City of Aspen’s ongoing housing dispute with local man goes behind closed doors

Carolyn Sackariason
The Aspen Times
Lee Mulcahy
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times |

The Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority board went behind closed doors Wednesday to discuss a settlement offer from a local man who is being evicted by the agency.

Lee Mulcahy spoke in front of the board prior to its members going into executive session.

“Executive sessions are damaging to local democracy,” he told the board. He then spoke about the merits of his offer and why board members should accept it, as well as various accusations he levied against APCHA’s attorney, Tom Smith.

Last week, Mulcahy had to make an appointment to speak in front of the board, because the city of Aspen has restricted his access to public officials and two government buildings. They cited his threatening behavior as having crossed the boundaries of the city’s policy for a safe work environment.

Aspen police Sgt. Rick Magnuson escorted Mulcahy to Wednesday’s APCHA board meeting.

In January, two APCHA board members were asked by Mulcahy’s attorney, Norman Mueller, to recuse themselves, suggesting that they have personal bias toward his client.

Smith advised board members Valerie Forbes and Ron Erickson that those claims are unfounded and to vote on Mulcahy’s offer.

The board spent about a half hour behind closed doors. No public statement was made regarding Mulcahy’s offer, and any decision will be communicated through both sides’ attorneys.

Last month, Mulcahy offered a $20,000 donation to the Aspen Homeless Shelter, a $10,000 donation to the Arlington Life Shelter in Texas, a $20,000 donation to the Africa Water Wells charity in Texas, and 500 hours of community service at Habitat for Humanity.

It’s his eleventh-hour effort to keep his worker-housing unit at Burlingame Ranch. He’s been in a legal battle for over two years with APCHA, which so far has prevailed in its litigation to force Mulcahy to sell his home.

In September, the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the Pitkin County District Court’s decision in June 2016 that Mulcahy must sell his house because he ran afoul of APCHA eligibility rules. APCHA has said Mulcahy is not eligible to keep his home because he hasn’t worked full time in Pitkin County. APCHA, which originally filed suit against Mulcahy in December 2015, also has contended he has not used the home as his full-time residence.

He has since hired the prominent Denver law firm of Haddon, Morgan and Foreman PC in his legal fight with APCHA. They’ve filed a motion to ask the Colorado Supreme Court to hear the case. APCHA filed a motion Wednesday asking the high court to deny Mulcahy’s petition.


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