Cordillera loses more legal challenges to converting Lodge into a rehab center
March 21, 2018
EAGLE — Cordillera homeowners want to stop a Baltimore-based firm from converting The Lodge & Spa at Cordillera into a drug and alcohol rehab center, but their numerous legal actions have one thing in common.
"Every one of these legal challenges was unsuccessful," ruled District Court Judge Fred Gannett.
Gannett threw out five more legal challenges brought by Cordillera homeowners and barred them from suing again on the same grounds. The Cordillera group, led by homeowners Jane Eilner, Trudo Letschert, Robert Rudnick and Russell Schmeiser, had leveled fraud and misrepresentation allegations against Behringer Harvard Holdings, which owned The Lodge.
Attempts to get comment from the Cordillera Metro District were unsuccessful.
Only one serious suitor
Behringer Harvard sold The Lodge at Cordillera to Noah Nordheimer's Concerted Care Group and CSNM LLC, the development group that wants to convert The Lodge into a rehab center. After shopping The Lodge around for three years, the Concerted Care Group was the only serious prospect, according to court documents.
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"I am not surprised at the ruling. In the judge's own words, 'Every one of these legal challenges was unsuccessful,'" Nordheimer said. "They have proven they will stop at nothing, utilizing public and private resources to keep facilities like ours from opening, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to intimidate us. It has been a long two years, for me personally and for the company financially, as a result of their actions."
The homeowners have fought the proposed conversion since it was announced, both in local District Court and federal court in Denver.
"The plain language of the (Cordillera) PUD identifies 34 separate uses — all of which are permitted … for The Lodge Parcel," Gannett said in his ruling, issued late Friday, March 16.
Gannett's ruling last week is Cordillera's latest legal defeat. The two latest:
• In February 2017, Federal District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson threw out Cordillera's $100 million class-action lawsuit and refused to delay the sale of The Lodge. The sale closed in August 2017.
• On Sept. 15, 2017, Eagle County District Court Judge Paul Dunkelman ruled that the Eagle County Commissioners were correct when they unanimously gave Nordheimer the green light to convert and renovate The Lodge.
Concerted Care fights back
For its part, Nordheimer and the development group filed an Americans with Disabilities Act and Fair Housing Act lawsuit against the Cordillera homeowners, for "discriminating against the addicted."
The lawsuit alleges that Cordillera's legal maneuvers are keeping those suffering with addictions from receiving treatment at the center; that's discrimination and violates both the federal Americans With Disabilities Act and the federal Fair Housing Act, the lawsuit says.
"I think what keeps me going is my belief that it was my calling to see this through," Nordheimer said. "Maybe this is the landmark case that this country needed to prevent other communities from taking these types of illegal actions, stigmatizing this disease?
"If the pain and suffering we had to endure over the past few years was necessary to bring attention and change to this issue, then I can accept that. I just hope they are held accountable. So far, nothing has prevented them from using their unlimited resources to target us. My faith in our system remains true; I am just exhausted from all of this and wonder when it will all end."
Nordheimer has said he and his partners plan to spend up to $136 million on the renovation and plan to use local contractors to do the work and employ local workers to run the rehab center after it opens.
Clients would pay an estimated $60,000 a month, Nordheimer said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.