Pinnacol Travel Bill Passes State House

Bill Limits Travel Expenses For State Entities To Twice Federal Per Diem

A bill -- sparked by a CALL7 Investigation into a $318,000 trip by Pinnacol Assurance to Pebble Beach -- unanimously passed the state House today, moving to the Senate.

House Bill 11-1211, sponsored by House Democratic Leader Rep. Sal Pace, D- Pueblo, and Sen. Lois Tochtrop, D-Thornton, will limit state entities to twice the federal per diem reimbursement

"This bill will bring much-needed accountability to Pinnacol Assurance, a quasi-governmental agency that small businesses across the state invest in for workers compensation insurance,” Pace said in a written statement.

Pace has said the bill was sparked by a CALL7 Investigation that showed Pinnacol executives, board members, who are appointed by the governor, and agents golfing, wining and dining at Pebble Beach. After a court battle, Pinnacol released records that showed the trip cost more than $318,000 and included more than $20,000 in liquor, golf for as much as $525 a round with caddy and one meal that cost more than $19,000.

CALL7 Investigator Tony Kovaleski tried to talk to Pinnacol CEO Ken Ross about the trip and Ross became belligerent, threatening to break Kovaleski's finger.

Earlier this month, the Pinnacol board, with newly appointed members, voted 5-4 to take away Ross's $163,000 bonus for his behavior at Pebble Beach. The Board also passed a travel policy that board members say will prevent future trips like the one to Pebble Beach.

Pinnacol is a quasi-public agency that is the worker's compensation provider of last resort in the state. The Pinnacol board is looking into policies and the trip at the request of Gov. John Hickenlooper and is expected to report to the governor at the beginning of May.

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