Michigan court fight lands in Aspen over luxury home

Ownership of the home at 941 E. Hyman Ave. is at the center of a legal dispute in Pitkin County District Court.
Rick Carroll/The Aspen Times

A legal battle over a real estate project in Michigan has made its way into the local court system where a lender has made a move on a luxury Aspen home with an advertised daily rent of nearly $7,000.

Lender CAN IV Packard Square has accused Craig Schubiner of fraudulently transferring his ownership of an Aspen home, which was once listed at $26.5 million, for $10 to a limited liability company in an effort to avoid paying a court judgment in Michigan of nearly $14 million.

In court filings earlier this month, however, Schubiner’s attorneys argued the complaint is so off base that the court should throw out the suit.

“This allegation is not supported by the public records and is patently false,” said the motion to dismiss the suit.

Schubiner declined comment Wednesday and the Aspen law firm representing him locally — Klein Coté Edwards Citron — could not be reached.

The standoff between Schubiner, a Michigan developer, and lender CAN IV Packard Square LLC stems from a $53.8 million construction loan Schubiner received in October 2014 to develop a mixed-use project in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Schubiner lost control of the project — called Packard Square — over accelerated debt payments he couldn’t satisfy and it ultimately wound up in receivership.

Litigation over the fallout has played out in courts in Michigan and New York, and on March 9 in Pitkin County District Court, CAN IV Packard Square filed suit against Schubiner.

The lender’s complaint said Schubiner, around the same time he defaulted on the construction loan in early 2016, “conveyed the $16 million property” for 10 bucks to 306 Associates, an LLC controlled by Schubiner, the suit alleged.

By doing so, Schubiner made himself insolvent with the “actual intent to hinder” the lender from collecting on the judgment, the suit alleged.

The suit wants a judge, in this case Chris Seldin, to set aside the property transfer so that the home is in Schubiner’s name. An alternative proposal from the suit is for Seldin to issue a judgment for one and a half times the value of the home against Schubiner.

Yet in a motion to dismiss the lawsuit dated June 3, Schubiner’s attorneys said the property transfer never happened as the plaintiff alleged it did on March 30, 2016.

“The complaint is fatally flawed, however, as it relies on facts which not only are entirely untrue, but which could and should have been easily verified by a title search of the property,” the motion said.

In fact, 306 Associates owned the East Hyman property since April 2007, more than seven years before the litigation over the loan ensued, the motion said.

The only time it did not own the property during that period was for three seconds — the amount of time it took for 306 Associates to convey the property to Schubiner before he conveyed it back to the LLC, the suit says.

“Other than the three second period on March 30, 2016, title to the Property has been held by 306 (Associates) from April 12, 2007 to the present time,” the motion said.

The property is located at 941 E. Hyman Ave., and “may be the finest home in core of Aspen,” according to online advertisements for the rental home. “Luxurious contemporary décor and furnishings, theatre, pool table and gaming area, wet bar, yoga room, gourmet kitchen, courtyard patio with hot tub used as an outdoor living room, all bedrooms have en suite bathrooms and luxury amenities.”

The 6,000-square-foot home has an actual value of $14.6 million, according to the Pitkin County Assessor’s Office.