Aspen couple with worker housing defends free-market purchase
Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority hearing officer considers testimony regarding purchase of free-market home for Tricia and Cameron McIntyre’s children
An Aspen couple may be forced to sell their deed-restricted home if a hearing officer finds that they violated a rule of not owning other real estate in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Tricia and Cameron McIntyre were issued a notice of violation by the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority in March for allegedly having interest in a condominium unit at Park Circle that was purchased for $1.2 million by an LLC with Tricia McIntyre’s name associated with it.
APCHA alleges that violates the deed restriction attached to the McIntyres’ North Forty property, which forbids the owners to own other residential properties in the Roaring Fork drainage.
The McIntyres appealed the notice of violation, and a hearing was held in April, which was continued until Thursday to give both sides time to argue in writing regarding outstanding issues.
With hundreds, if not thousands of pages of evidence, exhibits and tax and financial documents in front of him, compliance officer Mick Ireland listened to five hours of testimony from Tricia McIntyre, as well as a banker from Vectra Bank and an accountant who were involved in the financials around CMTR LLC, which purchased the Park Circle property and was managed and funded by Tricia McIntyre.
However, the two managers of the corporation are identified as the McIntyres’ children, Laughlin McIntyre and Keenan McIntyre, who were minors at the time of the acquisition of the property by the LLC in 2017.
Tricia McIntyre testified on Thursday that the purpose of the LLC was to buy the home for her children to use once they returned from college and in the meantime use it as a rental property.
The McIntyres gifted a portion of the purchase price of the property to their sons through the LLC and the remainder was a loan equal to the amount of the couple’s line of credit balance, according to their attorney Michael Hoffman.
At the April 28 hearing, APCHA was seeking to remedy the alleged violation by forcing the McIntyres to sell either their deed-restricted house in the North Forty subdivision, which has an assessed value of $1.7 million, or 409 Park Circle, with an assessed value of $1.5 million.
At Thursday’s hearing, APCHA Deputy Director Bethany Spitz said the remedy is to sell the North Forty property, which Hoffman took exception to.
“To change the rules in the middle of the game, to require them to sell their family home that they’ve had since the year 2000 in which they raised (their sons) and put a tremendous amount of sweat equity into, as well as their own fortune, would be a breach of procedural due process,” he said. “To now say to these folks that we’re going to take away the home that you thought you would have until you retired and perhaps beyond is a big deal.”
APCHA argued the McIntyres have been in violation of their deed restriction since the Park Circle property was purchased.
“It is irrefutable based on the evidence of record that the Park Circle property has been owned by Patricia McIntyre through CMTR, LCC for a period of five years without being listed for sale,” Spitz wrote in her final written argument in the case. “Therefore, paragraph 6 of the North Forty (deed restriction) requires that the 0005 Riverdown Drive property must be listed for sale.”
Hoffman countered that the terms of the deed restriction may prohibit owners from owning property in what is known as the “ownership exclusion zone” but not members of the household.
“The North Forty deed restriction does not prohibit Keenan and Laughlin (McIntyre) from owning property in the (ownership exclusion zone),” he said.
It will be up to Ireland to determine if the McIntyres followed the rules of APCHA and the law when CMTR LLC was formed and funded.
APCHA’s position is that CMTR LLC acts as the alter ego of Tricia McIntyre, and that the corporate structure formally in place for the ownership and management of the Park Circle property has been used to perpetuate a wrong, namely the violation of the North Forty deed restriction.
Hoffman argued that piercing the corporate veil is not appropriate in this case.
“The evidence in this case is consistent with the McIntyres’ position from the get-go: they have utilized the LLC appropriately and have always treated it as Keenan and Laughlin’s property,” he wrote in his brief for Thursday’s hearing. “The LLC is not Mrs. McIntyre’s ‘alter ego.’”
The hearing was continued until an unspecified date so testimony could continue by witnesses. After that, Ireland will consider the evidence and testimony and then render a decision.
The McIntyres can appeal Ireland’s decision to the APCHA board of directors, as well as take the matter to the 9th Judicial District Court.
Thursday’s hearing centered around putting testimony and evidence into the record in anticipation of future legal wrangling.
“That is absolutely what is planned if you rule against the McIntyres,” Hoffman said. “When and if we get to the district court, which I hope we don’t, Mick, I’m not willing to say that we wouldn’t choose other claims.”
The International Ski and Snowboard Federation announced that for the first time in 19 years, a ski jumping World Cup event will take place on American soil from Feb. 10-12.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.