Judge sentences Pat Smith, former Base Village developer, to one day in jail.
The Aspen Times
A district judge Wednesday ordered Pat Smith, once the developer of Base Village in Snowmass, to serve 24 hours in Pitkin County Jail for violating a court order three times, according to public records.
Smith has until midnight June 1 to report to jail, a court transcript shows. The sentence stems from a property rights battle with Smith’s neighbors, Preston and Betty Henn.
Smith, a California developer who owns a home at the base of Aspen Mountain, is former president of Related WestPac, the former joint partnership behind Base Village. Smith lost control of the development during the recession, prompting his resignation from Related WestPac in February 2009.
Boyd’s ruling, meanwhile, concerned Smith violating a court order three times that prohibited him from upgrading a walkway on the Henns’ property. Smith’s home, which is under the name of WestPac Aspen Investments, is located at 660 S. Galena St. The Henns’ home is next door at 550 S. Galena St.
Smith bought his home for $4.225 million in May 2002, property records show. The Henns paid $4 million for their residence in July 2004.
To get to the Smith house, one must take the elevator up the Residences at Little Nell, walk across a covered footbridge, then cross a path in the Henns’ front yard. The footbridge ends at the edge of the Henns’ property; Smith’s property is another 25 feet away.
The Henns and Smith, both of whom have accused each other of trespassing, have been embroiled in litigation for some seven years over the access, leading to a jury trial in March 2015.
The jury ordered Smith to pay $100,000 in actual damages and $50,000 in punitive damages to the Henns for building sidewalks on their lawn.
A 2010 court order also prohibited Smith from improving the pathway in question, but he did so in 2011, 2013 and 2014, according to court records. Those contempt-of-court violations were not part of last year’s jury trial, and instead addressed by 9th Judicial District Judge James Boyd, who delivered an order March 15.
“(Smith) chose to engage in self-help three times in manners that violated the terms of the injunction,” stated Boyd’s order, which found Smith in contempt of court three times.
Smith allowed grouting to be placed between the flagstones on the path, later removing the flagstone and ground and turning the path into a “sloppy and muddy surface,” Boyd wrote. In 2014, Smith authorized the placement of a thick layer of gravel on the path.
A transcript from an April 5 sentencing hearing showed that Smith apologized for his actions.
“There’s been a lot of anxiety and stress in my life about trying to get to my front door,” he told the judge. “This has been going on for seven years, and I think I acted carelessly … on a couple of occasions over the term of this seven years as different situations arose over the access way of this walkway to my front door.”
Boyd originally sentenced Smith to 48 hours in jail, but said at the April 5 hearing that it could be reduced if he paid a $20,000 fine for being in contempt.
“It’s obviously not only with respect to this contempt but just unfortunate that, Mr. Smith, you and the Henns have had all of this conflict for all of these years over something that is important in one way, but it’s become an awfully big deal for what it is, as well,” Boyd said at the April 5 hearing.
Aspen attorney Matt Ferguson, who represented the Henns, and Joe Krabacher, who is Smith’s counsel, could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.