Pitkin County, Alpine bank answer Aspen restaurant row couple’s suit | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County, Alpine bank answer Aspen restaurant row couple’s suit

Pitkin County plans to proceed with a foreclosure auction on an East Hopkins Avenue building that's been the subject of litigation over noise and access.

The county this week answered a federal lawsuit filed by couple Michael Sedoy and Natalia Shvachko, who are seeking an injunction to stop the foreclosure. The part-time residents from New York City, who own a penthouse condo in the 308 E. Hopkins Ave. building, filed suit last month in Denver to stop the foreclosure sale on two commercial and three affordable-housing units in the same building.

Their suit says they are suing so they can collect on a $1.28 million judgment from the building's owner, JW Ventures. Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols awarded the judgment in May after an October trial in which she determined JW Ventures erroneously assured the couple would have exclusive rights to the building's front entrance, east stairway and main elevator. The judge also ruled that the couple violated a city of Aspen ordinance by barring renters of affordable-housing units in the building from using the access.

Defendants in the suit are JW Ventures and its principals, John Provine, James Farmer and Charles Cunniffe; Pelham Holding Corp.; Pitkin County Public Trustee Carl Oken; the Bootsy Bellows nightclub and its owner Andrew Sandler; Alpine Bank; and Aspen law firm Oates, Knezevich, Gardenswartz, Kelly & Morrow PC.

Other defendants include 308 E. Hopkins LLC and its manager Mark Hunt, who has the building under contract to purchase from JW Ventures.

Pitkin County Attorney John Ely, on behalf of Oken, filed an answer Oct. 12 saying that the foreclosure will proceed as scheduled Nov. 18 unless the court awards injunctive relief to the plaintiffs.

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And on Thursday, attorneys for defendant Alpine Bank, which has taken steps to foreclose on the property, filed an answer seeking dismissal of the suit against the bank, referring to Sedoy and Shvachko as "discontented purchasers of a $6.27 million penthouse condominium in downtown Aspen, Colorado."

Additionally, the couple's complaint makes no reference to wrongdoing by Alpine Bank, the response said.

Both Alpine Bank and the couple have liens on the property. The bank contends that because it is the undisputed senior creditor, the couple's request to stop the foreclosure sale should be dismissed.

"Plaintiffs have asserted absolutely no wrongdoing on the part of Alpine," the response said. "Instead, they assert that they have been wronged by unrelated third parties and, as a result of those wrongs, this court should force Alpine to delay its ability to obtain payment for its secured debt that is rightfully and indisputably owed to it."

The couple's suit targets Bootsy Bellows because it's a nightclub and violates the building's declarations. Sandler of Bootsy Bellows, which hasn't responded to the suit yet, previously told The Aspen Times the club also serves food and is a restaurant, putting it in compliance with the declarations.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com