Former Red Brick executive director still under investigation for theft |

Former Red Brick executive director still under investigation for theft

Angela Callen, seen in this 2013 photo shortly after she was hired at The Red Brick Center for the Arts, is under investigation for embezzling funds "in excess of $150,000" from the Aspen non-profit since 2015.
Leigh Vogel/The Aspen Times file photo

District Attorney Jeff Cheney said this week he expects his office will make a decision within a month on whether it will charge the former executive director of the Red Brick Council for the Arts with theft.

Angie Callen is suspected of alleged financial mismanagement within the nonprofit organization, which had a contract with the city of Aspen to oversee the Red Brick Center for the Arts building and its operations.

Callen was terminated in June, when members of the Red Brick Council for the Arts board alerted the city of suspected theft at the organization.

The city of Aspen owns the building located at 100 Hallam St. and serves as the landlord to nonprofit organizations there. The city’s Parks and Recreation Department has subsequently taken over management of the building.

Callen has been under investigation for nearly a year. In an unusual if not unprecedented move, the city issued a statement in September announcing that Callen was suspected of unauthorized spending totaling $150,000. The alleged theft is suspected to have begun in 2015, according to the city.

The funds allegedly misappropriated represent rent, taxpayer money and some funds from the nonprofit that came from grants, earned income and donations.

Cheney, who heads up the 9th Judicial District, confirmed that the case remains under investigation. He also recognized the length of time the investigation has taken.

“The public has a vested interest in this case, so we’re being careful and diligent about our investigation,” he said. “It’s a serious thing to accuse someone of a crime, and we take it seriously and we look into things very carefully.”

Cheney noted that financial and white-collar crime cases can be particularly complicated. He said it’s not uncommon for these types of investigations to take a year or more because of the nature of audits and forensic accounting.

“Embezzlement cases require intensive auditing; you know that old adage, ‘follow the money,’” he said. “But I agree it’s an important case. My office, my investigators, as well as the Aspen Police Department, are assimilating the information.”

Callen declined to comment.

City Attorney Jim True said the municipal government is relying on the DA’s Office to handle the case appropriately.

“The matter is with the district attorney and the city is waiting for the district attorney to act,” he said. “The city stands by the position it took last year.”