Aspen’s housing authority purchase of controversial Burlingame house delayed

The clock continues to tick for Burlingame Ranch resident Lee Mulcahy, who is facing eviction from his deed-restricted home for not proving that he works full time, which is a requirement of the affordable housing program.

The Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority was scheduled to take possession of the title to Mulcahy’s home Friday, but there has been a delay.

“We’ve got changes in the contract that need to be made and we are working out the details,” APCHA Deputy Director Cindy Christensen said.

A court-appointed receiver, Greenwood Village-based Cordes & Co., which is acting on behalf of Mulcahy, will sign the contract when the details are sorted out.

When that will be is unclear, but Mike Kosdrosky, APCHA’s executive director, said he hopes it’s soon.

“It’s in motion and we are moving as quickly as we can,” he said. “We want this to be done expeditiously.”

That is a relative term, because Mulcahy and his mother, Sandy, who lives with him, have said they will not leave. They’ve also indicated that it may come to a violent ending, pointing to police standoff situations elsewhere.

The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office is in charge of evicting the Mulcahys, and Sheriff Joe DiSalvo has said it will be done peacefully, however long it takes.

According to the purchase contract, if Mulcahy fails to allow APCHA possession of the home he built with his family, he will be subject to eviction and will be required to pay $500 a day from the day of closing until he leaves.

That’s a far cry from what a potential settlement could’ve looked like if some officials and Mulcahy had their way.

But those negotiations among officials representing the APCHA board, county government and Mulcahy failed in recent months.

They had discussed giving him more money for the property if he would peacefully exit when he is forced to sell.

But per a resolution passed by the APCHA board last week, Mulcahy will not receive any financial settlement other than a maximum resale price of $995,000 on the home, according to the deed restriction on the property.

Officials believe that the property is encumbered with debt and will have additional expenses beyond the purchase price, but details are not certain yet.

Who finances the purchase also is uncertain.

APCHA’s annual budget is funded by the city and county but doesn’t have a large coffer.

City Manager Sara Ott said if APCHA wants to rely on the city’s 150 fund, which is fueled by a real estate transfer tax specifically for affordable housing, the agency will have to ask for it.

“APCHA needs to make a supplemental request for money,” she said.

City Council would make the decision on whether to grant that request.

In an email Thursday, Mulcahy stated, “We are not moving out” because the stay of eviction “is currently on appeal in two different courts”: the U.S. Supreme Court and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In 2015, he was found out of compliance of APCHA’s rules for not being able to prove he works the required 1,500 hours in Pitkin County.

He has been embroiled in litigation with APCHA ever since, and has lost his case at the district court level and the Colorado Court of Appeals. The Colorado and U.S. Supreme Court denied hearing the case, which upheld previous decisions that Mulcahy violated the deed restriction on the property.

Mulcahy has filed a motion to vacate the original judgment, which was denied by the district court. That denial is now on appeal to the state’s high court.