A Brief Mizel History

Last week newspapers reported that Larry Mizel,  Chairman and CEO of homebuilding company MDC Holdings Inc was one of the wealthy donors pushing Gov. Bill Owens to change his position on immigration last week and mentioned his current contributions to the GOP, some $53,000.

But an examination of Mizel’s history of campaign giving shows a much bigger total than that. Mizel and his wife, Carol, have contributed nearly $976,000 million to federal candidates, PACs, and political parties since 1989, according to a search of Federal Election Commission records on www.opensecrets.org. Ninety-four percent of that amount went to Republican candidates and party committees.These include contributions to such stars of the Republican firmament as Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), as well as home town favorites such as Reps. Marilyn Musgrave and Tom Tancredo.

Way back in the 1980s, Mizel hosted a fund-raising luncheon for Ronald Reagan that pulled in $1 million.

And in the early 1990s, the former president of Mizel’s homebuilding company, David Mandarich, was indicted by a federal grand jury on five counts of laundering campaign contributions. He was later acquitted, but two subsidiaries of the company pled guilty to federal charges involving reimbursement of political contributions, reported the Denver Business Journal in 1996.

Around the same time, Mizel’s company was involved in the S&L crisis through dealings with the Silverado Banking Savings Loan and Lincoln Savings. The firm paid a multimillion-dollar penalty to settle a lawsuit related to the Silverado failure.

Now business is booming at  MDC Holdings Inc. Mizel has made the list of ColoradoBiz’s top 25 most powerful people in Colorado. With power so often measured in campaign contributions, Mizel appears to have earned the title.