Here in Aspen, the air is thin, the snow is perfect, and money is everywhere. This is a singular American town in many respects. Among them is this: Aspen had, until very recently, two legitimate daily newspapers, The Aspen Times and the Aspen Daily News. At a moment when local newspapers face manifold threats to their existence and more and more American cities become news deserts, Aspen was the opposite: a news geyser. The town’s corps of reporters covers small-town tropes like high-school musicals and the Fourth of July parade. But Aspen’s journalists are also the watchdogs and chroniclers of one of the richest towns in America and a site of extreme economic inequality, the exemplar of the phenomenon that academics call “super-gentrification,” where—as the locals often say—“the billionaires are forcing out the millionaires.”
I joined The Aspen Times as an editor in 2014, after a seven-year tenure at the Aspen Daily News. The Times has published since 1881, when Aspen was a silver-mining boomtown, through its postwar rebirth as a ski resort, and now as the home of ideas festivals, wine festivals, $50 entrees, and an awe-inspiring collection of private jets, many owned by billionaires deeply concerned about climate change. The paper, which was based for much of its history in a purple-painted building between a drugstore and the Hotel Jerome, developed a reputation for shoe-leather reporting and accountability journalism.
On Thanksgiving 2021, the start of ski season, the Times editorial team numbered 13, including four reporters who had been covering our town since at least the 1990s. We were treated well by our parent company, Swift Communications. Our paper was profitable, owing largely to real-estate advertising. We seemed to be a safe harbor for small-town journalists.
We were wrong.
My story is populated by blue bloods and thin-skinned billionaires, including the owners of the Pittsburgh Pirates, a litigious Soviet-born developer, and the wealthy cousin of a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Its drama unfolds in a superficially idyllic mountain community where a 1969 mayoral candidate’s slogan, “Sell Aspen or Save It,” still sums up its core conflict. (The following year, Hunter S. Thompson mounted his “Freak Power” campaign for sheriff; upon losing, he gave a concession speech at the Hotel Jerome in a Founding Father–style wig. “I proved what I set out to prove,” he said, “that the American Dream really is fucked.”)
Aspen is strange, but this is a story that could actually take place anywhere. It’s about what happens to the public interest when billionaires collide, and when newsrooms are bullied into suppressing coverage by people with great mountains of money and battalions of lawyers. And it speaks to a deepening crisis for the free press, which has been comprehensively betrayed in Aspen.
I first saw Bob Nutting’s grinning face in a Zoom square on the morning of Tuesday, November 30, 2021, when I was summoned to a surprise all-company meeting for Swift, which operated The Aspen Times and its sister papers across ski country. I was there because Nutting’s company, Ogden Newspapers, had just bought us.
The West Virginia company traced its origins to H. C. Ogden’s founding of The Wheeling News in 1890 and now included 54 daily papers from Hawaii to North Dakota to New Hampshire. It was a fifth-generation family-owned-and-operated company, as Nutting told us, and as just about everybody from Ogden repeated at every opportunity after the announcement. These days, it is run by Bob Nutting and his brother, Bill, as CEO and vice president, respectively, with their father—the elderly and little-seen patriarch G. Ogden Nutting—still titled publisher, and Bob’s 33-year-old daughter, Cameron Nutting Williams, ascendant as chief revenue officer. It is Williams who is behind the company’s acquisition strategy.
As Nutting spoke, I Googled his company. I learned that Nutting and his family also own the Pittsburgh Pirates, whose fans have nicknamed him “Bottom-Line Bob” for his habit of cutting loose the best ballplayers as soon as they got too expensive. But at least they aren’t a hedge fund, I thought. At least they aren’t Alden Global Capital, the vulture fund currently strip-mining so many American newspapers.
We didn’t have to wait long for the first sign of trouble. It came that very first day, when Ogden sent a press release about the change of ownership to David Krause, the editor, and instructed him to run it in the next day’s paper. This was an unusually heavy-handed step for management at a news organization: The staff had assumed we would report our own story, ask questions (like the sale price, which had not been disclosed), and apply the same standard of reporting we’d apply to any event. Instead, Ogden wrote its own story about acquiring the paper, and ran it with Krause’s byline on it. (Krause was unhappy about this, but felt that his hands were tied.)
In the days that followed, Ogden introduced our new leadership team. A corporate human-resources director, who had come to journalism after a career in coal mining, read us the employee handbook over Zoom. Allison Pattillo, a local I had hired in 2019 to serve as a contract editor on our seasonal tourist-focused magazines, and who had started full-time in the summer of 2021, would be our new publisher. She would report to Scott Stanford, who had been a newspaper president in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and whom Ogden had named to oversee its Colorado papers. Stanford had no answers when employees asked about basics like health insurance and what was going to happen to the corporate apartments Swift had rented to reporters at a heavy discount to keep them living in an ever more expensive Aspen. Ogden had not bought those apartments from Swift, nor had it bought any of the buildings housing newsrooms. (Months later, Ogden offered a salary adjustment to some employees who lost housing.) Stanford did tell us about how, when he worked at the Steamboat Pilot & Today, he had written a column about his experiences skiing that contained the line “powder sucks.” This anecdote did not endear him to our team.
To have a job in local journalism, though, is to tolerate some measure of indignity and upheaval. How bad could it be? we asked ourselves and one another during lunch-hour ski laps and over after-work drinks. Very very bad, we learned, when Vladislav Doronin came to town.
Before March 2022, if Aspen locals had noticed Vladislav Doronin at all, it was because he was just another of the wealthy men who come to town for a few weeks each winter to ski in designer clothes of questionable utilitarian value and create private-plane traffic jams at the airport. He was born in the U.S.S.R., amassed a fortune transforming Soviet industrial real estate into office space for Western companies like IBM and Philip Morris, expanded into developing international luxury resorts, and had also found time to date (and rather bitterly and publicly separate from) the supermodel Naomi Campbell. When visiting, he could often be spotted skiing the black-diamond steeps of Aspen Mountain.
And on March 4, 2022, Doronin bought a piece of it: nearly one acre on the mountain’s underdeveloped west side, for $76 million. The seller was a business entity led by Jeff Gorsuch, a former U.S. ski team downhill racer, a proprietor of a small chain of high-end retail ski shops, and a cousin of Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch.
The plot of land is one of the most sought-after patches of sloped dirt in ski country, the site of the 1950 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, which helped put Aspen on the map. In a town where the developable land is finite and the wealth is seemingly limitless, the sale was big news. Just eight months earlier, Gorsuch and his partners had bought the plot from the Aspen Skiing Company for just $10 million. How this piece of dirt came to be worth $66 million more than it had been less than a year before was puzzling, as was the fact that Gorsuch had already marked the plot for a controversial and hard-won development project: the 81-room Gorsuch Haus hotel, along with 320,000 square feet of bars, restaurants, and shops, plus time-shares and a high-speed gondola. Because the development had required rezoning and had used a taxpayer subsidy, approval had been put to a highly contentious public vote that Gorsuch Haus won by just 26 votes.
The relationship between Aspen’s masses and its elites has been complicated since lifts started rumbling up the mountain eight decades ago. The CEOs, the mysterious tycoons, and figures like the former Starwood homeowner Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan live—usually very part-time—in compounds that employ a whole valley of service workers, and their six-figure property-tax bills fund good schools, public amenities, and subsidized employee housing for those of us in Aspen’s middle-class underclass. But in recent years, long-established mom-and-pop businesses around Aspen’s pedestrian mall have closed to make room for more luxury retail shops—“purse museums,” as they are known. Where the dive bar Cooper Street Pier once beckoned ski bums for pitchers and pool, the Italian designer Brunello Cucinelli now sells cashmere suits and $15,000 parkas. During the pandemic’s urban exodus, private-home development and real-estate sales have been supercharged to levels unheard of even here in Aspen. Property sales topped $4.6 billion last year, and the average single-family-home price hit $11 million. Locals and elected officials try to beat back the pace of development, but Aspen’s big money tends to do what it wants.
When Russia invaded Ukraine last winter and Russian oligarchs with real-estate holdings all over the world were sanctioned, Aspen (and its media) wondered how much of Aspen’s economy was tainted. Less than two weeks into the invasion, when Gorsuch flipped a piece of the town’s history to a Soviet-born billionaire, the town lit up. (Doronin has not been sanctioned and says he has no ties to Putin or Russia.) The Times had been covering the Gorsuch Haus plan for more than three years already, and we ran an editorial criticizing Gorsuch and his partners for trading on his family name and misleading voters. A city-council member speculated in our pages that the land had been “a nice safe place to park money.” Stickers were pasted around downtown with the word GORSUCKS emblazoned below a Soviet hammer and sickle. Shortly before midnight the day after the sale to Doronin, an Aspen-based affordable-housing developer named Peter Fornell took a can of red spray paint to the window of Gorsuch Ski Cafe and scrawled a most devastating slur: GO BACK TO VAIL.
We at the Times jumped on all of this. It was the biggest story in town. Managing editor Rick Carroll began digging into Doronin’s Russian assets and his background as a developer, wading through public documents and questioning Doronin’s representatives. John Colson, a local newspaperman of more than four decades, opened his March 7 column by placing Aspen “among the growing number of worldwide high-end resort communities happily entertaining and enriching peripatetic Russian oligarchs, among its historic roster of immensely wealthy people who come here to play and get a little richer whenever the opportunity presents itself.” He then went on to refer to Doronin explicitly as an oligarch.
And then the pressure campaign began. Doronin’s PR reps soon contacted Krause, the Times’ editor, arguing that Colson’s use of the word oligarch and his implication about ties to Putin were defamatory. Though oligarch is not on its face a libelous term, Krause agreed to amend the article to read Russian billionaire instead of Russian oligarch and added an editor’s note saying, “Mr. Doronin’s spokesperson reached out Tuesday morning to The Aspen Times to threaten a lawsuit about the use of the term ‘oligarch’ — which the Times has amended — and pointed out that Doronin has publicly denounced Putin’s invasion.”
But letters to the editor kept pouring into the paper, and Carroll kept digging. The more we reported, the more the paper was inundated: a cascade of correction and retraction demands from Doronin’s people on nearly everything we published about him.
On April 13, Doronin filed a defamation lawsuit against the Times. He was represented by attorneys from the firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, based in Los Angeles. “The Aspen Times has chosen to … sensationalize a false narrative that targets Mr. Doronin simply because he was born in what is today Russia in order to attack the development of a luxury resort in Aspen,” the 17-page court filing reads. The suit also took issue with a letter to the editor the Times published, claiming the letter falsely implied Doronin was using his Aspen investment to launder tainted money from Russia. The filing goes to great lengths to detail how Doronin “earned his wealth legitimately,” and argues a semantic fine point: “Oligarchs are not merely wealthy individuals of Russian origin; they are individuals who have amassed their wealth through the exploitation of Russian natural resources, corrupt direction of Russian state-owned enterprises, and close political affiliation with Vladimir Putin.” This description, the suit argues, does not fit Doronin.
Through a representative, Doronin said later that “his intention with the lawsuit was to address factual inaccuracies and false and defamatory statements that were having a negative impact, not to suppress ongoing coverage."
But the newsroom worried this was an attempt to censor our journalism. We assumed the company would support its journalists, that we’d report a story about the lawsuit that day, and that we’d get back to work. Instead, Ogden officials ordered us to cease writing about anything remotely related to the lawsuit. Ogden was beginning settlement discussions with Doronin and, it said, any coverage of him, his suit, or Gorsuch Haus would disrupt those.
In the eight weeks that followed, The Times published nothing—no letters, columns, or news stories—about Doronin or the development. Not only did we stop calling him an oligarch; we stopped naming him at all. In the newsroom, we wondered how Ogden had so quickly and thoroughly abandoned the bedrock principle of editorial independence to let powerful forces dictate the terms of our reporting.
Krause was under orders to send any item mentioning Doronin up the chain to Stanford, the group publisher, in Gypsum, Colorado, and ultimately to Ogden headquarters in West Virginia for approval, which never came. Carroll had been putting together reporting based on court documents that showed that Doronin had transferred his one-third ownership of the Moscow-based Capital Group Development to his mother one day after filing the defamation lawsuit, despite claiming that he had long ceased conducting business in Russia. Carroll was instructed to not pursue the story further. The billionaires who ran our paper had capitulated to the billionaires who ran our town, and we couldn’t do anything about it.
During the last week of April, Krause asked me into his office. He told me he was resigning and encouraged me to apply for his job. Pattillo, the publisher, also urged me on. Bill Nutting soon made it known I was also his choice to be editor, according to Pattillo. On a Zoom call with her, I raised my concern about the restrictions and said I couldn’t take the job without editorial independence. I was concerned that Doronin would drag out settlement talks for months, or that when one did arrive, Ogden would allow for some kind of gag order on coverage. She said that a resolution should come quickly and that restrictions would be lifted after that.
I didn’t know it at the time, but that day Ogden spiked a column about Doronin by Roger Marolt. A 19-year veteran columnist at the Times and a fifth-generation Aspenite from an old mining and skiing family, Marolt had opposed the 2019 Gorsuch Haus campaign, but the new column was relatively innocuous. In it, he called out Doronin—though not by name—for failing to seek locals’ support for his development. “They don’t care what we think,” Marolt wrote of Doronin and his associates. “Maybe they don’t realize real people live here who depend on [development] for more than a boost in the Forbes 500 ranking.”
The day before the column was supposed to run—the day Pattillo assured me the restrictions would soon be lifted—Krause emailed Marolt telling him that even an oblique reference was too hot for Ogden. “Our lawyers are currently in negotiations with their people on a settlement,” Krause wrote. “This is all complete BS and bullying (my opinion).” The next day, he announced his departure to the staff.
The following Thursday, Ogden spiked a second Marolt column. The topic of this column was the spiking of his previous column. “Last week made me wonder if the foundation the hometown paper has stood solidly on for hundreds of years in this nation is finally cracking,” Marolt wrote. “In Aspen, anyway, the town papers seem no match for the insulted billionaire who can outspend them a thousandfold … People who don’t even live here can control the content of our papers.”
The next week, the people who now controlled the content of the Times traveled to Aspen for damage control and personnel management. Ogden’s brass had now been pursuing me for weeks to replace Krause, and now they were lobbying me in person; I had been told I was their only candidate. I also received a verbal offer for the open editor job at their paper in Park City, Utah, which came on the heels of a February conversation about becoming editor of the Summit Daily News. I hoped I could use the apparent trust the company had in me to get them to stop censoring our coverage. They reassured me that this was an unusual situation, that they would fight defamation and libel lawsuits, but that in this case they thought it could be resolved quickly in a settlement. The following day, when they gave me a formal offer, I told them I would wait to accept until the lawsuit settlement was done and restrictions were lifted.
Krause’s last day as editor was Tuesday, May 17, a month after the suit was filed. His farewell column was subtle but pointed: “Any ownership change in any business is tough, but I’ve been through a few in my nearly 40 years as a newspaper journalist, and I’m not up for another one at this point in my career,” he wrote. “There have been some bumps along the way the past four months, enough so that I am ready to take a different path.”
Carroll, who had been openly talking about quitting and taking his Doronin reporting elsewhere, stepped in as interim editor. And Ogden kept the pressure on me to sign. Cameron Nutting Williams was the next company representative to talk to me about taking the job. She complimented the epic messiness of my desk, and suggested that she’d actually flown commercial to Aspen. Then she asked me about Doronin. “How hot is this story?” she asked. I told her there was no bigger story in Aspen right now. “We could be writing a story every day and running columns every day about this and it would not be enough.” Of course, we weren’t even doing that.
Meanwhile, the Streisand effect was taking hold: Doronin’s apparent effort to muzzle the story was only drawing more attention to it. On May 20, The Denver Post ran a story on Doronin suing the Times for calling him an oligarch, one of several stories that would carry the magnate’s name and oligarch together and link them in Google searches for all time. A few days later, at a city-council meeting, Aspen’s mayor made a vague but provocative public comment about the situation: “It’s come to my attention recently that The Aspen Times, under duress, has been withholding and suppressing some news stories that are important to our community,” Torre, the one-named mayor, said. “I find that to be a real disservice to our community.”
At 1:22 p.m. on May 25, Allison Pattillo wrote to the staff with what initially seemed like good news: The settlement was signed. In all likelihood, she said, the suit would be officially dismissed in about five days. The terms of the agreement would remain confidential. After the case was resolved, the Times deleted a letter to the editor calling Doronin “a big fish in Putin’s polluted sea” from the website, and removed references to him being an oligarch from various pieces. A Carroll piece originally headlined “Oligarch or Not, New Aspen Investor Has Russian Ties” was brightened to “New Aspen Investor Has Luxury Hotelier Connections.” On each of these stories, a penitent editor’s note was appended, suggesting that the piece as originally published did “not meet The Aspen Times’ standards for accuracy, fairness and objectivity in its news reporting.” Apparently all that this self-proclaimed non-oligarch billionaire and his bulldog lawyers wanted out of their lawsuit was to change some text on AspenTimes.com. We’d never seen anything like this at the Times. We ran corrections regularly when we made factual mistakes, of course. But revision-by-lawsuit is not in the Associated Press stylebook or taught in any journalism-ethics class.
Pattillo had assured me there were no further restrictions on the Times covering Doronin. So I told the remaining eight people on the editorial team that I was going to accept the editorship and tried to lobby them out of quitting. I planned to let Roger Marolt tell his censorship story and run his spiked columns, bring in outside journalists to cover our internal tumult and the muzzling, be transparent with the public about this stain on the Times’ history, and then get back to covering Doronin.
On June 3, Pattillo published a note that finally put the Times on the record about the lawsuit, the settlement, and the censorship, and assured readers that coverage restrictions had been lifted. The paper, she wrote, would now “continue with the journalistic integrity readers expect from the upstanding and award-winning editorial team at The Aspen Times.”
The day after the Times published Pattillo’s note, Jeff Gorsuch’s lawyer sent a letter threatening a defamation lawsuit arising from the paper’s coverage. Reporters had worried aloud that capitulating to Doronin’s demands would invite more defamation suits from the rich and litigious, more attempts to chill critical coverage, more suppression from Ogden. Though we didn’t learn of Gorsuch’s threat right away, he quickly confirmed those fears. (In response to a request for comment, a spokesperson for Gorsuch said, “There is a difference between suppressing accurate and balanced coverage and ensuring that libel does not occur.” The spokesperson also cited the fact that the paper had “quickly settled a libel claim brought against them” by Doronin and issued corrections and retractions as part of that legal agreement.)
With the restrictions on Doronin coverage ostensibly lifted, however, I finally signed my offer letter on Wednesday, June 8. The day before, Pattillo had directed me to reach out to Roger Marolt about how to tell readers why his column had been missing for those two weeks; Roger sent a draft and we planned to publish it, along with the two spiked columns as well as email correspondence about Ogden’s censorship in an extended online version. Pattillo approved in principle, though she didn’t read the column before it was published. On Friday, June 10, it ran under the headline “An Old, Small Newspaper No Match for New, Big Money.”
It was kicking up some conversations on the Times’ Facebook page that morning, but I hadn’t gotten any calls or emails about publishing it. Then, at 11, Pattillo came to my desk. “Scott Stanford is coming here,” she said. “And he is pissed.”
Two hours later, I walked into the Times’ conference room, Aspen Mountain framed in the window before me. Stanford was already seated at the table, laptop open. It was clear, he said, that I didn’t trust my new bosses. And—after two days on a job they’d spent more than a month recruiting me for—they no longer trusted me. “We think you are working against us, not for us, and we are going to let you go.” He paused. “You will receive a FedEx package at your house tomorrow with your final check. Get your things and leave the premises immediately. We will contact you with instructions for how to clean out your desk area.” I would not be receiving severance.
I had been fired before my title even changed on the masthead, for doing what I told my bosses I was going to do, after they had promised the restrictions had been lifted.
The Marolt columns disappeared from the Times website on Saturday and took on a contraband cachet on social media. On Sunday, I met with the remaining editorial staff on Rick Carroll’s porch. Rick, who had broken the original news of the Doronin/Gorsuch deal and was now set to remain interim editor, told me he was the one who had hit “Delete” on the Marolt columns under Ogden’s orders. “I have blood on my hands,” he said with a tortured look on his face.
The team talked about what to do next. They discussed organizing a walkout, publishing a coordinated social-media post, starting a new media organization, making a statement to the Daily News. In the end, they decided to give compromise one last shot. On Monday morning, in a meeting with Pattillo and Stanford, they asked for me to be reinstated. Stanford told them he would send the request up the flagpole, but the staff never got an answer.
Meanwhile, word of my firing was spreading through town. The Daily News ran a story; for weeks, letters to the editor and columns about the situation would dominate its commentary pages. A paraglider–slash–limo driver wrote in calling for a boycott of the Times. One afternoon, a white guy with dreads to his waist was racking a mountain bike on his Jeep when he spotted me, raised a fist, and said, “First Amendment, bro. Thank you.”
And at the June 14 Aspen city-council meeting, Councilman Ward Hauenstein called on the good rich people of Aspen to take their newspaper back. “Now it appears as though we have an out-of-state business that controls the Aspen press,” he said. “If something is wrong, you all must do something to stop it … We’re blessed to have many people living in Aspen with great means—I’m appealing to them now. Help save Aspen by funding the purchase of freedom and truth by buying the Times or funding a new paper where truth, integrity, and honor have a home.” (Thus far, none of Aspen’s many billionaires has heeded the call.)
The day after Hauenstein’s cri de coeur, the Daily News ran a full story about it. The Times ran a short “staff report,” although it had a reporter in the room as always. She had turned in a full story about Hauenstein’s speech, but Pattillo and Stanford had edited it down to a few paragraphs.
The Denver Post published a story about my firing on Saturday, June 18. (The Times’ production editor, the last person to touch the paper’s files before it goes to bed nightly, ran the story on Sunday and was prepared to get fired for it, appending an odd note at the end: “The decision to publish this Denver Post story was entirely at the discretion of production editor Benjamin Welch.” He wasn’t fired, but he later resigned.) The next week, 18 current and former Aspen-area elected officials wrote a letter to Bob Nutting denouncing Ogden’s muzzling of Doronin reporting, threatening to refuse interviews with the Times and calling for my reinstatement. Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee, who has pushed legislation about frivolous journalism lawsuits, publicly denounced my firing.
At the Aspen Ideas Festival, which annually draws media figures, world leaders, and CEOs to the Aspen Institute’s Bauhaus-designed campus, the financier turned anti-Putin activist Bill Browder mentioned the Doronin lawsuit and my firing in a public panel. “The guy was born in St. Petersburg, became a billionaire in Moscow real estate, and for calling him a Russian oligarch, he sues and somehow the journalists are losing their jobs?” Browder told the crowd assembled in the Hotel Jerome ballroom, next door to the building where Aspen Times reporters had, for decades, kept the powerful accountable. “That’s happening [here] right now, this minute, as we speak.”
Less than nine months ago, on that Tuesday after Thanksgiving when we first virtually met Bob Nutting, the Times editorial team consisted of 13 people. The week of July 4, it was five, including just two full-time reporters. One resigned after 35 years. After yet another column was spiked, Marolt quit in protest and went to the Daily News. Local businesses have pulled their ads in protest, and Pitkin County commissioners have taken their legal notices to the Daily News. (Having a second paper as an option, commissioners recognized, was an extraordinary privilege.) Although the Times eventually republished the Marolt column from June—this time with none of the internal emails—it went nearly four months without running any new reporting on Doronin. Finally, on August 9, the paper ran a version of the Rick Carroll story they’d killed back in April. In it, Carroll quotes a joint statement by Ogden and Doronin’s representatives claiming that Doronin “does not exercise, or seek to exercise, any control over The Aspen Times’ current or future coverage of him.” (In a statement to The Atlantic, Ogden emphasized that it “continues to support The AT newsroom,” Doronin “has no say over the paper’s reporting,” and “our editorial independence has not been sacrificed.”)
In Aspen, we have an engaged readership that made a lot of noise when the stewards of its journalism institution abnegated their responsibility, abandoning principles of press freedom in the name of business. We have other responsible news outlets that could cover what happened to me and to the Times. And by virtue of being Aspen, we have the eyes of the world on us.
But most towns don’t have an Aspen Daily News or an Aspen Public Radio. They don’t have an alternative platform for the letter writers and the angry elected officials. They don’t have global power brokers breezing in for conferences. Ogden owns more than 50 daily newspapers across the U.S. If it is suppressing news stories in other cities and firing editors for attempting to be transparent with the public, nobody would know. If there is a version of Vladislav Doronin bullying Ogden in Fort Wayne, Indiana, or Sandusky, Ohio, or Lawrence, Kansas, what would stop them? Suppression of news creates disinformation, and Ogden is the gatekeeper for communities in 18 states. If it did it here, the company could do it anywhere. Maybe it already has.