Lifting the Vail
Residents of Vail will be able to voice their opinions officially on the controversial Crossroads redevelopment, because the proposal is going to a public vote on July 11. For the last year, the legendary ski town has been divided over developer Peter Knobel's vision for the $250 million Solaris project, a 600,000 square-foot, multi-use condo complex that would include a bowling alley, an arcade, restaurants, retail space and a 30,000 square-foot public plaza ("Vail at the Crossroads," May 4, 2006).
The power struggle between Vail's older founders and the town's younger newcomers became especially heated last November, when two town council members who opposed the project were voted out of their seats and replaced by pro-Solaris candidates. On March 21, the new council narrowly approved Knobel's proposal, but in April opponents of the project collected enough signatures to put the issue up for a public referendum. The date of the vote was set this past Tuesday, after the town council chose not to overturn its earlier approval.
In a small town like Vail, political battles are invariably personal battles as well. The mud was really flying late last year, when people started talking about Knobel's past connection with the adult-entertainment business. Knobel, a New York-born multi-millionaire who moved to Vail with his family five years ago, vehemently denies any overt business dealings with the porn world, aside from a 1997 FTC settlement ("Peter Knobel, Phone Home," May 4, 2006). But Westword found a 1997 lawsuit filed in Florida District Court that named Peter Knobel as a registered officer of WKP, a company that specialized in the billing and telecommunications portions of the phone-sex industry. In April, Knobel told Westword he had no relationship with WKP, said he didn't know the corporation's infamous heads, Seth Warshavsky and Ruth Parasol — dubbed the "prince of porn" and the "princess of porn" respectively — and dismissed Westword's inquiries as "fishing for bullshit."
Troll long enough, though, and you might hook something.
Westword recently obtained the certificate of incorporation for WKP Inc., filed in 1995 with the Delaware Secretary of State. Listed alongside Warshavsky and Parasol is Peter Knobel, the company's vice president, and the address listed is that of Knobel's former townhouse in Central Park West in New York City. According the Delaware Division of Corporations, WKP was formed in 1994 and delisted in 1997. Evidently, bullshit runs deep in these waters. -- Jared Jacang Maher