A lawsuit filed in Pitkin County District Court on Thursday alleges that a Florida man, formerly of Pitkin County, attempted to sour his former Aspen employer’s business relationships in an effort to extort money from the employer.
The suit was filed by Glenwood Springs attorney Rick Neiley Jr. on behalf of Aspen Construction Inc. The defendant is listed as Donald J. Olive, who worked for Aspen Construction as an hourly employee until he resigned on May 13, according to the suit.
While employed by the construction firm, Olive made “false and defamatory statements” about his employer and its owners, including comments about “alleged criminal acts, business dishonesty, marital infidelity and similar statements intended to disparage and harm plaintiff,” the suit says.
The statements were false and Olive knew they were false, the suit says.
On or about June 5, Olive issued invoices to his former employer and two of its business customers, making false claims for money, the suit states. On July 10, Olive caused two statements of lien to be recorded in Pitkin County, affecting properties owned by two of the company’s customers, the suit adds.
“Each of the above-described Mechanic’s Liens is fraudulent, overstated and invalid and was asserted and recorded in the real-estate records of Pitkin County, Colorado, in an effort to extort money from plaintiff to which defendant is not entitled,” the suit says.
According to the suit, “Plaintiff has been and continues to be damaged by defendant’s conduct in the nature of plaintiff’s business, loss of business customers, loss of business income, and costs and attorneys’ fees associated with the need to bring this action to discharge plaintiff’s customers’ real property from the fraudulent and invalid liens asserted by defendant.”
The two customers are named as Zuma LLC and RR Aspen LLC. Olive, the suit says, “continues to contact plaintiff’s customers in an effort to cause those customers to terminate their business relationships with plaintiff.”
The suit seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions prohibiting Olive from further contact with the customers, as well as a determination that the liens against the properties are fraudulent, overstated and invalid. It also asks for a trial and an award of damages.
Olive, who is said to live in Windmere, Florida, could not be reached for comment Friday.