honchos are fighting mad about a recent column in the Denver Post
. Last Sunday a column by Post sports writer Woody Paige
made fun of the new name of the football stadium of the Denver Broncos, Invesco Field at Mile High. The column then went on to quote an unnamed Invesco executive calling the stadium "The Diaphragm". The column did not amuse Invesco CEO and Chairman Mark Williamson
The fund firm initially threatened to sue the paper for defamation on Tuesday. But cooler heads prevailed and the fund firm today put out a release saying that it is no longer considering that course of action. (You can read the column causing the controversy at the Denver Post
A spokesperson for the firm said that the release was circulated to Denver area media today. Initially, though, the two sides seemed ready to go to war in the court room.
A follow-up article in the paper claims that Williamson released a statement Sunday calling Paige's assertions "categorically untrue. ... To imply otherwise is reckless." The statement added that "Through this article, The Denver Post and Mr. Paige have impugned the reputation, character and values of Invesco Funds Group and its 850 employees."
Glenn Guzzo, editor of The Denver Post, responded to Williamson by saying, "As indicated in Woody Paige's column, there is a witness to the conversation that Invesco says never took place. Mr. Paige has informed his editors of the Invesco executive's identity and was also given a business card by the executive." He added that, "Mr. Williamson simply cannot know that 'no member of senior management has ever referred to the new stadium as was suggested, or heard anyone do so,' as the company's public-relations statement asserts."
In today's release Invesco stated that: "No officer of INVESCO ever had a conversation with Mr. Paige, but the firm has learned that an employee did have a social conversation with Mr. Paige that subsequently formed the basis for his column. These comments from one individual do not reflect the views and sentiments of the company.
The stadium is set to open in August and be used for Broncos' home football games and events such as concerts.
The flap points out the two-edged nature of deals such as the one to name Invesco Field. Fund executives may want to remember that once their name is on a civic symbol, they inevitably lose control of the conversation -- if not in the paper, then in the local bar. Something they may want to keep in mind in the future.
Football Frenzy, 01-19-2001
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