Pfister, Hecht trial is called off with settlement agreement pending
Disagreement of property deals has been settled out of court
A civil jury trial scheduled to end this week over the sale of two properties once owned by members of Aspen’s prominent Pfister family was canceled due to a pending settlement agreement, according to court records.
An Oct. 15 court filing signed by attorneys for the plaintiff and defendants said a “binding settlement has been reached resolving all claims” remaining in Juliana Pfister’s lawsuit against attorney Andy Hecht; his law firm, Garfield & Hecht PC; his son Nikos; and real estate investor Steve Hansen. The settlement applies to both the lawsuit and a sealed probate case.
The trial had been scheduled to be held before Judge Chris Seldin from Nov. 8-24, not including all of those dates.
“Counsel for Plaintiff and Defendants are in the process of completing and exchanging the appropriate paperwork and following the completion of same will file a Stipulation for Dismissal with Prejudice,” the notice said, meaning the parties will ask that the case be permanently dismissed after their agreement is finalized.
While the trial was canceled, the Oct. 15 filing was the most recent filing in the case, which also remains open, according to an official with Pitkin County District Court, the venue for the dispute.
Emails seeking information about the settlement and to attorneys representing Pfister, both Hechts, Garfield & Hecht and Hansen were not returned.
Pfister’s attorneys filed suit in November 2016 under the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, accusing Andy Hecht of running an enterprise that took advantage of the Pfister family through a series of property deals. Hecht’s son and business associates participated in the scheme, and the suit originally identified nine property deals as questionable.
As the case wore on, however, just two transactions remained in dispute ahead of trial.
One of those regarded a deal in 2005, when Andy Hecht is alleged to have sold the Pfister family’s private retreat above Ruedi Reservoir — known as the Woods Lakes property — to Nikos Hecht for $800,000. That amount undercut other standing offer of $2 million to $3 million, Juliana Pfister’s attorneys had argued.
Yet it was the Pfister family who rejected the higher offer because they wanted to package the sale of the Pfisters’ Katie Reed building in downtown Aspen also to Nikos Hecht so that they had a “more efficient tax structure,” Andy Hecht’s attorneys countered in court filings.
The second transaction in dispute was over the sale of Nancy Pfister’s two lots at the Maroon Creek Club, which Juliana Pfister’s attorneys allege was sold at below-market value to Nikos Hecht and Hansen.
Juliana Pfister is the surviving daughter of Nancy Pfister, who was murdered at her West Buttermilk home in February 2014; Juliana Pfister is now in her mid 30s.
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