Concierge sues Ritz, says unit owner harassed him
Aspen Times Staff Writer
A former concierge from the Ritz-Carlton Club at Aspen Highlands is suing the club and an owner of a time-share unit, claiming the owner threatened him and the club did not adequately protect him.
Aspen resident Titan Price filed the suit in Pitkin County Civil Court on Friday. Price, who is representing himself, lists the club and Chicago resident Bruce Nesbitt as defendants.
Price claims Nesbitt began to harass him after Price testified in Nesbitt’s assault trial, resulting in his conviction. Price contends he was fired soon after.
“[Nesbitt] called me at home a few days after I was fired and said `You get what you ask for when you knock around the wrong people. You don’t know who I am and who I know,'” Price said Monday.
According to the lawsuit, Price was working at the member-owned property on March 16, 2001, when he received a call from Nesbitt at 11 p.m., claiming he had been assaulted in his residence at the club. Price claims he notified security and then went to the lobby to wait for Nesbitt’s alleged assailant to arrive.
The suit states that minutes later Elizabeth Nesbitt and Daniel Wertz entered the lobby and told Price that there had been “an altercation” in the Nesbitt residence and that they’d like another place to stay for the night. Price claims he found another place for them to stay and when law enforcement arrived, they were separated and questioned.
Price alleged yesterday that he later learned that prosecutors believed that Nesbitt had begun assaulting his wife, Elizabeth, in their unit at the Ritz and then called the concierge about the assault when Elizabeth’s brother, Daniel Wertz, intervened in the fight.
Price’s suit says that on Sept. 15, 2001, he was subpoenaed to testify in the Nesbitt assault case regarding the events of that night. Price claims he told the management of the Ritz-Carlton that he was worried about Bruce Nesbitt’s possible retaliation, but the management dismissed his concerns.
He claims that Nesbitt then contacted him at work and at home over the phone, allegedly accusing him of “accepting bribes for his testimony, threatening him with bodily harm and with loss of his job.” Price said the Ritz security director dismissed his concerns and denied giving Price’s home phone number, which was unlisted and in his roommate’s name, to Nesbitt.
The suit says Price testified in Nesbitt’s case on Sept. 28, verifying his presence with Elizabeth Nesbitt and Daniel Wertz for 25 minutes on the night in question. Price claims his testimony contradicted with Nesbitt’s testimony, damaging his case and resulting in his conviction for assault.
He said Nesbitt continued to approach him at work after the trial, blaming him for his conviction.
The suit claims that Scott Scarlotta, a “loss prevention officer” at the Ritz-Carlton, later told Price he heard Nesbitt say to Ritz assistant manager Dwayne Williams, “The kid is a clown. He doesn’t take anything seriously.”
Price claims he was fired on Oct. 3 and that managers told him he was “thinking irrationally and there was no room for discussion in the matter.”
Price is seeking $500,000 from Nesbitt, claiming that Nesbitt’s conduct caused him severe emotional distress and to fear for his life.
He is also asking for $150,000 in damages and restitution from the Ritz. On Monday Price said that he plans to file an amendment to his lawsuit. He said rather than just suing the Ritz for his termination, his chief complaint is their lack of protecting him from Nesbitt’s harassment under the guidelines in the employee handbook.
He said the Ritz-Carlton Club should have gotten a mediator for a discussion between him and Nesbitt.
[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org]
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