Local charged in parking tiff
A longtime Aspen resident has been summoned to appear in Pitkin County Court after he allegedly tried to exact vigilante justice on a car illegally parked in one of his lots in Aspen Friday afternoon.
Don Lemos faces charges of disorderly conduct and leaving the scene of an accident stemming from the incident, according to Assistant District Attorney Lawson Wills.
According to Judy Douglas, whose two teenage daughters were involved in the dispute with Lemos, Douglas’ daughters illegally parked in a Lemos-owned lot next to the Wienerstube on Friday afternoon.
“My daughter said they were gone maybe five minutes, and when they came back they saw somebody going through their car,” Douglas said. The two girls confronted the man, who said he was looking for their keys so he could move their car as he was getting out, Douglas said. The girls then entered to car to find the contents of one of their purses strewn around the car, with makeup smeared about the interior, she said.
“Makeup was everywhere,” Douglas said. “I don’t know if it’s going to come out of the seats.”
The man, later identified as Don Lemos, then allegedly blocked the exit of the lot with his vehicle and proceeded to “ram” into the two girls’ car before driving off, Douglas said. The girls, who were not injured in the ramming, then called police.
Lemos, who owns several parking lots in Aspen, did not wish to comment on the matter when contacted at his home Wednesday.
The alleged “ramming” did not do any damage to the girls’ car, Douglas said.
Douglas has since criticized how local authorities have handled the matter, saying with only misdemeanor charges, she feels as though Lemos is getting off easy.
“When we heard that they had booked him for disorderly conduct, we were appalled,” she said. “This guy did so much more than that … if any of the rest of us had done this, the book would’ve been thrown at them.”
However, Wills said the matter – which he describes as “a parking lot dispute that got way out of hand” – has been handled properly and justly thus far.
“This is not a felony case in our opinion,” Wills said. “[Douglas] seems to think since [Lemos] is from here, and she’s from downvalley, that he’s getting preferential treatment, but we simply looked at the facts and made a judgment based on the facts, not the people involved.”
Wills also pointed out that misdemeanor charges are not to be taken lightly. “If there’s a finding of guilt, the judge will impose the appropriate sanction,” he said.
Misdemeanor convictions can carry substantial jail terms and hefty fines.
“Lemos thinks he can just ransack their car, and then ram into them, and then leave,” Douglas said. “He didn’t know if he had hurt them or damaged the car, or anything … he should have some consequences.”
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