Sheriff candidate lived in APCHA housing while owning free-market home in Basalt |

Sheriff candidate lived in APCHA housing while owning free-market home in Basalt

Michael Buglione, who is running for Pitkin County sheriff, takes part in Squirm Night on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, at Grassroots TV in Aspen. (Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times)
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Sheriff candidate Michael Buglione owned and rented out a free-market home in Basalt while he was also living in an employee-housing unit governed by the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority, according to public records and interviews.

Doing so would have put Buglione in violation Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority rules that prohibit owners or renters of deed-restricted employee housing from possessing developed residential property in all of Pitkin County and elsewhere in the Roaring Fork River drainage area. The Basalt home — which property records show that Buglione and his wife, Holly Davis, bought for $720,000 in November 2020 — is located in Pitkin County.

“He wasn’t allowed to own property in Basalt,” said Julie Kieffer, who was APCHA’s qualifications specialist when she spoke to Buglione in late 2021 about the employee-housing unit at 410 S. West End St. in Aspen. Kieffer now works for Pitkin County and is no longer with APCHA.

According to Buglione, he lived in the Aspen employee unit until this summer, when he relocated to his Elk Run neighborhood home in Basalt.

“I met with APCHA at their office at Truscott and they gave me until June to move out,” said Buglione in an email response to questions from The Aspen Times.

Also, according to Buglione, the Basalt home he and his wife own was being renovated this spring, which was his response to a question about if someone else was living there while he resided at South West End Street.

It was APCHA’s understanding that Buglione could live at South West End Street until renovation was complete on the Basalt home, which is where he would relocate.

“We knew (Buglione) was going to be moving out and allowed him to stay there for an extra two months or something like that,” said Cindy Christensen, APCHA’s deputy director of housing, operations and property management. “We treated him like anyone else in dealing with someone who is moving but their place isn’t quite ready to move into, if we can do that.”

Yet Buglione also told Kieffer that he was allowing the seller of the Basalt residence to remain there while the seller was building a new home in Carbondale, according to Kieffer.

Kieffer said Buglione informed her about the Basalt home ownership late last year, one year after he and Davis had acquired the residence. She said Buglione told her that “the previous owner (of the Basalt home) was living there because he was building a home.”

Asked if the previous owner had rented the Basalt unit from Buglione and Davis, Kieffer responded, “Yes.”

Reached Monday, the previous owner, Alexander Hoffman, requested that questions be asked through email. Hoffman, however, did not reply to a follow-up email message asking if he continued to live in the residence after selling it to Buglione and Davis.

Public records show that as recently as late as May 22, Alexander and Kelly Hoffman used 503 Wren Court as their mailing address for their Garfield County property tax bill. The bill was for an undeveloped lot where they are building a home at River Valley Ranch in Carbondale.

Responding to an Aspen Times inquiry seeking information on the Aspen employee-housing property, APCHA on Friday was able to provide an email exchange from November 2021 between the residence’s property manager and Kieffer. That was the extent of the information APCHA could provide on the property.

Kieffer said the email concerned the rental and tenant status of the South West End home. She said her impression was that Buglione had moved out because he previously told her had, and she was seeking updated information on whomever was living there at the time.

A Nov. 3, 2021-dated email from Kieffer’s APCHA account contained a subject line reading “NOTICE 410 S W End St 105 IS OUT OF COMPLIANCE,” because APCHA did not have an updated rental packet for the property.

According to an email response the next day from property manager Jim Iglehart, the “lease was still active” and “Michael is providing his application rental soon I am told.” Iglehart’s email included an attached lease agreement that Buglione signed Jan. 1, 2014. Terms of the agreement had the lease effective through Dec. 31, 2014, after which it became a month-to-month lease, according to the document’s terms. Iglehart declined to comment for this story.

Kieffer said Buglione was never cited for noncompliance for subletting the South West End home, which under the lease agreement would have required APCHA approval.

During his tenancy at the South West End residence, however Buglione was cited twice for noncompliance — once for earning too much money to be eligible for that particular piece of employee housing, and also for not moving out for being in noncompliance, Kieffer said. It was after those noncompliance notices were issued that Buglione updated his qualifications to remain at South West End Street, said Kieffer, noting she did not know about his ownership in the Basalt home until he told her about it late last year.

Buglione was asked about the South West End home at the Squirm Night candidate forum held Oct. 6. The moderator’s question concerned whether Buglione had been subletting the employee housing to a family member, which also potentially would break APCHA rules.

“My stepdaughter and son actually applied through APCHA and were accepted and the landlord gave them their lease. I’m not sure how that was out of compliance,” he said. 

Another property where Bulglione has lived, 729 W. Francis St. in Aspen, was identified as his physical residence on the certificate of designation concerning his May 2020 election to the board of directors for the Aspen Fire Protection District. It is unclear who if anybody was living at the South West End home while Buglione was residing at West Francis. Iglehart’s email from November 2021 said Buglione still was leasing the South West End home. 

Buglione also referred to the West Francis address at Squirm Night, saying he had not sublet the South West End residence.  

“I released my time there and moved into 729 West Francis with my then girlfriend and now wife,” Buglione said at Squirm Night.

The South West End Street employee housing unit is part of a townhome complex of primarily free-market units. Assessor’s records identify New York-based AYR Reserve R E Entity as the owner of the South West End unit where Buglione used to live.

Buglione also listed 410 S. West End St. as his physical address in a Feb. 28, 2022, candidate filing with the Pitkin County Clerk & Recorder’s Office. The same address was listed as his residence in an acceptance of nomination papers filed with the clerk and recorder on March 7, as well as in campaign filings April 26, while the campaign’s mailing address was identified as 410 S. West End St. in June 7 and June 24 campaign filings.

Filings were amended in late July and early August to show that his physical address is 503 Wren Court in Basalt, which is where Buglione said he currently resides.

Buglione is running against three-term incumbent Sheriff Joe DiSalvo in the November midterms. Buglione is a former employee of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and Aspen Police Department. He once worked under DiSalvo.

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