Judge sets August eviction trial for Residence Hotel

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times

A judge Wednesday set a jury trial to determine the future of a 20-year-old Aspen hotel.

Aug. 4 through 7 is the trial date pitting Terry Butler, owner of the seven-suite Residence Hotel, against her landlord.

Parties met with the Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols in her chambers.

The trial comes after Butler, who has lived in the Victorian-style building since 1987 and converted it to a boutique hotel in 1995, sued her landlord and other defendants on allegations that they unfairly raised her rent and were trying to push her out.

The defendants, landlord James E. Cox Properties and property manager Frias Properties of Aspen LLC, along with representatives of the James E. Cox Living Trust, fired back with an amended countersuit and eviction bid April 18, contending she was $237,510 in arrears for rent, based on allegations that Butler wasn’t in compliance with cost-of-living adjustments made to lease and did not “pay her share of taxes and insurance as provided in the lease,” according to a court filing by Aspen attorney John Case.

Since 2005, Butler has paid $11,658 in monthly rent; the current amount should be $16,858, Case wrote.

James Cox, the building owner, died last summer.

On Wednesday, Butler’s attorney, Lucas Van Arsdale, filed a response that essentially denies that Butler owes any back rent.

The August trial will focus exclusively on the eviction matter. Butler’s lawsuit, meanwhile, is pending.

The Residence Hotel continues to be open for business. Butler has said she is worried that publicity surrounding the court fight will spook away potential guests and damage her business.