Enforcement in housing case stalls | AspenTimes.com

Enforcement in housing case stalls

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

A condo owner who has disputed claims that she does not spend sufficient time living and working in Pitkin County to qualify for her affordable housing unit has not yet been served with a lawsuit that could force her to sell it. The process server can’t find her.

The Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority filed the suit a month ago, seeking a court order that would force Cathleen Tripodi to put her deed-restricted condo up for sale because she is allegedly violating housing rules.

Tripodi has 30 days to respond from the date she is served with the suit, but a process server working on the authority’s behalf has yet to track her down and hand her a copy, according to attorney Thomas Fenton Smith, representing the housing office.

“We have not been able to get her served here in Aspen,” he said. “It’s kind of an ironic twist to the whole thing.”

According to the suit, Tripodi violated the deed restriction that governs her Marthinsson-Nostdahl condo by failing to live and work full time in Pitkin County, and by renting out her condo without prior approval from the housing office.

Tripodi accepted an appointment with the U.S. Department of Energy, based in Maryland, in March 2001 – a job that took her out of town for lengthy periods of time, suggested evidence presented by Smith at a February hearing before the housing board.

The process server has also been thwarted in attempts to serve Tripodi with the lawsuit at the Department of Energy, according to Smith, and is now attempting to contact her at her East Coast residence.

“We’ll just keep working on serving her. Then this thing will proceed apace,” Smith said.

At the close of the enforcement hearing before the housing board, members unanimously concluded Tripodi violated the Housing Authority’s employment and residency requirements, imposed in the deed restriction for her condo.

Owners of deed-restricted housing, designated for qualified local workers, must reside in their unit at least nine months of the year and work in Pitkin County at least 1,500 hours per year.

Tripodi did not attend the hearing, but was represented by attorney David Myler, who said this week he is continuing to advise Tripodi, but will not be representing her in court.

Tripodi could not be reached for comment.

[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is


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