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Aspen housing authority takes possession of controversial Burlingame home

Embattled owner leaves peacefully; deed-restricted property will be listed for over $1M

Lee Mulcahy moves out of 53 Forge Rd. on March 16. (Kelsey Brunner/Aspen Times.)

With embattled Burlingame Ranch resident Lee Mulcahy now out of the deed-restricted home he’s refused to leave as he wrangled in the courts with the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority for nearly six years, the agency is preparing the property for a new owner.

But it’s going to take some time to list the property, located at 53 Forge Road, because more court motions for attorney fees need to be filed and ruled upon, along with existing ones that are pending.

APCHA already has recorded liens for court costs and attorney fees for roughly $100,000, according to interim executive director Diane Foster.



“Attorney fees continue to accrue, and before the court determines how the proceeds of sale are to be distributed, an updated request for cost and fees will be filed with the court,” she wrote in an email last week. “Also, please note that the receiver has filed a motion for the award of its cost and attorney fees, which is pending.”

APCHA also must file a motion seeking judgment for approximately $49,000 in penalties that Mulcahy owes for not leaving the premises when the agency purchased the home Dec. 8.




That’s when a court-appointed receiver acting on behalf of a defiant Mulcahy closed on the property and sold it to APCHA for $990,558.

Attached to the court order issued by Pitkin County District Court Judge Chris Seldin authorizing transfer of the title to APCHA was a $500-a-day penalty levied against Mulcahy if he refused to leave the property after the sale of the home closes.

He finally moved out last week peacefully, despite years of threats that an eviction would result in a violent standoff.

APCHA officials have inspected the single-family home and found the property was left in good condition and was very clean, according to Foster.

APCHA Deputy Director Cindy Christensen will lead the effort to make improvements on the property after a third-party inspector is hired and determines what needs work.

Mulcahy, a local artist, ran afoul of APCHA rules when the agency found him out of compliance with affordable housing employment guidelines that say he must work 1,500 hours a year in Pitkin County.

The remedy for breaking the agency’s rules at the time was eviction for renters and a forced sale for homeowners. Now, APCHA has established a schedule of fines for such violations and a hearing officer makes determinations on how much a violator pays. Eviction and a forced sale are still options.

In Mulcahy’s case, APCHA sued to force the sale of the property, and Mulcahy has lost at the district court and Colorado Court of Appeals, while the Colorado and U.S. Supreme Courts refused to hear the case.

The final blow was an eviction notice issued by Seldin on March 8.

Mulcahy told The Aspen Times that day that they were moving to Texas to be with his family.

Also outstanding on the property is an $850,000 promissory note to Mulcahy’s mother that APCHA is attempting to sort out.

When APCHA obtained the property in December the only unpaid lien, except for amounts owed to APCHA, was the promissory note, the status of which remains uncertain.

“Normally, the holder of the lien informs the title company of the outstanding amount of principal and interest so that that the lien can be paid off at the time of closing from the proceeds of the sale,” Foster said in her email. “The Mulcahys refused to communicate with the title company about this, so the proceeds of sale were deposited with the court for a later determination of how the proceeds of sale will be distributed.

“The Mulcahys have not provided the court with any information, and Sandy Mulcahy has not made any demand for payment,” Foster continued. “Once APCHA knows what the costs will be to bring the property up to minimum standards, I expect that APCHA will ask the court to decide how the proceeds of sale should be distributed. Any judgment liens that are not able to be paid out of the proceeds of sale continue to be liens against Mr. Mulcahy personally, and APCHA would have the right to execute on those judgments if it wants to do so.”

The three-bedroom home that is nearly 3,000 square feet will likely be listed for over $1 million, after APCHA makes improvements.

“We don’t know what the payout will be yet,” Christensen said, adding her office has fielded inquiries from prospective buyers. “We’ve already had interest in the home.”

Deed-restricted homes in APCHA’s inventory are subject to a 3% or consumer price index appreciation cap — which ever is lower.

However, that’s moot because Mulcahy did not receive any appreciation due to the fact that he was out of compliance, according to Christensen.

csackariason@aspentimes.com


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