Luxury home builders Aspen Constructors emerges from bankruptcy
The Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Aspen Constructors, a builder of luxury homes, has come to an end.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Brown signed an order dismissing the case Friday in response to the company’s motion to toss it out because of the settlement of litigation in Pitkin County District Court.
“It was a difficult situation, but I’m pleased we were able to persevere and succeed as quickly and efficiently as we did,” said Michael Tanguay, president of Aspen Constructors who founded the company in 1988, in a statement issued Tuesday. “When you’re in business for as long as we have been, you’re going to face challenges.”
Aspen Constructors declared Chapter 11 on Dec. 29 and continued to operate through the bankruptcy. The bankruptcy was ignited by a $1.3 million arbiter’s award to the owner of a home on which Aspen Constructors was the general contractor. The owner, Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based West Hallam LLC, sued Aspen Constructors and subcontractor Argento Marble in 2014 for construction defects on the home.
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The case went to arbitration, leading to the award that prompted Aspen Constructors in August to sue its insurance provider, Cincinnati Insurance Co., which initially had defended Aspen Constructors in the arbitration proceedings but denied coverage for the award.
Filed in Pitkin County District Court, Aspen Constructors’ lawsuit against its carrier, as well as Argento Marble and its insurance company, was dismissed Friday by Judge Chris Seldin, the same day the bankruptcy case was dismissed, according to court documents.
Jose Ramirez, one of the Holland & Hart LLP attorneys from the firm’s Greenwood Village who represented Aspen Constructors, declined comment when asked about the settlement amount. Court documents also do not state the settlement amount.
The statement, however, says: “As a result of the settlement, two insurance companies will pay $1.2 million in fees stemming from earlier arbitration.”
“The primary purpose of (Aspen Constructors’) bankruptcy filing was to stay enforcement and collection actions by West Hallam while the insurance case was pending,” says Aspen Constructors’ motion to dismiss the bankruptcy, which was filed May 14.
The arbiter’s award, Aspen Constructors said in its lawsuit in Pitkin County District Court, hurt its reputation and resulted in it losing at least three new construction projects, “including one for the well-known Aspen landmark property the Sardy House, a contract value of approximately $12,000,000, as well as a project in the McLain Flats area of Aspen, at a contract value of approximately $10,000,000 and a new home in the Aspen Highlands valued at approximately $5,000,000.”
Tanguay, meanwhile, said the firm is ready to return to its normal course of doing business.
“We’re so grateful for all of the support we’ve received over the last six months and over the last 30 years,” he said. “We’re proud to be a part of this community. There’s a reason we’ve been here as long as we have. We look forward to putting this behind us and moving forward.”
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The coronavirus threat delayed the opening of developed campgrounds in the Roaring Fork, Fryingpan and Crystal valleys. The Forest Service will phase them back in by June 12.