Aspen post office, boot man butt heads over parking |

Aspen post office, boot man butt heads over parking

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times
Brit Queer boots a car in the Clark's Market parking lot last summer. Queer and the nearby post office have been in a dust-up over mail carriers parking at the lot.
Jeremy Wallace/The Aspen Times |

Don’t expect to see the Aspen boot man and a mail carrier exchanging kisses under a mistletoe this holiday season.

Officials at the Aspen post office warned Brit Queer, who patrols the nearby parking lot, and the property manager for the Clark’s Market building that they would stop delivering there after a string of parking flaps. The situation boiled over Saturday after Queer booted a car belonging to a postal employee who had just relocated to Aspen from Indiana. The newcomer’s vehicle exceeded the 90-minute limit in the parking lot at Clark’s, prompting Queer to clamp a boot on it and render it immovable.

“One of my employees drove all the way from Indianapolis, and he didn’t know what he was doing,” said Scott Caskey, postmaster at the Aspen office. “I asked (Queer) if he could just be reasonable and work with this guy, and all he said was, ‘Will this be cash or a credit card?’”

Caskey already had been fielding complaints from one of his carriers who said Queer had threatened to boot a postal jeep that oftentimes parks in front of the Verizon store, which is located at the shopping center. But the United States Postal Service has long claimed immunity from local traffic and parking enforcement laws, saying drivers can be cited for infractions but they don’t have to pay fines.

“Basically, if (the mailer carriers) are in performance of their duty, they have special access,” Caskey said.

“I know I can’t touch them, I can’t boot them,” Queer said. “It’s against the law.”

Queer said he has never booted a postal vehicle, but lately one of the postal carriers has been parking so close to a curve in the Clark’s lot that it creates a bottleneck. He said he has asked her several times not to park there, and after he booted the new employee’s personal vehicle, the Aspen post office said it would no longer serve tenants in the Clark’s building. Queer, who keeps a post office box, also said that a friend called him to say his mail was in a pile on the floor of the post office, as if he were being retaliated against. His friend brought him the mail, Queer said.

The post office’s threat to stop delivering to the Clark’s building blew over after Caskey worked out the matter with the property manager, Queer and Caskey said. The service was never interrupted, Caskey said.

“They weren’t happy,” Queer said. “But now it’s kind of resolved. Hopefully we’ll keep the water under the bridge, and they’ll deliver during the Christmas holidays.”

Caskey said postal employees passed around a collection basket to help pay the $200 for the boot removal.

This marks Queer’s 30th year enforcing parking laws at private lots in Aspen. And he hasn’t just drawn the scorn of postal employees.

He booted Hunter S. Thompson’s cars several times, and the maverick writer once retaliated by rubbing his No. 2 wood on Queer’s vehicle. The Winter X Games crowd hasn’t been much kinder, Queer once said, saying he’s been cussed out by them more than once.