Former Aspen police chief will remain in city housing until spring
ASPEN – Former Aspen Police Chief Loren Ryerson has been granted a six-month extension to continue living in city housing, which will be 2 1/2 years after he resigned.
Ryerson, who resigned in November 2007 amid sexual harassment allegations by former employees, will reside at 455 Doolittle Drive with his family until May 31.
City Manager Steve Barwick granted the extension after Ryerson asked him for it in November, according to Sally Spaulding, the city’s community relations officer.
“I don’t want to put a family out onto the street,” Barwick said in a statement. “These are difficult times, and I understand that.”
When a person buys a city employee unit and then is no longer employed by the government entity, he or she is asked to honor their agreement to sell the unit back to the city within the 180 days allowed by the deed restriction – unless an exception is made.
In addition, the individual who is slated to purchase Ryerson’s unit was not ready to move in when he asked for the extension.
“There was an ability to say ‘yes’ to that without hurting the other person,” Spaulding said. “If someone else was lined up to buy it, then it would be a different story.”
Ryerson purchased the home in 2005 for $326,836 and will sell it back to the city on or before May 31 for that purchase price, plus 3 percent or CPI, whichever is less, as well as the cost of capital improvements, minus 1.33 percent per year for capital replacements, according to Assistant City Manager Randy Ready.
Ryerson was unavailable for comment.
Ryerson was placed on paid administrative leave for five weeks in the fall of 2007 after an investigation was launched by the city’s insurance carrier, the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency (CIRSA).
Although CIRSA determined that Ryerson did engage in misconduct related to the sexual harassment allegations, it didn’t rise to the level of requiring severe disciplinary action, Barwick said at the time.
Barwick offered Ryerson his job back. However, Barwick said at the time that some disciplinary action would have been taken against Ryerson but didn’t elaborate on what it would have been.
Barwick said he was following CIRSA’s recommendation to reinstate Ryerson. The agency determined that there was no great risk or liability by having Ryerson return to his post.
Barwick said no deals were made with Ryerson.
Meanwhile, former Aspen police officer Jim Crowley – who was fired in 2008 for allegedly showing up to work intoxicated and then in November pleaded guilty to reckless driving as part of a plea deal – sold his home at 21 Water Place back to the city in December.
He purchased the home in June 1998 for $321,500, and the city bought it back from him in for $406,770, according to Ready.
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