Roman Abramovich sues over botched fiber-optic job in Snowmass

Costs of more than $500,000 levied on Roman Abramovich over a botched fiber-optic cable job resulting in the destruction of trees in the Snowmass Village area have prompted the Russian billionaire to take his cable provider to court.

Abramovich, the owner of the Chelsea Football Club whose net worth of $10.8 billion makes him the 140th wealthiest person in the world, according to Forbes, filed suit Thursday against Comcast Cable Communications and Sage Telecommunications Corp.

Made in Pitkin County District Court, the complaint comes in the aftermath of what it says was a shoddy job by Sage Telecommunications, which Comcast charged with installing fiber-optic cable to improve reception and service at one of Abramovich’s Snowmass homes.

The gist of the complaint is that Sage Telecommunications, in the summer of 2016, laid a portion of the cable on property owned by Aspen Valley Land Trust and a Ziegler family entity, and the “unauthorized intrusions destroyed substantial tracts of pristine alpine forest, much of which was within a conservation easement,” alleges the suit.

Using heavy equipment and bulldozers for the job, the defendants are alleged to have trespassed on the properties “for their own convenience, without regard for the forest or interests of other properties,” the suit alleges.

In October 2016, the affected property owners billed Abramovich to restore the forest, the suit claims.

“Such actions caused Abramovich damage,” the suit says. “In addition to his actual out-of-pocket expense incurred to remediate the damage caused by Comcast, Abramovich is entitled to recover his costs and attorneys fees …” the suit says.

The complaint makes civil claims of trespass and negligence against both Comcast and Sage Telecommunications. Comcast also faces an indemnity claim, the suit says, because its contract with Abramovich cleared him from any responsibility for costs associated with negligence on the fiber-optic job.

Abramovich owns at least two homes in Snowmass, but the lawsuit does not identify which one was the subject of the fiber-optic work. He bought a home on Aspen Way for $11.8 million in February 2008, and one on Wildcat Drive for $36.4 million in April 2008, according to property records.

Both Sage Telecommunications and Brad Schacht, the Denver attorney who filed the suit on Abramovich’s behalf, did not return messages Friday.