DENVER
10/03/2011 02:36 pm ET Updated Dec 03, 2011

Paul Sandoval: An Oral History Of Denver's Political Kingmaker, Tamale Tycoon

He's been called a 'political kingmaker,' 'The Godfather,' and a 'backroom maestro.' But by his account, Paul Sandoval is 'just a lowly tamale maker.' A Rocky Mountain News story notes Sandoval started making tamales in 1974, and by 2007 was selling upwards of 12,000 per day. Lowly tamale maker, indeed.

In July, the Denver Post profiled Sandoval -- the man who planned out Ken Salazar's political career on a cocktail napkin in the back room of his tamale shop. Now, 5280 has compiled an oral history of Sandoval as told by friends, mentors, colleagues and family.

In one account, telling 5280 of his paper route as a youngster, Paul says:

I had the New Customs House on my [paper] route. President Eisenhower had a heart attack and was recovering near Fitzsimons, so when he got better, he went to the Customs House to thank his Secret Service. I knew all the back entrances and found him there at the desk, so I asked him, "Would you like to buy a paper?" A staff member said, "What are you doing here? Do you know who this is?" I just said, "Do you want to buy a paper?" He said, "Sure, how much?" I said, "Five cents." He said, "Well, I only have five dollars." I said, "That's OK, I'll get you change." He said, "No. Here, kid. Just keep it." I asked him to sign the money, and he said sure, so he signed the five dollars. I took that five dollars and sold it for $10 and doubled my money.


Read more tales of Sandoval's childhood and career in Denver at 5280