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Judge orders condo owner to sell her worker housing

Janet Urquhart

A District Court judge has ordered the owner of a deed-restricted Aspen condo to put her unit up for sale, concurring with housing officials that the homeowner has not complied with the rules that govern affordable housing.

Judge Thomas W. Ossola issued a judgment Monday ordering Cathleen Tripodi to put her condo on the market.

The Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority issued a similar order more than a year ago after concluding that Tripodi doesn’t live and work full time in Pitkin County and therefore doesn’t qualify to own her Marthinsson-Nostdahl condominium.

The authority was forced to file a lawsuit against Tripodi after she failed to comply with the housing board’s order to sell the condo, which is deed-restricted as housing for local workers.

Following a hearing early last year, the board concluded Tripodi had failed to meet the residency and employment requirements of the housing program after she accepted a post with the Maryland-based U.S. Department of Energy in March 2001.

Tripodi did not attend the hearing, nor challenge the board’s findings, so the judge accepted the evidence presented at the hearing as fact, according to Tom Smith, attorney for the housing authority.

“She’s subject to a court order now,” Smith said. “We’re going to give her some reasonable time to list that property for sale.”

If she doesn’t, the housing office will return to court to seek a contempt citation, he said.

Tripodi’s case was the first enforcement action by the housing office to reach the formal hearing stage since 1996. So far this year, however, three more hearings have gone to the board or are scheduled to do so.

The board is expected to take action this week on a resolution that would require Lori Gabrielle, the owner of an Aspen Highlands Village unit, to put her condo up for sale. The board held a hearing on her case last month.

According to the proposed resolution, Gabrielle has failed to occupy her Highlands residence in accordance with the rules. Her request for a leave of absence would be denied if the resolution is approved.

Later this month, a hearing is scheduled for a Billings Place homeowner who allegedly has failed to meet the residency and employment requirements for his unit.

Next month, the board is scheduled to take up a similar case involving a tenant at the Smuggler Mountain Apartments.

Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


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