges which I won't go into at this point, but sure, if the BLM had responded with wild enthusiasm (they did not) I probably would have pursued the idea.
Additionally, my complaint is not based on rumor or innuendo from some "race director," but on the acts and omissions of the Hardrock BOD and what I perceive to be a very unfair and elitist system.  Without the Race Director publicly admitting this statement, it is little more than hearsay and  to date, you are the only person I have told of this communication (impliedly authorized by CRPC 1.6(b)[5]) and I have no intention of telling anyone else. This disclosure was only made to demonstrate why I have been suspicious of the BOD and why I am not satisfied with their explanations. 
Obviously, my questioning of the Board has amply borne out these suspicions.  Of course, just as I am free to publish any of the communications we have had to date, you are free to to publish my claim, and while this Race Director is not a client, I will not reveal the identity without a court order.  In the unlikely event this should come to pass however, I believe my evidence will be irrefutable.
Further, my complaint is not aimed at increasing my personal odds of entering the Hardrock or gaining any other sort of preferential treatment.  As you noted, I did not enter the lottery this year and in fact, I have no intention of ever running Hardrock again, though I might like to try Nolan's.  I have moved on to bikepacking which is not as hard as the Hardrock, and which, as a Hardrocker, you yourself might have a natural aptitude for!
Without addressing each aspect of your argument, most of which I disagree with, the essential element here is the repeated dishonesty, and the argument that any "fraud" was de minimis is not persuasive.  If a bank has $152,000 in capital and I rob it of $5,000, it is not a defense to say that $5,000 was only a small part of the whole and in any event was spread out among 1700 depositors.
My impression is that the BOD, which for the most part has never had to spend much time on a waiting list, is operating under some kind of groupthink mentality, reinforced by the support they receive in the Yahoo User Group, and is totally out of touch with the average Hardrock applicant who has worked so hard to get into the race and who is devastated when they don't get in, doubly so when they feel the system is unfair.
Fred, as a fellow member of the Hardrock family, a member of the tribe, I know you will believe me when I say I have no motive other than to correct what I perceive to be an elitist and unjust system, even if it is only of the first world variety.
  I have been endeavoring to determine whether Hardrock is in compliance with raffle laws, and I feel fairly sure you guys are not.  However, it is difficult to say with total certainty without needlessly dragging the Hardrock name through the mud, such efforts I hope you appreciate and will take as evidence of my good faith.
If you will show good faith by revealing the details of your raffle license or exemption, or just admit that perhaps you are not in compliance, I will  fully develop my arguments and present them to you for your consideration before I take any other action.
My mailing address for the 990's is:
aaron denberg
xxxxxxxxx
Thank you,
Fred Abramowitz <Abramowitzlaw Jan 28 at 4:50 PM
Aaron,
Like other events with this sort of lottery, Hardrock takes the position that it is not a “raffle” in that no “prize" is offered and thus they don’t need a license. Entry into the race has no intrinsic value, cannot be bought or sold, and merely entitles the person to pay full price for entry into the race. Is this a settled question?  No. You want to challenge it in a court of law? Have at it. You win, they’ll get rid of the fee, and you’ll be taking money from their charities.Other than that, you don’t have a legal claim. Look, Aaron, I get that you don’t like the board, that you think they’re elitist and unfair, and that you are personally upset and troubled by how they run their business. I get that. You’re not alone, though obviously there are others who feel differently. But, like it or not, they conduct and have conducted their lottery exactly as I stated in my previous emails. And there’s nothing about the way they do it that creates any sort of a legal claim.
I don’t really haven anything further to say about this, and if you want to pursue this in a court of law, you’re obviously free to do so, and we’ll go from there. But unless you have some concrete and constructive suggestions as to how you think Hardrock might improve their procedure in the future (which I will gladly pass along to the board), I don’t think there’s much value in continuing this conversation.
So good luck with your bikepacking. I’m pretty much too old to take up anything new.
Fred
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: aaron denberg
Sent: Tuesday, January 26, 2016 4:27:49 PM (UTC-07:00) Mountain Time (US & Canada)
Dear Mr. Lieurance,
Thank you for your reply.  I have consulted the links you provided and determined that we are not in facta qualified organization.  However, since our raffle only provides the opportunity to buy an entry into our sporting event, my understanding is that this is not a "prize" as defined under 60-2F-4, and that therefore the Act, 60- 2F-26, does not apply to us and we do not need to file an application for a license.  Of course, we don't wantto run afoul of the NMGA, so can you tell me if my reading is correct, i.e., even though we are not a qualified organization,we do not have to apply for a raffle license because raffling the opportunity to buy an entry to an athletic competition is not raffling a 'prize?'
Thank you very much for your time and consideration,
aaron
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Denberg,
That would be incorrect. Under the Act, only qualified organizations as defined may conduct games of chance as authorized by the Act.
 The Exception under 60-2F-26 (A)(2) allows a qualified organization to not obtain licensure with the provision that only 1 raffle per quarter will be conducted.
Thank you
Donovan Lieurance
Acting Executive Director / CIO
NM Gaming Control Board
Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2016 11:57 AM To: Public Licensing <Public.Licensing@SOS.STATE.CO.US> Subject: Raffle license for competitive sporting event.
 Hi,
I am a Colorado attorney investigating what the licensing requirements would be for a competitive sporting event organized under 501(c)3.   This hypothetical raffle will have approximately 2000 entrants vying for 200 slots, and will charge a $10 non-refundable fee, collecting $20,000, all or most of which would go to charity.  Winning in the raffle would only allow the winners the right to purchase an entry into the race.  In other words, if they win, they are not really getting anything that has a price tag on it, only the right to buy an entry.My questions are: Does this type of event even need to apply for a raffle license?Would we be likely to found exempt if we do apply, and if so what requirements would we still need to abide by.  Finally, if we are registered in Colorado, but want to hold the drawing in Utah and communicate the results online, would we have to apply for a raffle license through your office, through Utah's or both?
Thank you very much for your time, Aaron Denberg CO Atty. Reg. # 34327
------------------------------------------------------------
 Jan 29 at 1:13 PM
Dear Mr. Denberg,
Thank you for the email.  After examining the game as you propose against the applicable statutes and rules, we do not think that this would be a legal game.  The first issue concerns the definition of a raffle.  According to C.R.S. §12-9-102(19.3) a raffle “means a game in which a participant buys a ticket for a chance at a prize…”.  With the game you propose, there is no true prize.  There is only a chance at moving to the next round, for which you would be charging an additional fee.  This scheme, the chance at a chance, is a violation of the bingo/raffle laws, and would not be allowable in Colorado.
The second issue surrounds the organization that would be conducting the game.  You state that the sporting event would be organized under 501(c)(3), but I am not certain what you mean by that.  Do you have an organization that is already recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3)?  You also state that “…all or most of [the proceeds] would go to charity”.  The only organizations that can be licensed to conduct charitable gaming are nonprofits that have been in continual existence for at least five years in Colorado, have a membership, and the entire net proceeds must be exclusively devoted to the lawful purposes of the organization conducting the game.  No person may receive any remuneration or profit for participating in the management or operation of a charitable game.  The charity conducting a raffle retains the proceeds to use for their lawful purposes.
Finally, we issue licenses to qualifying nonprofits to conduct gaming in Colorado.  We cannot license a multi-state game, as each state has its own set of laws.  The last time we checked, Utah has outlawed all forms of gaming, including games of chance.  Operators will try to get creative in their approach, by selling food and drink and providing a bingo card, but the regulators have shut down venues because the food and drink is minimal and ancillary to the game.  If you get a license in Colorado, the ticket sales must be completed through members of the licensed organization within the state, and the drawing would have to take place at a predetermined location in Colorado.I hope that helps.  Please let us know if you have any further questions.
Very Truly Yours, 
Lawrence Runn, CFE
Nonprofits Lead Investigator
Colorado Department of State

----------------------------------------------------------June 29, 2016
Dear Fred,
As you know from previous correspondence, I find Hardrock's practices contrary to the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run’s Value Statements. My purpose in writing to you and pointing out these discrepancies is to amend the race's lottery so that future applicants get a fair opportunity to participate. This purpose can be achieved if all future lotteries are public and fully auditable and the algorithm is changed in the following manner:  
Preferential treatment for multiple finishers ends, they get the same chance in the lottery as the ‘never started’.  All unsuccessful raffle entrants continue to accumulate tickets in the current n+1 manner so that their chances of entering increase each year.  Hurt and Leadville are reinstated as qualifiers and definite, numerical standards are established for qualifiers with any and all runs of comparable difficulty allowed as qualifiers.  Finally, the Hardrock Board retains discretion to pick 20% of the field in any manner they choose, however the picks cannot be secret.  This 20% figure is slightly more than the number of entrants who get into Western States outside the lottery.
I have enclosed two draft letters to various government agencies which detail the tortious, illegal, unpermitted and unregulated acts and omissions of the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run and all members of the Board of Directors who engaged or acquiesced in such acts and omissions.  As indicated previously, in gathering information, such as FOIA requests, I have taken care  to avoid using the Hardrock 100 name.I am open to discussing the situation,  provided you do so in good faith, otherwise, at a minimum, I will send these letters and publish the allegations to social media and encourage others to do the same, especially Leadvillians.
Thank you for your attention,
Aaron
P.S.  Please send me a copy of the 2015 990's right away, as I still have  not received them.
-----------------------------------------------------------From: "Fred Abramowitz" <abramowitzlaw
Date: Wed, Jun 29, 2016 2:45 PM
Aaron,
I will raise your issues and suggestions at the next Board meeting which will be held concurrent with the next race and I’ll get back to you after that - obviously folks are quite preoccupied right now with race preparations. Meanwhile send me an address and I’ll get you the 990s

Fred
On Jun 29, 2016, at 2:50 PM, Sorry Fred, I am not going to wait until then.  You can have the board let me know their decision by next Wednesday, July 6th or I will assume they want me to have someone else resolve the issue.
Sincetely yours,
-------------------------------------------------------------

 Fred Abramowitz Jul 1 at 7:30 AM
Aaron,
We think it best at this point to agree to disagree. You won’t get a response from the board; you will get your 990. 
Happy 4th.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sent: Thursday, February 04, 2016 9:12 AM

To: Janik, Anne -FS
Subject: FOIA Trail Work. Hi Anne, thanks for your phone call, since this is my first FOIA request, it was very helpful.
I am trying to find any Special Use Permits, Partnership Agreements, Volunteer Project Agreements and any communications related to trail work done in the first week of July, 2011.  More specifically, I am looking for information on a trail connector from Bear Creek Trail to Bridal Veil Basin.  If any work was done, it would have been in an attempt to bypass the 2011 closing of upper Bear Creek Trail, and the posting of 'armed guards.' The trail might be the La Junta Basin Trail, but I can't find it on any USDA maps.  In any event, it may be the only trail which could connect Bear Creek Trail to Bridal Veil Basin without going through the disputed area. I believe it is an old mining trail which heads left (east) a couple of miles from town up the Bear Creek Trail and basically becomes a talus field in its upper reaches before crossing the ridge to Bridal Veil Basin.
For the area around Ouray, I am interested in any Special Use Permits, Partnership Agreements, Volunteer Project Agreements and any communications related to trail work done on the Horse Thief Trail the first week of July, 2011; and trail work on the Old Twin Peaks Trail in the first week of July, 2010. If any trail work was done on these dates and trails it may have been done in conjunction with the Ouray Trails Group, but I am not sure.
Thank you very much for your help,

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
To        william aaron Mar 4 at 5:14 PM
Just to let you know- that a letter will be going out on Monday – no one in our office had anything related to your request – if you would like to talk to me about it , please give me a call. It is unusual to save emails from that far back.  And the staff looked at volunteeragreements and Special use permits and did not have anything specific for those dates. from that time.
Is there something more specific we can ask them to look for?  I would be happy to talk with you more about tit-  thanks, Anne
USDA USFS
C. Anne Janik
Public Affairs Specialist
Forest Service
On Dec 1, 2016, at 10:27 AM, aaron denberg
Good morning Fred,Last January you argued that the Hardrock 100 was not running a "raffle," because they were not offering a "prize."  However, anticipating this argument,  I had previously asked Dominic Lieurence, Acting Executive Director of the New Mexico Gaming Authority, and Lawrence Runn, Nonprofits Lead Investigator for the Colorado Department of State about a raffle like that of the Hardrock 100.  Both expressed the opinion that raffling a chance to buy an entry is indeed a "prize," and that a raffle like the Hardrock 100's would be illegal.  I realize that you have already indicated your unwillingness to change your entry selection procedures without actual litigation, though I notice that Blake Wood has, apparently for the first time ever, factored Dale's secret picks into the odds of winning.  That is, if you believe there are only 5 secret picks.But, the main purpose of this email is to ask why I still have not received the Hardrock 100's 2015 990's?  I received a letter from their accountant a few weeks after my last request indicating that they were in the process of preparing the returns and that they would send a copy when they finished.  This is puzzling to say the least, because this return was supposed to be filed no later than May.  Additionaly, my understanding is that in Silverton in July of 2016, the Hardrock 100 purportedly had their 2015 990 's available for public viewing as they do every year.  It seems like they are deliberately avoiding sending them to me.  Can you please explain why I still have not received them?  If the accountants have prepared an amended return, I am still entitled to see the originally filed return and would like a copy of that as well.
Thanks,
aaron
P.S.  Here is a document you may find of interest, it is a class action complaint that seems very like our situation: http://www.nyrrsettlement.com/Portals/0/Documents/Amended%20Complaint.pdf

Aaron,
The 990s will be sent to you early next week.  And I am quite familiar New York City marathon lawsuit and subsequent resolution. 
Fred
Fred Abramowitz, Esq
Abramowitz, Franks & Olsen
Attorneys at Law
Santa Fe, Albuquerque, New Mexico and Fort Collins, Colorado
Dear Sir or Madame,
This is a request under the FOIA for documents relating to the Hardrock 100, a 100 mile race in the San Juans of Colorado which is permitted by the Tres Rios BLM.
We would like a copy of all documents and communications related to the Hardrock 100 lottery and specifically those documents and communications relating to “5 secret picks” made during the Hardrock 100 lottery.
Please notify me if the fees will be over $100.00.
Thank you very much,
Aaron Denberg
Big Horn, WY
82833
Hi Anne,
Here are some more FOIA requests, if you are wondering why, this may satisfy your curiousity:  fixhardrock.blogspot.com   
For the Districts you work with, I am looking for Special Use Permits, Partnership Agreements, Volunteer Project Agreements and any communications related to trail work done by the Hardrock 100 in the last 10 years.  I am also looking for the same information relating to the “Knute Chute,” paralleling hwy 550 outside of Silverton, and the “Kamm Traverse” above Mineral Creek outside of Silverton.  This probably goes back to the early to mid 90’s.
For the Districts you work with, I am also looking for a copy of all documents and communications related to the Hardrock 100 lottery and specifically those documents and communications relating to “5 secret picks” made during the Hardrock 100 lottery.
Please notify me if the fees will be over $100.00.
Thank you very much,
Aaron Denberg
Big Horn, WY
82833


                                                   ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS


We believe the Hardrock 100 may be fake-picking the following groups of people:
People who come to Silverton early and spend a lot of money, industry insiders, friends and family of the Race Directors, courtiers, people coached by Jason Koop of Carmichael Training ( http://gazette.com/doping-questions-remain-of-springs-based-armstrong-coach/article/149946    ) people who can help turn Silverton into Telluride such as investment bankers, elite athletes from favored companies, such as top male and female athletes from Salomon running who get in almost every year, and at least 5 people connected to Altra, their new main sponsor, who got in in 2016.


The Hardrock 100 has always maintained that capping the runners at approximately 140 is a result of careful deliberation with the permitting agency, the Tres Rio BLM.  However, the Tres Rios BLM would probably have no problem okaying  1000 runners for this course.  The Environmental Assessment for the Hardrock 100 only noted that the on-course Handies Peak saw thousands of user days a year, found “No Significant Impact” from this race and did not subject the Hardrock 100 to the burdensome process of preparing an Environmental Impact Statement.  Moreover, it is unlikely the Tres Rios BLM would object to more runners on the course as they are regularly criticized by the San Juan Citizens Alliance for favoring unbridled extraction at the expense of the environment. https://durangoherald.com/articles/87105-resource-plan-is-a-betrayal-of-our-values 

According to the Silverton Chamber of Commerce, there are also happen to be only 140 motel beds in town.  Probably just a coincidence, but if your goal is to try to turn Silverton into Telluride, artificially capping the number of entrants is an effective way to create maximum demand.


Blake Wood I have read this comment thread (and the dozens of other threads) with great interest, Joe.

I would like to refer everyone to the the articles by the observers we had at last Saturday's lottery: Heather Sackett, writing for UltraRunning Magazine at
https://www.ultrarunning.com/.../hardrock-100-invites.../ and Ian Torrence, writing on his blog at https://www.ultrarunning.com/.../hardrock-100-invites.../ . These give an honest and accurate appraisal of how we conducted this Hardrock lottery. This is how we have ALWAYS conducted the lottery since the first one for the 2004 run.
actually it is https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=8186839360851415836&postID=7333001089239553980


http://www.denverpost.com/2016/12/08/hardrock-100-lottery-controversy/




2 comments:

  1. The Board calling the observers "independent" is a joke and diminishes the changes they have made to comply with the law. Torrence's blog post comes off as about as biased as it gets. He either isn't too bright or just didn't care if he appeared completely biased. Keep up the good work.

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