Former Pinnacol Board Member Says She Didn't Reapply

Debra Lovejoy Said Decision To Take Pebble Beach Trip Not "Unethical"

In her first media interview since Pinnacol Assurance’s infamous trip to Pebble Beach, former ethics chairwoman Debra Lovejoy said it was her decision not to reapply for the board and concedes that the trip might not have looked proper given the state of the economy.

“I had no intention of reapplying,” Lovejoy said in a phone interview. “I had no intention of reapplying."

Despite repeated attempts, CALL7 Investigator Tony Kovaleski could not reach Lovejoy this week so he met her outside her office Thursday morning to try to get about comment then-Gov. Bill Ritter replacing her on the Pinnacol board. Lovejoy refused to talk outside her office, and she or her husband called police, saying Kovaleski was trespassing. Police responded, but no charges were filed.

She did talk with Kovaleski on the phone later in the day.

In the phone interview, Lovejoy justified the $318,000 golf trip to Pebble Beach in May, which included at least $6,000 spent on Lovejoy and her husband's flights, hotel room, spa visits, golf and gifts, as compensation for her service on the board.

“You and your husband received more than $6,000 on that trip to Pebble Beach,” Kovaleski asked. “Is that ethical?”

“And what did I receive in salary all year?” Lovejoy said. “Why haven’t you made that statement that all of these board members and myself for seven years, hundreds and hundreds of hours devoted to building that company, for nothing.”

Lovejoy said Pinnacol board members are paid about $100 per meeting, but all of the state’s boards – except the parole board where members are full-time – receive nothing or nominal sums for volunteering.

Lovejoy also started to say the trip, which included rooms at more than $800, one dinner that cost nearly $20,000 and alcohol totaling more than $20,000, might not have been the best idea in light of current economic times.

“Based on these economic times, should we have made a different decision?” Lovejoy asked. “That’s so easy for you to say right now. That’s so simple for you to say that but it’s not as simple as it appears. It really isn’t.

“I will admit and I will own every action I take, but I will not have you accuse me of being unethical and that’s where you lost me,” she said. “That’s where I won’t sit down with you.

“I will own the trip and I will own whatever you want to accuse me of,” she said. “That’s fine but I did what I was tasked to do which was build this corporation so that the small business owners and the injured workers in this state were well cared for and never worried about financial stability as they have in the past.”

Kovaleski said: “The governor of the state of Colorado, who ultimately made the decision to replace you, said that trip was not in the best interest of the state.".

“He’s my governor and I respect that,” Lovejoy said. “He’s my governor, he’s my governor whether I agree with what his positions are or not, he’s my governor and I respect that.”

Lovejoy said she wasn’t contemplating whether to reapply before the Pebble Beach trip and the ensuing controversy.

“I had never really thought about it before then quite honestly,” she said.

Lovejoy also accused Kovaleski of lying about Pinnacol and not reporting anything positive about the company. She said 7News reported that Pinnacol was owned by the state. Pinnacol is a quasi-state agency whose oversight board is appointed by the governor.

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