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Stickers blast Obermeyer

Naomi Havlen
The Times got stuck with an anti-Obermeyer sticker. Aspen Times photo/Paul Conrad.
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Bumper stickers criticizing a large redevelopment project in the heart of Aspen mysteriously turned up all over town Monday.”Obermeyer LIED, Businesses DIED,” the sticker proclaims in bright red lettering, referring to Obermeyer Place, a mixed-use development under construction in the vicinity of Rio Grande Place and East Bleeker Street. A cartoon graphic on the stickers depicts two hands shaking.Ski clothing magnate Klaus Obermeyer owns most of the property involved in the redevelopment and is financing the project.Two stickers appeared Monday on the fence surrounding the Obermeyer construction site, and Mayor Helen Klanderud and Councilman Tim Semrau left a City Council meeting later that night to find the sticker on their cars at City Hall.

The front window of The Aspen Times was garnished with a sticker sometime Monday night, as was a newspaper box in front of the Aspen Daily News.A number of businesses displaced by the project have been relocated around town and at the Aspen Business Center during construction. There is space planned for the businesses in the new development, but some people weren’t satisfied with their relocation arrangements, or lack thereof.As of last night, whoever was responsible for the design, production and placement of the stickers remained a mystery.”It was unfortunate that, given that the mayor and I were in a public meeting 30 steps away, whoever the individual was didn’t simply walk into City Hall and tell us what was on his or her mind,” Semrau said. “Even though some people think the city is modeled after communist Russia, this is a free place and I would welcome whatever comments they had.”Semrau added that he believes Klaus Obermeyer has done everything possible to help the displaced businesses. The councilman wishes the critic would come forward so they can discuss the issue.

“I think it’s underhanded, inaccurate, and I don’t think it should be elevated higher than what it is, which is graffiti,” said Tim Belinski, manager of Obermeyer Redevelopment Co. “I think this is just a bad apple in a barrel of good apples. It’s not good for the community or the project, and I’d rather focus on our successes.”Belinski said seven relocated businesses have signed leases for locations in the new development, and six are in talks with developers.But Mona Long, owner of Main St. Quick Print and Copy Center, is currently feuding with Obermeyer about her temporary quarters on Hopkins Avenue. When Long was relocated, she reportedly found mold in the building’s walls. She complained, and the dispute wound up in court, where Obermeyer is pursuing eviction proceedings.She expressed surprise when told of the stickers Tuesday.”I don’t know anything about this, but it’s interesting,” she said. “I’ve been trying to keep everything [about the dispute with Obermeyer] quiet, and we’re trying to work all this out.”

Long’s spokesman, Lars Bart, said they have asked Obermeyer to mediate in an effort to resolve the conflict without an eviction, but that the company has refused and wants the eviction to proceed. A lawsuit Long filed against the company, as well as the eviction proceedings, are pending in court.”We think the bumper sticker is clever and we’re empathetic with other businesses having problems with Obermeyer,” Bart said.Klanderud said she didn’t want to give the sticker too much publicity by commenting on it after finding one on the back of her SUV Monday night. She simply ripped it off.”I found it so offensive that I hate to give them much credit,” Klanderud said. “I don’t know that I’d want any part of it publicized.”Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com


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