Dog-bite judgment against Aspen company unravels into claims of fraud and deceit
Fraud allegations against two Carbondale residents have arisen from an Aspen company’s bankruptcy case that originally was declared to stave off paying a $369,948 court judgment to the victim of a dog bite.
The adversary complaint against Autumn Kent DeSimone and Magnus Grimmett accused the couple of committing civil fraud by transferring more than $1.2 million from the now-defunct Ajax Technologies for their own personal use from 2017 through July 2020. And while the information-technology company was what the complaint called “thinly capitalized virtually from inception” in late 2013 when Grimmett founded it, the couple allegedly used it as a tool to personally enrich themselves, including using proceeds from a $60,000 SBA disaster-relief loan the company received in May 2020, alleged the complaint.
“The SBA Transfers were taken from the Debtor (Ajax Technologies) by Grimmett with no justification or excuse,” argued Denver attorney Theodore Hartl in the complaint filed Oct. 22 in the U.S. District Court of Denver on behalf of Jared Walters.
Walters is the court-appointed trustee overseeing the Chapter 7 case of Ajax Technologies, which declared bankruptcy in September 2020. The bankruptcy filing, also done in Denver, came in the aftermath of a court judgment in favor of Aspen resident Linda Hassall, who had sued Ajax Technologies and other parties in April 2018 over personal injuries she suffered from a German shepherd’s bite. Hassall’s lawsuit, filed in Pitkin County District Court, cast part of the blame on Ajax Technologies, which had been located at 555 N. Mill St.
That North Mill address is where Hassall, in February 2016, went to return some misplaced mail when the dog, alleged to have been unprovoked, bit Hassall leading to multiple medical procedures on her injured wrist.
Defendants Pyramid Property Advisors and North Mill Street Investors would end up settling with Hassall for undisclosed terms, and the dog’s owner, defendant Daniel Rave, who had been a contract worker for Ajax, would move to Florida after the incident and not be reachable through the litigation. As well, the dog was euthanized after the attack, according to court pleadings.
A judgment issued in November 2019 went in Hassall’s favor against Ajax Technologies and Grimmett. After the judgment went unanswered and no payments were received, Hassall’s attorneys filed for a writ of garnishment to collect the money, which Grimmett was served with in June 2020. Three months later the company declared bankruptcy and by doing so, was able to pause Hassall’s collection effort.
Attorney Michael Fox of the Aspen firm Kalamaya | Goscha, which has represented Hassall in her pursuit of the sum, said last month’s adversary complaint against Grimmett and DeSimone backs their argument — which has been that the couple have used the bankruptcy of Ajax Technologies to shield them from any liability.
“The bankruptcy complaint reinforces what we have said all along,” Fox said in an email statement. “These are people who are just trying to evade liability. From our standpoint, these claims represent one more step on our client’s road to recovery.”
The complaint also alleged that in January 2018, Grimmett and DeSimone transferred the ownership of their $1 million Carbondale home into the name of a limited liability company called Bazzaminty Holdings, which they established in August 2017. The two had been on notice, since September 2016, that Hassall would be suing them, according to the complaint.
“In an apparent further effort to distance themselves personally from third-party claims, Grimmett and DeSimone again doubled down, transferring their million dollar residence in Carbondale, Colorado, to BazzaMinty, which was formed for no other legitimate business purpose than to hinder, delay, and defraud the debtor and its creditors,” said the complaint, which was filed Oct. 22.
Denver attorney Kelsey Jamie Buechler, who has represented Ajax Technlogies in its bankruptcy proceedings, did not return telephone and email messages seeking comment this week. Grimmett’s voice mailbox was full Thursday and he did not respond to a text message.
A formal response to the complaint is due Monday, according to court records.
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