Feud between two men escalates into second Aspen arrest
Ryan Summerlin January 8, 2014
A Basalt magazine publisher whose request to Aspen police to investigate a possible theft led to another man’s arrest last week was jailed Wednesday afternoon, accused of violating a permanent restraining order protecting that same man.
Roy Arthur Piubeni, 48, publisher of Aspen Essential magazine, spent Wednesday night in the Pitkin County Jail after being arrested by Aspen policeman Jeff Fain. He was released Thursday after Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols agreed to a personal-recognizance bond.
A condition of the bond is that Piubeni comply with a new order protecting Gregory John Mears Jr., 45. If he fails to do so, he will be rearrested and required to pay $1,000 to the court.
The two men apparently are embroiled in a long-running feud, records show. Mears is the boyfriend of Piubeni’s ex-wife, according to a Nov. 26 police narrative.
According to police and court documents:
• Piubeni went to Aspen police on Nov. 26 to report a fraud; he told Fain that someone was charging food on his account at the The Butcher’s Block food market without permission. The investigation led to Mears’ arrest on misdemeanor charges that he stole two chairs (valued at $150 each) from a local consignment shop when he was drunk one recent night.
• During his arrest, Mears told Fain he wanted to report a restraining-order violation, according to the police report Fain filed Thursday. Mears showed Fain text messages dated Nov. 17 and Nov. 20 from a cellphone number reportedly belonging to Piubeni. (Mears previously sought and was granted a permanent restraining order protecting him from Piubeni.)
The messages, the report indicates, contain veiled threats against Mears. “Leave the f— alone,” one message reads. “U really don’t want this to go farther. That’s a promise.”
• Another message says, “Look around you see your small little life, see how it’s coming to an end. Gotta feel really pathetic.”
• After Mears’ Nov. 27 release from jail on $1,000 bond, he contacted Fain and said he didn’t want to press charges against Piubeni. Soon after, on Nov. 28 and 29, Mears changed his mind.
“Mears called stating that he wanted Piubeni arrested immediately and wanted the matter investigated thoroughly,” Fain wrote.
But because the Thanksgiving holiday weekend was approaching, leaving the possibility that Piubeni might spend several days in jail without seeing a judge — and because Mears had waited 10 days to report the first alleged violation of the protection order (the Nov. 17 text message) — Fain decided not to follow through immediately on Mears’ request.
“Mears threatened to call another agency to report the incident and stated that he would call every officer on duty to get them to take his case as well,” Fain wrote, adding that he had told Mears more than once that he soon would be meeting with Piubeni and that an arrest would be “very likely.”
Mears replied that he was shocked by the lack of accountability in the Aspen Police Department.
“Mears also stated that he has heard from two separate persons in town that Piubeni is stating that he plans to ‘take him out.’ I have asked Mears to send me a text with the information for said witnesses and as of the time of this report he has not done so,” Fain wrote
Piubeni also was in the news on Oct. 21. In an Aspen Times story, he answered allegations that he was defying a civil court order mandating that a local photographer be paid for his services from a magazine issue in 2012. (That story can be found at: www.aspentimes.com/news/8588276-113/marlow-piubeni-business-paid.)
Piubeni described himself as a small-business owner who was trying to take care of those he owed while managing a fledgling publication with a lot of potential.
“I’ve always tried to take the high road on this and solve the problems,” he said. “Every vendor owed is going to get paid because we intend to be in business for a long time to come.”