Leaky roof leads to litigation | VailDaily.com

Leaky roof leads to litigation

Cliff Thompson

At issue in one suit are a bill for an expert witness and a claim by that witness that documents concerning the leaky roof are missing; another suit has been promised. A criminal complaint about missing documents, meanwhile, may require the attention of a special prosecutor.

The spate of suits spring from 1997, when Stone built his 3,200-square-foot home in Gypsum’s Horse Pasture subdivision. The roof leaked, and Stone sued the contractor, Western Slope Constructors, using Avon architect Mark Donaldson as an expert witness to explain to the court about the leaky roof.

Stone subsequently settled with the roofing subcontractor used by the contractor – but Donaldson contends he hasn’t been paid since his deposition in April 2001.

Donaldson filed a lawsuit against Stone last month in Eagle County Court seeking $2,064 for his testimony, plus another $1,050 for expenses.

Donaldson isn’t talking – but Stone is, saying he believes he has paid Donaldson in full.

“I will be answering that suit with a countersuit,” Stone said Friday. “I think it’s politically motivated. I learned about this in a newspaper.”

Suit or not, Stone is seeking re-election in November. He said he believes the information was fed to a newspaper via a leak either from Donaldson or from the DA’s office.

Donaldson also has filed a criminal complaint against Stone’s attorney, Brett Heckman of Edwards, claiming documents he supplied for his deposition landed on District Attorney Mike Goodbee’s desk.

The DA, claiming conflict of interest, says he must appoint a special prosecutor, as Stone approves a portion of the budget for the District Attorney’s office. It is further complicated by the fact that District Attorney investigator Gerry Sandberg, a Democrat, is attempting to unseat incumbent Republican Stone in this year’s race for county commissioner.

The prosecutor, Matt Meyers, District Attorney in Garfield County, will evaluate the claim and decide whether to prosecute it or not.

And Heckman has declined comment other than to say that he’s willing to return any documents. He has not yet been asked to return them, however, he said.

Stone, meanwhile, said his roof still leaks.

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