Mulcahy: Next stop is U.S. Supreme Court in fight to keep Aspen house
May 3, 2018
The Colorado Supreme Court won't hear Lee Mulcahy's case, but he is hoping the highest court in the land will.
Mulcahy, who has exhausted all legal remedies in the state court system in his feud with the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority to keep his home, said Thursday he will try the United States Supreme Court.
He conceded the effort is a long shot.
"I'm doubtful they will hear it," he said Thursday.
The website for U.S. courts notes that "the (Supreme) Court accepts 100 to 150 of the more than 7,000 cases that it is asked to review each year. Typically, the Court hears cases that have been decided in either an appropriate U.S. Court of Appeals or the highest Court in a given state (if the state court decided a constitutional issue)."
While doubtful the Supreme Court will take the case, Mulcahy said he is clinging to the hopes that both the Aspen City Council and the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners will give him a hearing before a mediator. He said he also has launched a petition drive to collect 1,000 signatures in support of his effort to keep his house and strike a resolution of peace with the local government.
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Yet, as far as the housing authority, which is a division of the city and governed by the city and county, is concerned, the matter has been decided.
"Whatever avenues might be out there, it is my understanding that there are none," City Attorney Jim True said.
On Monday, the Colorado Supreme Court said it had denied Mulcahy's petition for writ of certiorari, the legal term for judicial review.
The denial means Mulcahy must comply with Pitkin County District Court Judge Chris Seldin's order from June 3, 2016. That ruling ordered him to list his home for sale because he failed the housing authority's ownership requirements for not working 1,500 hours a year in Pitkin County.
Mulcahy has said the housing authority held him to stringent guidelines regarding the filing of qualification documents while he was mourning the death of his father in 2015 and supporting the family's charity in Africa.
"Mr. Mulcahy explained that he was working more than 40 hours a week in Pitkin County as a property manager, leasing agent, artist and as a founder for a charity founded by his parents, African Waterwells, which provides potable water for Kenya communities," stated his opening brief filed March 2, 2017, with the Court of Appeals, which upheld Seldin's ruling in September.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Court of Appeals issued a mandate affirming Seldin's order for Mulcahy to list his home for sale. However, that mandate had not been entered into the case in Pitkin County District Court as of Thursday.
Once it does, Mulcahy must list his home for sale immediately, APCHA attorney Tom Smith said this week.
While Mulcahy is saying that he will take the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court, True said it appears Mulcahy must put his Burglingame Ranch home up for sale unless the high court intervenes.
"It's my understanding that in order for the district court action to not proceed, it would take a stay issued by the federal court," he said.
Mulcahy bought the undeveloped Burlingame lot as part of APCHA's resident-occupied, or RO, program for $150,000 in October 2006. He completed the 1,912-square-foot home in 2015.
Smith said the home would be listed for between $900,000 and $1 million.
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