Fractional owner sues Dancing Bear over rental income |

Fractional owner sues Dancing Bear over rental income

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times
The Dancing Bear is being sued by one of its fractional owners, who says he should be able to collect all proceeds when he rents out his unit.
Jeremy Wallace/The Aspen Times |

A fractional owner of Aspen’s luxury Dancing Bear lodge has filed a federal complaint saying that he should be allowed to pocket all proceeds when he rents out his unit.

In a lawsuit filed this month in the U.S. District Court of Denver, California resident Thomas H. Wilson claims he has lost more than $100,000 in potential rental income.

His suit asks the court to order that “he has the right to rent his fractional interest to the public.”

But Randall Bone, president of Aspen development firm Sunrise Co., which owns the Dancing Bear, said the rules state that all public rental proceeds go to the Dancing Bear Residences Owners Association.

“The documents are very clear,” Bone said Wednesday. “The issue is not about the rentals, it’s about the money. He would like to rent the unit out and keep the money, but the policy is the owners association rents it out and all of the money goes back to the owners association.”

Bone, who also is president of Dancing Bear Residences Owners Association, said Wilson bought the property strictly as an investment. The Dancing Bear is located at 411 S. Monarch St.

“He’s not a user, he’s just an investor who wants to rent it out for profit,” Bone said. “That’s not what this product is for.”

The one-eighth fractionals, which are good for three weeks in the winter and three weeks in the summer, have commanded anywhere from $600,000 to $785,000, Bone said.

Wilson bought the unit in 2009, the complaint said. He initially received income from the rentals in 2009 and 2010, when the Dancing Bear was under previous ownership.

That owner, DB Capital Holdings, went bankrupt and into receivership — which is when the court appoints an independent entity to manage the failed business’ financial affairs.

The suit says the receiver “took the position that rentals of fractional interests were prohibited, despite language to the contrary in the recorded planned-unit development and subdivision improvement agreement the owner had entered into with the city of Aspen.”

Bone said the Dancing Bear’s other fractional owners don’t have a problem with the rental policy.

“We have a very happy group of owners, and we have one owner who isn’t matching with the program,” he said. “We would love to find a way to make him happy.”

Construction of the second phase of the Dancing Bear development, which was delayed for years under its previous ownership, is underway at the old Chart House site. Its completion is scheduled for December.

The suit seeks a jury trial and was filed by Lance Sears of the Colorado Springs firm Sears & Associates PC.