Former Red Brick director admits theft, pays $50k
The former director of the city of Aspen’s Red Brick Center for the Arts pleaded guilty Monday to felony theft in a plea deal with the District Attorney’s Office.
As part of the deal, Angela Callen gave the Pitkin County District Court a check for $50,000 on Monday toward $125,000 in restitution she must pay back to the city for stealing money during her approximately three-year stint as director.
The deal means Callen, 38, will not be sentenced to prison, said Mark Rubinstein, her attorney. She will receive a probationary sentence, though she also could spend as long as 90 days in the Pitkin County Jail, he said. She is scheduled to be sentenced July 1.
Previous media reports said Callen embezzled nearly $160,000 from the nonprofit arts center, though the $125,000 figure was stipulated to in the plea deal, Rubinstein said.
Callen was initially charged with four felonies — theft, committing cybercrimes, embezzlement of public property and identity theft.
Previously filed court documents indicate that she took out loans in the name of the Red Brick, then transferred the funds to a snowboard equipment company she owned with her husband. Callen also repeatedly overpaid herself, spent more than $18,000 of Red Brick funds on food, hotels and ski trips and ran up thousands of dollars on a Red Brick credit card.
District Judge Chris Seldin on Monday asked Callen what she did to merit a guilty plea to theft between $20,000 and $100,000.
“I used money inappropriately that was not mine to use,” she said, acknowledging that the money belonged to the Red Brick.
Callen served as director of the Red Brick from 2014 until she was fired in June 2017.
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Embezzlement and theft are recurring themes in the Aspen area crime annals, and the District Court judge who sent Derek Johnson to prison for six years Tuesday brought up three recent cases before passing down the sentence.