Letter: Housing rules are being followed

In response to “Judgment day coming for Mulcahy’s housing fight,” in the April 14 edition of The Aspen Times:

Rick Carroll, I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to build my home by hand in this beautiful valley we call home. Sorry I didn’t respond in time for your article.

A few points:

1. APCHA is determined to force me to sell my home that I have spent the last 5 years building by hand. They have alleged a laundry list of “substantial” violations, one of which, apparently, has existed for almost 10 years. Yet APCHA waited until I completed construction to inform me of any violation and is now ordering me to sell.

2. Since I was fired by Skico in January 2011 (which APCHA claims it was unaware), I have done everything I could to pay the bills. I have worked several part-time jobs, which combined with my work as an artist, never caused me to doubt that I was in compliance with APCHA requirements.

3. Now, with my home completed, APCHA decides to commence an “investigation” into what I have been doing to support myself for the past five years. I immediately contacted APCHA to resolve the matter. Through a series of meetings and conversations, they first disqualified one of my jobs from consideration, then later disqualifying the second, while having no idea how or what I could show to have my work as an artist qualify.

4. I have worked as an artist all my adult life. APCHA finally determined what I needed to provide them to have my work as an artist “qualify” after they had made the final demand that I sell my home. Then they refused to look at the material they demanded.

5. Thomas Fenton Smith, APCHA’s attorney, states that I was given “numerous opportunities to come into compliance.” One of those “opportunities” was to simply follow APCHA’s direction to “open an art gallery.” I explained that as much as I would like to, I was barely making ends meet, so opening a gallery was out of the question. Exasperated, they then dismissively told me to “just get a real job.” So I did – in fact I got two more. I’ve been driving a cab and have been certified by the state to be a substitute teacher.

6. APCHA has also claimed that I failed to comply with their demand that I provide them with evidence that I did not rent my home. I explained to them that I had no evidence to provide because I never rented my home. It is a factual impossibility to prove a negative; that something did not occur. Yet APCHA demands I do just that.

7. Most importantly, APCHA now claims that I must sell my home because I did not occupy it as my primary residence and lived elsewhere. I received my Certificate of Occupancy on March 1, 2016. I could not legally live in my home before then; however, I have occupied it since, grateful to no longer be sleeping on neighbors’ floors.

Lee Mulcahy