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Smuggler insiders call out candidate

John ColsonThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado
Jordan Curet/The Aspen Times
ALL | The Aspen Times

ASPEN Anger has erupted in some quarters over statements by Shellie Roy, candidate for Pitkin County commissioner, that she preserved Smuggler Mountain for the public by enabling its sale to Pitkin County in 2005.Debra Goldstein, the broker who formally handled the sale, and Sharyn Wynters, the life partner of former Smuggler owner George Wilk Wilkinson, said this week that Roys claims are utterly false, in the words of Wynters.Goldstein said Roy, who works for Frias Properties, is misleading the public about the deal, which Goldstein handled for Frias Properties in 2005. Goldstein has since left Frias and is working for Morris & Frywald.Wynters, who has lived in California since Wilkinson died there two years ago, said this is not the first time Roy took all the glory emanating from the deal, when really she had nothing to do with it.In 2005, after years of wrangling with the county over development rights on his 200 acres of Smuggler Mountain land, Wilkinson sold the property to the county for $15 million. He was dying of brain cancer at the time.Goldstein noted that, shortly after the sale went through, Roy was featured in a local magazine article in which she was credited with saving Smuggler Mountain from development.And, in a recent newspaper article, Roy revealed that she had earned a $90,000 commission off the deal and, at the same time, suggested that all my friends who walk up Smuggler have her to thank for it not being an enclave of exclusive homes.Roy had been a real estate agent before being elected to the county board in the 1990s, and she returned to real estate after being defeated in her 2004 re-election bid.She first got involved with the Smuggler idea, according to Goldstein, when she told Frias Properties owner Chuck Frias, Goldstein and others that she was in a position to help this deal because she had all these friends in high places from her years on the county board.We fell for it, Goldstein said. Obviously, we thought that made sense.But soon they were told by County Attorney John Ely that Roy could not directly be involved with any negotiations on a deal involving the county because it would violate the countys policies on conflicts of interest.A section of the countys home-rule charter states, No current or former County policy maker shall appear in a representative capacity before the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) for two (2) years following his/her departure from office or employment concerning any application regarding any specific piece of real property which was also the subject of any application process in which that individual participated in during that individuals term of office or employment.Ely, who was out of town, could not be reached for comment.Roy conceded that after Elys intervention, my role had to be dropped dramatically. All of a sudden, I could not be in any negotiations.But she insists she did nothing wrong, that she did not improperly use inside knowledge from her years as a county commissioner for her own profit.Wilk would not have listed with Debra if I hadnt been involved, she said at one point. She maintained that if she had not used her influence with Wilkinson, which she admitted came from years of negotiating with him over issues related to Smuggler Mountain, it would be in private hands today.As for Goldstein and Wynters, Roy said that after she became embroiled in the deal it became an ugly, ugly situation.She said Goldstein was unhappy because she was having to do all the work on the deal because Roy was prohibited from direct involvement, and Wynters was going along with Goldstein because the two had become somehow joined at the hip in a mutual effort to get Wilkinson to sell the land.She wanted to have the credit for this, Roy said of Goldstein, adding that Wilk wrote me a letter saying how much he appreciated everything I did, although she was not sure she still had the letter in her possession.Goldstein and Wynters, however, have much different memories of the matter.Wilkinson, said Wynters, was so angry over the fact that Roy was getting a sizable commission off the deal after doing little or no work, he had me call up Chuck [Frias]. We never thought [Shellie] was going to get a commission, ever. Debra Goldstein was the one who saved Smuggler Mountain the angel who has kept quiet all this time about Roys role.Wynters and Goldstein both indicated that the matter could easily have ended up in arbitration over the split commission, in which Goldstein said Roy got $175,000 and Goldstein received $275,000, though both took home considerably less after paying a percentage to Frias and satisfying other fees.Goldstein said she simply was too tired of the entire matter to press the point, but Wynters said Goldstein held off because Wilk was so ill and the controversy would have worsened his condition.The reason she has broken her silence, said Goldstein, is that Im appalled at what levels this girl [Roy] will go to. I need the community to know that she is representing a lie, and that it was unlawful for her to even represent to Wilk that she could [help the deal along]. She defrauded me, she defrauded Wilk.In Roys view, however, I didnt see it as a violation of anything.If the deal had gone to a private buyer, she said, this wouldnt even be chatter. I would have made a good commission and that would have been the end of it.jcolson@aspentimes.com


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