Aspen native wins six-figure judgment against Michael Turchin |

Aspen native wins six-figure judgment against Michael Turchin

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times

On Aug. 15, 2008, Aspen native Judy Haas loaned $200,000 to Michael Turchin. On April 30, a district judge ordered Turchin to pay $264,906.41 to Haas.

Judge Denise K. Lynch’s judgment ended years of frustration for Haas, a well-known local artist who now calls Telluride home.

Haas sued Turchin last year in Pitkin County District Court after failed attempts to collect payments on the promissory note signed by her former brother-in-law.

“It was my entire life savings,” she said. “It was everything I had made through the years, and the reason I lent it to him was that as family members, we trust each other.”

Turchin, a part-time Aspen resident who lives in California, could not be reached for comment Monday.

Lynch made her ruling after Haas’ attorney, Michelle N. Bass of the Aspen-based Matthew C. Ferguson Law Firm PC, filed a motion for summary judgment, which essentially asks the court to make a ruling based on the undisputed facts in front of it.

“If there’s a truly disputed issue of fact, judges won’t grant a summary judgment,” Bass said.

Bass’ motion, filed March 30, included an affidavit from Haas stating that Turchin owed $176,540.66 in outstanding principal and another $88,365.75 in interest — the total of Lynch’s judgment.

“I agreed to loan money to Defendant Turchin because he was married to my sister, and is the father of my two nephews,” Haas said in her affidavit.

The next step for Haas is collecting the judgment.

“I feel like he means well, but he doesn’t follow through on paying money back,” she said. “This doesn’t mean I’m going to get my money back, but at least I got a judgment.”

Turchin, who most recently did not have a lawyer and represented himself in the proceedings, once was treasurer for the board of directors of the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club.