Hecht sues lawyer, alleging vendetta | AspenTimes.com

Hecht sues lawyer, alleging vendetta

Aspen developer Nikos Hecht late last week sued the local lawyer representing three women who have filed lawsuits against him in the past two years.

Hecht claims attorney David Bovino abused the legal process in those lawsuits in an effort to extract millions of dollars from him, as well as repeatedly terming Hecht a "rapist" to people around town in an effort to injure Hecht's reputation, according to the lawsuit filed Friday afternoon in Pitkin County District Court.

"Defendant Bovino's course of conduct caused Mr. Hecht severe emotional distress, including without limitation shame, humiliation, embarrassment, chagrin and worry," according to the lawsuit filed by Denver attorney Michael Ogborn. "Given its duration and intensity, no reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities could be expected to tolerate and endure Defendant Bovino's conduct."

Bovino, who did not know about the lawsuit when contacted by a reporter Tuesday, declined to comment. His Denver attorney did not return a phone message seeking comment.

About three and a half hours before Hecht's lawsuit was filed Friday, Bovino asked Pitkin County Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely to issue a protection order against Hecht. In his application for the protection order, Bovino included a letter from Ogborn dated Oct. 26 stating that Hecht had hired Ogborn's firm to investigate and prosecute claims for "abuse of process and defamation," according to the letter.

"I have been told by other people, including an Aspen attorney, that Mr. Hecht has admitted in text messages that he wants to harm me and my family," Bovino wrote in the protection order application. "Although Mr. Hecht, through his counsel, has accused me of having a vendetta against him, it appears … that Mr. Hecht has a vendetta against me."

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Fernandez-Ely denied the protection order seven minutes after Hecht filed the lawsuit against Bovino on Friday afternoon, according to court records.

"(The) letter from an attorney threatening investigation of grounds for a lawsuit does not present an imminent danger to (Bovino) that would support … a Civil Protection Order," Fernandez-Ely wrote in her order. "The alleged threats to harm Mr. Bovino made by Nikos Hecht in text messages were not produced for the court to determine when they occurred and whether they constituted real threats of imminent danger."

Bovino represented or co-represented Hecht's ex-girlfriend, Brooke Warfel, in a misdemeanor criminal domestic violence case in Pitkin County in 2015 and a civil lawsuit filed in federal court. Hecht pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of harassment in February 2016 in the former case and settled the civil lawsuit in the latter for an undisclosed sum in September.

Bovino also co-represented Suzanna Dailey of Florida, who sued Hecht in federal court in 2016, claiming he raped and assaulted her during a family dinner in March 2014 at a restaurant in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. A jury deliberated about 45 minutes in May before finding Hecht did not rape or assault Dailey.

Finally, Bovino co-represents Juliana Pfister, who sued Hecht, his father and others earlier this year, alleging they engaged in a conspiracy to defraud the Pfister family of numerous real estate assets during the past decade.

During the domestic violence case, Bovino asked Hecht to agree to mediation and a hypothetical settlement range between $3 million and $25 million, Hecht's lawsuit states. Hecht declined the offer, according to his lawsuit.

Bovino then repeatedly used the criminal process to improperly introduce evidence into the public record without following the rules of criminal process or allowing Hecht due process, the lawsuit states.

During depositions for the Dailey case, Bovino allegedly directed lawyers who deposed Hecht to ask "irrelevant and abusive" questions to harass, annoy and embarrass Hecht in an effort to "coerce" him into paying money to Bovino's clients, according to Hecht's lawsuit. Hecht was asked if he engaged in homosexual sex, could name every prostitute he'd been with and how he obtained illegal drugs, the lawsuit states.

Bovino also allegedly asked Hecht's lawyers for a $25 million settlement in the Dailey case, according to the suit.

Hecht makes similar claims over his father's deposition in the Dailey case, which he claims Bovino used to conduct discovery in the Pfister family probate case, the lawsuit claims. Bovino asked Andy Hecht about prostitution, cocaine use and whether he believed "the Jewish Holocaust occurred knowing that Andrew Hecht's grandparents were murdered at the Auschwitz concentration camps," the lawsuit states.

Finally, Bovino scolded two of Hecht's local employees for working for "the rapist" and told another resident Hecht was "a rapist," according to the lawsuit. In addition, Bovino falsely told an Aspen Daily News reporter he was investigating "issues of potential jury tampering" related to the Dailey trial when there was no evidence of that, the lawsuit states. Hecht is asking for "actual damages, compensatory damages, attorneys' fees, costs (including expert witness fees)" and whatever other relief the court decides, the lawsuit states.

jauslander@aspentimes.com

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