Boogie’s Building in Aspen sells for $27.5 million, lawsuit settled
May 22, 2015
The Boogie's Building swapped ownership for $27.5 million this week on the heels of litigation that stalled the sale of the downtown Aspen structure.
The sale was registered Thursday in the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder's Office. The buyer is Thor 534 East Cooper Avenue, a limited-liability company under the umbrella of New York developer Thor High Street Advisors.
The deal was scheduled to close at the end of April, but a lawsuit against building owner Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass pushed back the closing date.
The suit, filed April 22 in Pitkin County District Court by Weinglass' longtime friend, Shlomo Ben-Hamoo, was over commission in the sale. Ben-Hamoo, a broker with Aspen Real Estate Co, alleged Weinglass reneged on a handshake agreement in which at least $550,000 in commission would be paid to the broker at the close of the sale. Ben-Hamoo said he lined up Thor High Street Advisors to acquire the 12,499-square-foot building, located on East Cooper Avenue. Weinglass, through his attorneys, said there was no commission agreement.
“The bottom line is Shlomo got paid and he had to sue Boogie to get it.”Matt FergusonAttorney for Shlomo Ben-Hamoo
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Lawyers for both sides said Thursday that an out-of-court settlement recently was reached and the suit will soon be dismissed.
Both sides said they came out ahead.
"All we did and said to Mr. Shlomo is 'we don't owe you a dime, and if you persist with this, we'll file a huge counterclaim and a lawsuit,'" said Denver lawyer Richard Clark, Weinglass' counsel in the case. "The lawsuit will be dismissed, and to my knowledge, there's no remaining dispute."
Aspen attorney Matt Ferguson, who filed the suit for Ben-Hamoo, said the broker will collect a commission, just not from Weinglass.
"There's a lot of money coming to Shlomo, a big commission, and if Boogie was able to get out of paying a dime, that would be between him and the buyer," Ferguson said.
In other words, Thor High Street Advisors is paying the commission, both attorneys hinted.
"The broker, the seller and the buyer talked themselves blue in the face, and we were not going to let this case settle until (Ben-Hamoo) picked a number that he thought was fair," Ferguson said. "It was all worked out behind the scenes. The bottom line is Shlomo got paid and he had to sue Boogie to get it. The court system worked."
Ferguson said the financial outcome works out in Ben-Hamoo's favor. "It's several hundred thousand dollars, if not the full amount he claimed," he said.
Likewise, Clark said the settlement met Weinglass' terms.
"Boogie didn't pay any money to the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, so it was not a Boogie issue," Clark said.
Thor High Street Advisors has not unveiled its plans for the building, once considered a blight on Aspen, and later deemed a town treasure chiefly because of the wildly popular Boogie's Diner upstairs.
Weinglass opened the diner in 1987 but it has permanently closed, much to the chagrin of Aspen's 2- to 12-year-old demographic and older frequenters, as well. His clothing store downstairs will remain open for the time being. The new owner also has previous city approval to build a third-story penthouse.