Aspen woman sues housing authority over keeping her deed-restricted condo
An Aspen woman has filed suit against the local housing authority, arguing its board of directors exceeded its jurisdiction and abused its discretion when it voted last month to force her to sell her unit for not complying with the rules.
Sonya Bolerjack, through her attorney, Gary Wright, filed the lawsuit against the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority in Pitkin County District Court on Tuesday, asking the judge to allow her to stay in her condo at the Aspen Business Center.
The APCHA board voted unanimously in July that Bolerjack failed to prove that she works at least 1,500 hours a year in Pitkin County, which is one of the requirements for her to live in the deed-restricted condo.
The board determined that as a self-employed chef and chef’s assistant, as well as a mother of two young children, Bolerjack did not provide adequate documentation, including key income statements such as invoices and payments from clients, to prove that she worked 1,500 hours a year in 2018 and half of this year.
Wright told the board that admittedly Bolerjack was a poor record keeper but exceeds the agency’s work requirement and to give her the benefit of the doubt.
One of the necessary requirements to live in deed-restricted units under the tax subsidized housing program is to maintain proper records to account for income and employment.
Bolerjack also admitted to the board that some of her income is off the books with the IRS, which is why her tax return showed a low amount.
The lawsuit claims that APCHA has “no guidance on what documentation may be required to evidence the calculations of hours worked.”
Bolerjack also alleges in the complaint that information she provided to APCHA was intentionally and disregarded, and the board prevented Wright from addressing several allegations at the July 17 appeal hearing.
APCHA lacked objectivity and its board offered opinions that were not supported by evidence, according to the lawsuit.
“APCHA further lacked objectivity because staff indicated that Sonya and her attorney had ‘attacked’ APCHA, notwithstanding that numerous citizens have attacked and otherwise criticized APCHA for its known bias, dysfunction and excessive bureaucracy,” the lawsuit states.
The board’s action required Bolerjack to list her home for sale Aug. 8 but she has not, according to Tom Smith, counsel for APCHA.
He declined comment because of pending litigation.
With the legal case active, the sale of the condo has been deferred until a judge makes a ruling.
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