Cordillera residents deciding whether to give the board greater leeway in legal action | VailDaily.com

Cordillera residents deciding whether to give the board greater leeway in legal action

Members of Cordillera's property owners association are voting whether to give their board of directors greater leeway in taking legal action. They're fighting a plan to convert the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera into a health/wellness/addiction treatment center.

EDWARDS — Cordillera's Property Owners Association members have until Friday to decide whether they still want approval from a two-thirds majority before they sue somebody.

The vote would remove a section of their regulations requiring 67 percent of their members pre-approve legal action.

The election comes following a series of lawsuits between Cordillera's property owners association, the metro district and Eagle County.

The CPOA appealed the county commissioners' approval a plan to convert The Lodge & Spa at Cordillera into a health, wellness and high-end addiction treatment center.

Scrivener's error

The CPOA dropped the 67 percent requirement while updating its covenants. Later, the CPOA reinserted it, and is now holding an election so members can decide if they want to give the board of directors the leeway to make those decisions.

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Attorneys for the Baltimore-based Concerted Care Group charged that the CPOA's board acted without authority in filing any legal action.

Candyce Cavanagh with Orten, Cavanaugh and Holmes, the law firm representing the Cordillera Property Owners Association, attributed it to a "scrivener's error," a sort of typographical error in the legal world.

"Your conspiracy theory has no basis in fact," Cavanagh wrote in a letter to CCG attorney Sarah Baker. "Rather, our failure to reinsert the litigation paragraph when the Association did not obtain the requisite approval required to amend that paragraph was a scrivener's error."

In the legal world a "scrivener's error" is a typographical error in a written contract that may be corrected by oral evidence if the evidence is clear, convincing and precise.

Cavanagh also disagreed that the CPOA even needs a 67 percent approval to change the litigation section of its covenants.

"If your client was engaged in negotiations regarding the purchase of The Lodge & Spa at that time, it was certainly not public knowledge and we have been advised that the association was not aware of this purchase until May 2016, more than a year after the amendment process commenced," Cavanagh wrote.

Rachel Oys agreed. She's executive director of the Cordillera metro district and said their legal action against Eagle County is an appeal of the commissioners' decision. It's not new legal action that would require approval from 67 percent of the owners.

A Cordillera resident who asked not to be identified because he fears retribution, said it's about the money.

"They (the CPOA board) acted without authority and are placing all homeowners in Cordillera at great risk of litigation. This is really dangerous," he said. "Whether I am for or against The Lodge being turned into a residential treatment center is irrelevant. I don't want my money wasted."

Our story so far

Nordheimer's Concerted Care Group says they're buying The Lodge & Spa at Cordillera from Austin, Texas, based Behringer Harvard.

Nordheimer said he'll spend as much as $80 million to transform it into a health, wellness and high-end addiction treatment center.

Many Cordillera residents returned fire with a $100 million class action lawsuit, led by Thomas Wilner, a Washington, D.C., attorney who heads Cordillera's legal committee. Wilner went to war with the federal government when he represented 11 Kuwaiti prisoners held in the Guantanamo Bay detention center at the U.S. Navy base in eastern Cuba.

Cordillera's class action lawsuit, filed in federal court in Denver, asks the court to stop Concerted Care Group and current Lodge owner, Austin, Texas-based Behringer Harvard. The lawsuit personally sues Behringer Harvard owner Robert M. Behringer and its president and CEO Michael D. Cohen.

Nordheimer said he remains non-plussed, calling their $100 million lawsuit "frivolous."

Wilner said that $100 million is not a difficult number to reach when you add up the value of the 900 homes in Cordillera and calculate that their value could drop between 30 and 50 percent. Wilner said homes in other communities have seen similar drops in value when facilities are opened, such as the one proposed in Cordillera.

Grouse, too

Along with The Lodge & Spa, Nordheimer said Concerted Care Group is purchasing Grouse on Green, the restaurant and clubhouse for Cordillera's par 3 golf course. Concerted Care Group is also buying the Strawberry Park condominiums and Ski Chalet.

Plans for that building have not been finalized, Nordheimer said.

Cordillera's Property Owners Association owns the par 3 course.

Cordillera's covenants do not allow The Lodge separated from the rest of Cordillera and replaced with these other uses, Wilner said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.