Red Brick theft suspect declares bankruptcy

A personal bankruptcy declared by Angela Callen, who is under investigation for embezzling some $150,000 from the Red Brick Council for Arts, unveils a financial picture clouded by the purchase of a snowboard gear company.

Callen and her husband, James, filed for joint Chapter 7 bankruptcy Tuesday in Denver, court records show.

The bankruptcy filing notes it was declared in part because of a lawsuit pending in Eagle County District Court. That suit was carried out in August by Silverthorne businessman Fintan Doyle, who has accused the Callens of breach of contract over an outstanding balance he claims is owed to him over the couple’s acquisition of his Bomber Industries snowboard company’s retail and operations.

Bomber, which filed for Chapter 7 protection Oct. 20, has an outstanding promissory note of $210,672 to Doyle, who could not be reached for comment Thursday. Doyle started the company in 1993, selling its two divisions to the Callen couple in 2015 and 2016.

Bomber disputes the debt, according to a Nov. 3 filing in Denver bankruptcy court.

A filing in the Callens’ personal bankruptcy case also suggests they will contest the outstanding balance.

“We have grounds for a counterclaim to this lawsuit but do not have the funds to move forward with the litigation, so Ch 7 is the only option to avoid future action by the plaintiff,” notes the bankruptcy’s statement of financial affairs for the Callens.

A future action by the Callens against Doyle would include a $400,000 claim “due to misrepresentation of property he purported to own during the transfer of the sale of Bomber Industries to us,” according to a filing in the Callens’ personal bankruptcy case.

Bomber’s bankruptcy action also allowed it to stave off a hearing in Pitkin County District Court prompted by Alpine Bank, which tried to force it into receivership. The bank alleged the couple owed $51,570 on a $90,000 business loan they obtained in May 2015. Had the court approved the receivership, Doyle would have taken control of the finances and operations of Bomber, which currently is dormant.

At the time of the purchase, Angela Callen, who has not responded to interview requests by The Aspen Times, was executive director of the Red Brick Council for the Arts.

In June, the nonprofit, after learning of embezzlement allegations, fired Callen, who had served as its executive director since 2013. Through a contract with the city of Aspen, the Red Brick Center for the Arts — a venue for artists and nonprofit organizations — is managed by the Red Brick Council.

The city on Sept. 28 announced the Pitkin County District Attorney’s Office was investigating Callen for embezzlement from the Red Brick Council.

Callen has yet to be charged with any crime related to the investigation.

“We really have no update to give to the community,” Deputy District Attorney Sarah Oszczakiewicz said Thursday. “The DA’s Office is still investigating it.”

In the meantime, the Chapter 7s will allow both Bomber and the Callens to liquidate their assets.

The Callens’ bankruptcy notes they have $512,536 in assets and $469,463 in liabilities. The couple, who rent a home in Emma near Basalt, also listed the Red Brick Center for the Arts as a creditor in their bankruptcy, though their debt to the nonprofit is marked as “disputed.”

Angela Callen has been working for two months from her home as vice president of Carson City-based Nevada Business Center LLC, according to the bankruptcy. The couple at one time owned three vehicles, but on Oct. 18 Ford Motor Credit repossessed their 2015 Ford Transit 350T, according to the filing.

The Bomber bankruptcy lists its assets as $160,335 and its liabilities as $400,992.