| AspenTimes.com

Trump signs drought bill, Colorado studies its options

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — President Donald Trump tweeted this week that he “just signed a critical bill to formalize drought contingency plans for the Colorado River.”

It was the first time that Trump had ever mentioned the Colorado River in a tweet.

And the drought contingency planning, or DCP, bill the president signed Tuesday had been whisked through Congress in just six days.

For water managers used to working in slow-moving “water time,” it was a surprise to see the federal legislation necessary to implement the DCP agreements happen so fast, and compelling for the Colorado River to be in President Trump’s hands, however briefly.

“That did go through fairly quickly, and in a relatively non-confrontational manner,” Andy Mueller, the general manager of the Colorado River Water Conservation District, told the district’s board of directors Tuesday morning during a quarterly meeting.

And by the end of the meeting, Mueller was announcing that Trump had just tweeted about signing the bill.

The brief DCP bill authorizes the Interior secretary, now David Bernhardt of Rifle, to implement the DCP agreements negotiated by water managers in the upper basin states of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico and the lower basin states of California, Arizona and Nevada.

Perhaps less surprising to regional water managers was that the Imperial Irrigation District, which is the biggest user of water in the lower basin, wasted no time and filed a lawsuit Tuesday in an effort to halt, or at least influence, the DCP agreements. The district is seeking funding to help restore the shrinking Salton Sea and had been vocal in its dissent when the DCP bill was before Congress.

It is not clear yet how Imperial’s lawsuit will affect the still unfolding DCP process, but James Eklund, who represents Colorado on the Upper Colorado River Commissio and would sign the DCP agreements for Colorado, said Tuesday he was still optimistic the agreements would be signed this month.

If the DCP agreements are finalized, it means Colorado and the upper basin states could store up to 500,000 acre-feet of conserved water in Lake Powell, and other upper basin reservoirs, and do so in a new regulatory framework that shields the water from the current operating guidelines dictating how Lake Mead and Lake Powell are operated.

Those guidelines, which sunset in 2026, seek to balance the levels of the two big reservoirs, which have been falling due to a 19-year drought, of which this past snowy winter was a welcomed exception. (The Bureau of Reclamation announced Monday that it was forecasting runoff into Lake Powell would be 112 percent of average, up from 43 percent of average in 2018.)

In balancing the levels of Lake Powell and Lake Mead, the upper basin states feel that the guidelines require the release of too much water from Lake Powell, and they want to create a savings account they control in the big reservoir to raise the surface level and protect against a violation of the Colorado River Compact, which requires the upper basin to deliver a set amount of water to the lower basin.

With the passage of the DCP legislation, that savings account in Lake Powell is almost a reality, as is authorization for the Bureau of Reclamation to release water from Flaming Gorge, Blue Mesa and Navajo reservoirs down the Green, Gunnison and San Juan rivers to help keep Lake Powell above minimum power pool.

And next comes the part where the upper basin states each have to figure out a demand management, or water-use reduction program, to fill their new water savings account.

The conserved water is supposed to come from the reduction of consumptive use, which in Colorado means it will mainly come from applying less water to fields, pastures and urban lawns.

In Colorado, it is the job of the Colorado Water Conservation Board to figure out how, and if, to start up a demand management program.

To investigate its options, the state agency plans to create eight small working groups to tackle various aspects of demand management, and officials have given people until the end of day Friday to express interest in serving on the various work groups, which are expected to meet throughout the year.

Mueller, the manager of the Colorado River District, has informed the CWCB that the district wants to place a staff member on every one of the eight work groups, given the importance of the potential demand management program to the 15 Western Slope counties the district covers.

The River District’s board wants to ensure that a demand management program is voluntary, temporary, compensated and equitable for water users across the state.

And while the CWCB has adopted a policy that includes those goals, it has confirmed that the state also is studying how an involuntary reduction in water use might happen if necessary to avoid violating the Colorado Compact.

“The state has been working on a study that evaluates the legal elements of compact compliance,” CWCB Director Rebecca Mitchell said Thursday. “This is being done through a variety of evaluations that focus on avoiding the need for compact compliance and for options that the state engineer may want to take into consideration in case administration of the compact is necessary to address a compact deficit on the Colorado River.”

Aspen Journalism covers rivers and water in collaboration with The Aspen Times and other Swift Communications newspapers. More at www.aspenjournalism.org.

Aspen’s housing board to elected officials: Pump brakes on potential changes to system

The all-volunteer citizen board that oversees the upper valley’s affordable-housing program had some choice words for elected officials during its meeting Wednesday, and it resulted in a unanimous vote on a non-binding resolution asking them to slow their roll on changing how the system is governed without understanding the full effects of their decisions.

“I think the elected officials are tone deaf,” said Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority board member Chris Council. “I feel like we have been dragged under the bus.”

Council introduced the motion approving the resolution that asks Pitkin County commissioners and Aspen City Council to pause their plans on changing the makeup of the housing board until they have a conversation in public with that board and after a new City Council is seated June 10.

Both council and the commissioners are in the midst of rewriting the intergovernmental agreement between the governments that oversees the APCHA program.

The key piece that City Council wants done before three new members are sworn in is changing the volunteer board so it has an elected official from both governments sitting on it, along with three citizens at large.

“I think it’s so frickin’ bogus,” APCHA board member Becky Gilbert said.

Currently, the board is made up of seven appointed citizens and one alternate, whose decisions are subject to be called up and can be overturned by City Council and commissioners. Other votes are recommendations only.

The majority of council and commissioners believe that with two elected officials on the housing board, decisions governing the program will be made quicker and there will be more accountability.

It’s not a new idea; the APCHA board has had county commissioners and council members on it in the past but the makeup reverted back to all citizens because of conflicts of interests emerging and attendance problems among elected officials.

Tom McCabe, the former executive director of APCHA and a former member of City Council, reminded the current board Wednesday of past problems with elected officials serving.

“This was never our idea,” Gilbert said.

“Everyone wants to gloss over it,” Council said.

APCHA board members lamented the fact that council members and commissioners have not engaged with them in a public setting, or asked their opinions on the proposed changes.

Board member Dallas Blaney said it was telling that at last week’s City Council meeting when the IGA changes were being reviewed, elected officials did not ask for his or his colleagues’ opinions even though they were in the room.

“That was really disappointing,” he said.

Even more disappointing is that electeds from both governments have rarely, if at all, attended APCHA board meetings in recent years despite that they are trying to change the governance structure.

“There is an incredible amount of institutional knowledge on this board that’s being ignored,” Council said. “I feel like this has been rammed through without any thought.”

Board member Valerie Forbes said it feels a bit sneaky to change the makeup of the board without elected officials talking to them first.

“I feel like a puppet in the whole thing,” she said, concurring with her colleagues that they volunteer their time because they believe in the program, not because they want to be caught in the middle of a political power play. “I’m very disappointed that they are moving forward without a new City Council (in place).”

Board member Carson Schmitz said based on comments made by elected officials about the APCHA board, he thinks they lack basic knowledge of what they do.

“It feels a lot like putting the cart before the horse,” he said.

Board member John Ward said his preference is that the APCHA board makeup remains all citizens and that the executive director report to the board, not the city manager, as it stands today.

Having the executive director be beholden to a board, particularly if there are elected officials on it, but then report to a city administrator who may have a different agenda, has played out negatively and will continue to be nothing but trouble, APCHA board members agreed.

“It’s an untenable, unacceptable situation,” Blaney said, adding that he understands that the system needs fixing. “I think the intention is good but I think the execution is poor.”

Whether APCHA should be its own governing body and whom the executive director should report to are bigger issues that are on hold until a new council is seated.

But the board makeup change is set to be reviewed by council on first reading in May, with a possible final approval later that month. The commissioners also are on the same trajectory for review.

Interim City Manager Sara Ott and Assistant County Manager Phyllis Mattice, as well as Commissioner Kelly McNicholas Kury, attended Wednesday’s APCHA board meeting.

They said they will be sharing the board’s thoughts with their respective elected officials, as well as the unanimous position to push the pause button.


Attorneys indicate Lake Christine Fire suspects are unified, won’t sell out one another

The boyfriend-girlfriend duo accused by police of starting the Lake Christine Fire will not point fingers at one another when their trials start later this spring, their attorneys indicated Thursday.

Richard Miller and Allison Marcus, both 24, are each facing three counts of felony arson for allegedly starting the fire while using the Basalt shooting range July 3. They pleaded not guilty in January.

Stan Garnett, attorney for Marcus, said in a pre-trial court proceeding Thursday that he has made no secret of the defense — she didn’t have the mental state to commit the crime. He said Marcus arrived in the Roaring Fork Valley from Maryland, went to her boyfriend’s dad’s house, then she and Richard Miller went to the shooting range. She was unaware of the fire ban in place at the time or what type of ammunition was with the rifle they borrowed from Miller’s father, according to Garnett.

“This is the one key issue in the case: What did Ms. Marcus know? What was she aware of?” he said.

Garnett later added, “The case is basically about what happened in 45 minutes of July 3.”

Josh Maximon, attorney for Miller, said there would be no antagonistic defense where Miller tries to pin the blame on Marcus. Instead his client will have a “general denial.”

That’s why a motion by Maximon to suppress evidence is so important to the case. Maximon wants a judge to rule that comments made by Miller to law enforcement officials at the Basalt shooting range July 3 while the fire was spreading cannot be used in the trial. Miller allegedly acknowledged that they had tracer rounds for the rifle Marcus was firing.

Investigators believe one of those rounds ignited fire in the grass along the rifle range. The fire spread and eventually burned more than 12,500 acres of national forest, state wildlife area and private lands. It also destroyed three homes.

Maximon and Garnett tried to establish during a four-hour hearing Thursday that Miller’s statement should be tossed because police did not first read him his Miranda rights, which inform a person that statements could be used to prosecute them.

Heidi McCollum, assistant district attorney in the 5th Judicial District, attempted to show that Miller and Marcus were never in police custody. The comments were made voluntarily, she said.

Eagle County District Judge Paul Dunkelman said he would “do my best” to rule on the suppression motion on Friday.

Chris Mandrich, an off-duty law enforcement officer with the White River National Forest, reached the scene before any other law officers. Mandrich testified Thursday he was in flip-flops, board shorts and a casual top after a day at Ruedi Reservoir.

He rushed to the scene from his home in Basalt but didn’t represent himself as a law officer to Miller and Marcus and didn’t detain them, he said. He left the scene when Eagle County Deputy Josiah Maner arrived.

Under cross-examination by Maximon, Mandrich acknowledged he had parked his vehicle in a way that made it difficult for the Jeep that Miller and Marcus were in to leave the scene had they wanted to.

“You could argue one way or another that I boxed in their vehicle,” Mandrich said.

When Maner took the stand, he said Mandrich told him Miller and Marcus were the two “leads” for starting the fire.

“Ms. Marcus kind of approached us and said she was responsible for the fire and was extremely sorry,” Maner said. He said she had voluntarily approached them while they were talking and “just sort of blurted it out.”

She was “very emotional,” he said, and appeared to be almost in shock.

Marcus further explained that she was using the rifle range with a rifle that Miller set her up with, Maner said. Miller said he was using a shotgun. When Maner asked what kind of rounds they were using, Miller said birdshot in the shotgun but he didn’t know about the rifle.

The equipment of Miller and Marcus was spread around so Maner asked if he could check an ammunition box. That’s when Miller acknowledged they had tracer rounds, according to Maner.

“After the admission that they were using tracer rounds,” Maner said, he told them about the fire ban and that they were responsible for knowing those rounds were prohibited. He said he told them they were responsible for the fire.

When asked by McCollum if he read them their Miranda rights, Maner said he did not.

“They weren’t in custody,” he said. “I did not restrain them in any way. I did not put them in handcuffs.”

He issued them a summons but they weren’t arrested or placed into custody.

Under cross-examination, Maximon established that Miller and Marcus were at the shooting range for one hour and nine minutes after Maner arrived. During that time, Maner told them at least five times to “hang tight.”

“They’re being ordered by an officer to stay where they are at least five times over a 69-minute period,” Maximon said.

He claimed that some accusatory statements were made by Maner, such as they were responsible for their weapon and they should have know about the fire ban.

“This was a situation where (Miller) was not allowed to leave. They were asked questions,” Maximon said.

The amount of time they were at the shooting range before Maner told them they could leave qualifies as custody and they were subjected to custodial interrogation, Maximon said.

McCollum saw it differently. “Hang tight” is a colloquialism that didn’t literally mean stay where you are. Instead, Maner meant he would be right back after attending to other duties. In addition to questioning Miller and Marcus, he was relaying conditions at the scene to his superiors, coordinating with firefighters on the scene and discussing if evacuations were needed in homes close to the shooting range.

Maner didn’t talk to Miller and Marcus for 69 consecutive minutes, she said. He talked to them for a few minutes in between those other duties.

McCollum said both Marcus and Miller volunteered information to Maner. Marcus took responsibility for the fire and called 911.

“Of course they were the prime suspects,” McCollum said. “She said, ‘Yes, it was me.’”

When Maner asked to look at the ammo box used by Miller and Marcus, Miller said, “Well, if I can be honest, it was tracer rounds,” according to McCollum.

“I don’t think the court should suppress any of the comments by Mr. Miller,” McCollum said.

Dunkelman acknowledged that the ruling in the suppression motion is substantial.

“A huge part of this case is Mister Miller’s statement,” he said.


Aspen-area Easter services

• Aspen Chapel, 77 Meadowood Drive, Aspen, 11 a.m.

• Aspen Community Church-United Methodist, 200 E. Bleeker St., 9:30 a.m.

• Aspen Mountain — The annual Easter Service will be held at the top of Aspen Mountain at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. The gondola will start running at 7 a.m., and tickets will be sold in the Aspen Mountain ticket office from 7 to 8:15 a.m. The nondenominational service will be conducted by Rev. Nicholas Vesey and feature local musicians. Breakfast will be available for purchase at the Sundeck directly following the service. All gondola passengers must have a valid lift ticket or pass to load the gondola. Foot passes for the service only are $22 for adults (18-64), $12 for children/teens/seniors, and free for children 6 years and under.

• Christ Episcopal Church, 536 W. North St., Aspen, 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Easter egg hunt at 11:30 a.m.

• Cornerstone Christian Center, 20351 Highway 82, Basalt, 10 a.m.

• Crossroads Church Aspen, 726 W. Francis St., Aspen. Nondenominational Christian worship services at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Sunday School provided for kids through grade 4 during the 8:30 a.m service. www.ccaspen.com / 970-925-7828

• Grace Church of the Roaring Fork Valley, 1776 Emma Road, Basalt, 9:30 a.m.

• Snowmass Chapel, 5307 Owl Creek Road, Snowmass Village, 11 a.m. Sunday.

• St. Mary Catholic Church, 533 E. Main St., Aspen, Easter Vigil Mass at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Mass of the Resurrection at 7:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sunday; Easter egg hunt at 11 a.m. Mass of Resurrection at 5 p.m. Sunday at Snowmass Chapel.

• The Snowmass Club (Sage restaurant), Snowmass Club circle, Snowmass, Easter Sunday brunch and egg hunt, 10 a.m.

Aspen seder services

• Aspen Chapel, 77 Meadowood Drive, Aspen. Doors open for Community Passover Seder at 5:30 p.m. The Seder will begin at 6 p.m. Regular Shabbat services will not be held.

• Chabad Jewish Community Center, 435 W. Main St., 7:30 p.m. Friday. Catered by Chef Stanley Coriat and led by Rabbi Mendel and Lieba Mintz. Cost is $80 for adults and $30 for children 12 and under. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds.

Editor’s note: This listing also will run Sunday. If you are aware of a service that was not included in this listing, email the information to rcarroll@aspentimes.com.

Judge denies change of venue in Lake Christine Fire case

A request by the defendants in the Lake Christine Fire case to have their trials transferred from Eagle County to elsewhere in Colorado was denied by a judge Thursday.

Eagle County District Judge Paul Dunkelman said he is confident an impartial jury can be found despite a high level of local media and public interest in the cases against Richard Miller and Allison Marcus.

Among the standard for a change of venue is that pre-trial media coverage was massive, persuasive and prejudicial.

“I would not categorize the publicity as massive. It was extensive,” Dunkelman said.

A lot of the media attention is in the Roaring Fork Valley, which includes a sliver of Eagle County in the Basalt and El Jebel areas, Dunkelman noted. The highest population concentration in the county is in the Eagle Valley, so they won’t be as aware of the case, he said.

Attorneys for Miller and Marcus, both 24, claimed it would be difficult to get a fair trial because the fire affected so many people and that some were evacuated. The Lake Christine Fire and others in the state were reported on extensively during an active fire season last summer.

As further evidence that a substantial number of people have a bias against the defendants, the attorneys noted there were a large number of people posting comments to Facebook after Miller had to be rescued by Mountain Rescue Aspen and the Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol after he skied outside the ski area’s boundary in March. A news release of the event was posted on the Facebook pages of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and MRA as well as newspapers.

That event brought to light the hostile feelings many people in the public hold against Miller, said his attorney, Josh Maximon.

“The things that were being said were very cruel,” Maximon said.

Johnny Lombardi, deputy district attorney in the 5th Judicial District, said numerous comments on Facebook were not grounds for changing the venue. The commenters aren’t necessarily from Eagle County, he said, and media coverage of the fire doesn’t necessarily mean readers hold a bias.

He argued that the motion should be denied and the trial should be held where the incident occurred.

In denying the motion, Dunkelman said he would approve having prospective jurors fill out a questionnaire that will be used to determine if they are aware of the case and can be impartial.

Miller and Marcus each face three charges of fourth-degree arson, a Class 4 felony, and setting fire to woods or prairie, a Class 6 felony. Miller and Marcus are free on a $7,500 bond each.

As the cases stand now, Miller’s trial is scheduled for May 28 to June 7 with the trial for Marcus on June 17 to 28.

Dunkelman didn’t immediately rule on a pre-trial motion to suppress comments made by Miller when law enforcement officials investigated the origins of the fire at the Basalt shooting range.

The fire burned more than 12,500 acres on state, federal and private lands and destroyed three houses.


Forest Service gives timeline for prescribed burn near Carbondale this week

Fire crews may begin prescribed burn operations in Avalanche Creek as early as today if weather and other conditions are favorable, the U.S. Forest Service said Wednesday in a statement.

The prescribed burn area is about 9 miles south of Carbondale in Pitkin County on National Forest lands within the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District.

During the burns, smoke may be visible from Carbondale, Redstone, El Jebel, Filoha Meadows and Swiss Village. The Forest Service asks that the community not call 911 about the smoke.

Most of the smoke is expected to dissipate during the day; however, some nighttime smoke may remain in valley bottoms and drainages for a short duration.

Firefighters and land managers conduct prescribed burns to improve habitat for wildlife, promote nutrient recycling of fire-adapted vegetation communities and decrease hazardous fuel loads adjacent to communities. Firefighters on the Avalanche Creek prescribed burn plan to treat as many as 300 acres over a one- to three-day period.

Firefighters from the Upper Colorado Interagency Fire Management Unit will wait until certain conditions exist before conducting the operation. This includes correct temperature, wind, fuel moisture and anticipated smoke dispersal.

When these criteria are met, firefighters implement and monitor each prescribed burn to ensure it provides for public safety and addresses forest health goals within acceptable air-quality parameters. As many as 20 firefighters and five engines will be used to monitor progress at the Avalanche Creek burn.

Other prescribed fires scheduled this year include Braderich Creek in the Coal Basin area, Cattle Creek in Missouri Heights and Grizzly Creek in Glenwood Canyon.

Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff to visit Aspen on Thursday for public event

One of the Democratic candidates running to unseat Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner next year will be in Aspen for a campaign stop Thursday afternoon.

Andrew Romanoff, former Colorado House speaker, is scheduled to appear at the Aspen Fire Station (420 E. Hopkins Ave.) at 3:30 p.m. for a meet-and-greet with members of the community, according to a statement.

“Romanoff will answer questions from attendees and discuss his record of fighting for universal health care, a stronger environment and a better education for all Coloradans,” the statement said. “The event is open to the public.”

Romanoff, who has most recently advocated for better mental-health care in Colorado, is vying with former state Sen. Mike Johnston, former Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh and former Obama administration official Dan Baer, among several others, for the Democratic Senate nomination to challenge Gardner in 2020.

Aspen officials zeroing in on high-level communications position

The city of Aspen is doubling down on its public outreach budget and is inching closer to hiring a new director of communications.

While the job posting doesn’t close until the end of the month, the top six candidates were interviewed this week, said Alissa Farrell, the city’s human resources director.

She added that roughly 60 people have applied so far, and they range in experience from those who work in public administration, journalism, public relations and marketing.

Farrell said the next step is to form a panel of interested parties for on-site interviews and continue to monitor any new applicants.

While there is no deadline for when the new position will be filled, time is of the essence for the municipal government to interact with the public in a different way.

“The timeline is as soon as possible,” Farrell said.

The pay range for the job is between $93,307 and $131,097, plus benefits.

The city already has a community relations director, Mitzi Rapkin, who makes $94,578 a year, plus benefits.

Adding a supervisor role in the communications department is part of an overall public outreach goal with the public.

Ott said in her experience with other governments she has worked for and with, the amount of money the city spends on communications is paltry in comparison.

“As an organization with a $120 million budget and we are not spending even one half of 1 percent (on communications) is kind of out of the norm,” she said.

The new position will create a strategic framework that is predictable and reliable for the community, Ott noted, adding that the city’s multimedia and social media presence needs improvement, as well.

“We are not where the world is,” she said.

And it became abundantly clear in the past year with several controversial initiatives that came out of City Hall that the public needs more ways to interact with its government.

“The community has a higher expectation in how they want to be contacted and reached and how they can participate,” Ott said. “So we are doubling our capacity in helping our community participate.”

The city does pay for outside public relations firms on various projects and will continue to on a case-by-case basis, Ott said.

Such was the case when the city embarked on the Castle Creek Bridge project last year.

The contractor was required to provide PR and communications services, which amounted to a $76,435 price tag to contract with Carbondale-based PR Studio for its information outreach effort.

PR Studio also is the communications firm for the municipal office project at Rio Grande Place, which amounts to $50,000.

In house, the city is poised to spend nearly $343,000 this year on two positions in the communications department, as well as additional expenses related to training and professional development.

Aspen City Councilman Ward Hauenstein said it’s a long time coming for the city to better communicate with its citizens.

“If $300,000 does break down barriers and boundaries, it is money well spent,” he said Tuesday. “The problem is that we never know going into it if the outcome will be a success. Show me a government that works. Show me a model of communication and engagement that unites us and them. I will gladly mimic it and apply it to Aspen.”


Law firm hunts for Sammy Sosa over botched Aspen rental deal

One of Major League Baseball’s most prolific sluggers has disappeared like one of his towering round-trippers of yesteryear.

A New Orleans-area law firm has been attempting to serve Sammy Sosa with a lawsuit alleging he owes $161,500 for an Aspen home he had agreed to rent over the holidays from Dec. 22, 2017 to Jan. 8, 2018. The suit was originally filed in November in Pitkin County District Court, but the litigants have had no success tracking down the one-time darling of baseball and the Chicago Cubs, where he spent his glory years from 1992 to 2004.

“We have hired a private process server in Florida” to serve Sosa, said Chadna Gauthier of the firm Law Office of Daniel Becnel, which is trying to recoup the money it claims Sosa owes to the owner of a home on Snowbunny Lane.

The firm believes Sosa, 50, resides in Aventura, Florida, according to court documents it introduced April 3.

Plaintiff and homeowner MWTK Snowbunny Lane LLC also claims Sosa used a Miami limited liability company — Riverhead Homes — to agree to rent a home for 17 days during the Christmas holidays of 2017. Sosa and the LLC, however, paid neither the required $100,000 deposit nor the agreed amount of $9,500 per day to rent the Snowbunny Lane home, the suit alleges.

“Mr. Sosa failed to provide the required deposit despite numerous requests, and ultimately due to his failure, the homeowners suffered significant financial loss due to the inability to find a new renter so close to Christmas,” said the suing attorneys in a statement issued in November, at the time of the suit’s filing. “Despite request of payment of the contract, Mr. Sosa and his representatives failed to respond or address this matter.”

The Becnels, who own property in Aspen, were unavailable for comment Wednesday.

The suit originally named Riverhead Homes as the defendant, but the firm filed an amended complain Feb. 26 identifying Sosa as a defendant, as well.

The revised lawsuit claims Sosa committed to renting the home under the name of Riverhead Homes, and employed a registered agent for the LLC “to shield himself from liability.”

The six-bedroom, eight-bathroom home, located at 1260 Snowbunny Lane, spans 7,712 square feet and was built in 2016, according to property records.

Sosa was considered a shoo-in for the Baseball Hall of Fame before he was implicated in the sport’s performance-enhancing drug scandal last decade. He closed his career with 609 home runs, ninth on MLB’s all-time leaders list.


The things that I love (and hate) about Moab

As good as the skiing has been, I needed a four-day weekend in the desert to melt away my end-of-winter blues.

Multiple hours of hiking and biking last weekend gave me plenty of time to think of my love/hate relationship with the Greater Moab Desert Area. I have loved the canyon country and what it inspires me to do since my first trip 33 years ago next month. I hate that so many tourists — people such as me — are flooding the area in increasing numbers and with a growing arsenal of toys and activities to undertake.

I loved drinking beer around the campfire and occasionally howling at the moon.

I loved that even though there were a fair number of campers within earshot of one another, everyone was cool and chilled out at a reasonable time of night.

I loved getting up to whiz Saturday morning and seeing the setting moon turn the clouds red. Not sure I’ve seen that before.

I loved how the diversity of trails allowed us to ease into our mountain biking season and ride increasingly tougher terrain over three outings.

I loved how even though it was a busy weekend, we were able to hike in a relatively obscure canyon and not see anyone for three hours. We had one of the coolest pictographs I’ve ever seen to ourselves for as long as we wanted.

I loved visiting the Moab Brewery. No trip is complete without it.

I loved seeing endless sandstone cliffs with desert varnish again.

I loved watching the ravens play tag with one another.

I loved how my bicycle performed after a January tune by the valley’s best mechanic.

I loved how I survived the weekend with just a few bruises and lost skin but no major injuries.

I hated to see during a short walk from our camp to a canyon rim that a few soulless mountain bikers had indiscriminately plowed through crypto soil gardens.

I really hated that so many mountain bikers either were unaware that uphill riders have the right-of-way or they didn’t see fit to honor the singletrack code.

I hated that some of the side-by-side vehicle drivers were true pricks with no regard for anything but their need for speed. They acted like they were in a rally car race and that pedestrians and bikers on the dirt roads were obstacles to maneuver around at high speeds.

I hated people who pulled into trailhead parking lots with their music blaring. Dude, no one cares what you’re listening to.

I hated that Moab can’t get a grip on sprawl.

Most of all, I hated I didn’t buy something in Moab 25 years ago when I first thought of it.