Denver Press Club elects new board for 2020, holds annual meeting

Denver Press Club members have elected a new board of directors to serve during the 2021 fiscal year.

President Daniel Petty was re-elected and is expected to serve until September, when he will step down from the presidency to begin pursuing an MBA. Jim Clarke, the West Region director for the Associated Press, was elected vice president, replacing Colorado Politics editor Linda Shapley, who did not run for re-election. Re-elected treasurer was KUSA-TV investigative reporter Kevin Vaughan, who is expected to take over for Petty in September. KUSA-TV news director Megan Jurgemeyer was re-elected secretary.

Download the board slides from the annual meeting

Joining the board as directors are Holly Gauntt, news director for KMGH-TV; Jim Hill, a digital editor at Colorado Public Radio, who joins the board for the first time; Skyler McKinley, spokesman for AAA Colorado; Roger Ogden, president and owner of Krystal Media; Noelle Phillips, breaking news editor for The Denver Post; and Larry Ryckman, editor of the Colorado Sun.

For the first time in Club history, the annual meeting took place over video conference because of the ongoing restrictions on large group meetings meant to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease. Voting was also, for the first time, conducted online via secure ballot. About 26 percent of Press Club members voted over roughly 36 hours, totaling 123 of 460 eligible members. With 11 members running for 11 slots, the election was not competitive.

During the meeting, Petty announced that late Club member Walter Baas had left the Club $500,000, the largest known gift in the Club’s history. The board authorized a part of that gift to be used to pay off the Club’s mortgage and pledged to pay back the amount in installments each month. The remainder of the gift is to be invested with the Denver Foundation for management.

Clarke, who has served for years as building committee chairman, told members that construction on the Club’s new roof is expected to begin in June and take between four and six weeks. The Club last year was awarded a $200,000 grant from Colorado’s State Historical Fund to replace its 30-year-old roof. In addition to the new roof, the Club will also install a new HVAC system for the back of the second floor and all of the first floor.

The Club also revealed that it finished its 2019 fiscal year — which ended in February — with a surplus of $593,127.95, thanks largely to Baas’s gift and funds from the State Historical Fund. The Club has $442,755.52 of cash on hand, of which $371,039.12 is restricted — mixture of the construction funds and grants and Baas’s gift.

Club leadership also unveiled formal budget for the first time in years, showing roughly $15,000 in projected profit for the year. The budget — approved at the February board meeting — was drafted by treasurer Vaughan, board member Ogden, president Petty and general manager Tom Foutch. It was created prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, and Vaughan and Foutch warned that significant declines in revenue were expected in the Club’s first quarter, which runs March through May.

Vaughan also revealed that the board was exploring merging the Club’s two corporations — the Denver Press Club, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit, and the Press Benevolent Association, a C-corp that owns the Club’s liquor license and collects rental fees from outside events. The Club is receiving pro-bono legal advice and guidance from Ireland Stapleton Pryor & Pascoe, a Colorado law firm.

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