Rep. Salazar wants federal intervention in eviction case

Scott CondonAspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE A congressman from Colorado has asked a federal agency to investigate management practices at a Carbondale housing complex for the elderly and disabled.U.S. Rep. John Salazar asked the Department of Housing and Urban Development in a letter dated Feb. 28 to “conduct an investigation into what is actually occurring at the Crystal Meadows Apartments.” The letter was released to the public Monday.Salazar sought the investigation after his office looked into an eviction case the management was pursuing against Lea Cano, a 79-year-old woman who has lived there for eight years, according to Salazar spokeswoman Tara Trujillo.Cano was ordered to vacate her home by March 1. She was granted a stay of eviction until Wednesday night, when the board of directors of a nonprofit overseeing the apartment complex meets to discuss her case. An attorney from Colorado Legal Services will represent Cano.Cano claims she is being targeted for eviction because she complained about some management practices at Crystal Meadows. For example, she objected to the requirement of using the staff maintenance man. She alleged his work is inadequate and that she had to pay a service charge that other residents weren’t required to pay for similar work.The manager and board chairman of Crystal Meadows have declined numerous requests by The Aspen Times for comment on the eviction case.Salazar’s letter indicated that he believes that several management practices Cano brought to his attention deserve review by HUD.”My hope is that this issue can be resolved peaceably and equitably for the benefit of all parties, and that an elderly woman is not thrown into the street when a review of management practices might easily solve the problem,” Salazar wrote in his letter to HUD.”I ask that you give full and fair consideration to this request, and that you keep my office apprised of your findings,” Salazar’s letter concluded. It was sent to both the Denver office of HUD and the agency’s Washington, D.C., liaison with Congress.Salazar asked HUD to intervene because it helps Crystal Meadows provide affordable housing for the needy. HUD provided money to the nonprofit Carbondale Housing Authority to build the apartments; the federal agency also subsidizes rents.HUD spokeswoman Jane Goin said agency personnel will monitor Wednesday’s meeting and work with the Carbondale Housing Authority to find answers to Salazar’s inquiry.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is


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