Missed court date irks business owner | VailDaily.com

Missed court date irks business owner

Steve Lynn
Vail CO, Colorado

EAGLE ” Adele Arrowsmith is upset that more than three years have passed since a co-owner of her former art gallery allegedly stole from her and her artists.

Prosecutors failed to show up for a court hearing scheduled for Monday, meaning her case continues to be delayed.

A scheduling error led to an unattended court hearing Monday, said Mark Hurlbert, Eagle County District Attorney.

“That’s absurd,” Arrowsmith said in a telephone interview from Burbank, Calif.

“How can they not get this on the docket?” Arrowsmith added. “I’ve known about this date, the twenty-first, for two months.”

The courts and the District Attorney’s Office handles thousands of cases and the two miscommunicate occasionally, Hurlbert said.

Avon police arrested Diane Stockmar, 59, March 5, 2004, on suspicion of impersonating gallery co-owner Arrowsmith to apply for credit cards for her own use.

Stockmar, former co-owner of the now-closed Dragonfly Art Gallery in Avon, fraudulently used those cards to charge more than $60,000 in personal expenses, police have said. Stockmar also failed to pay artists for $100,000 of artwork, police have said.

Since charges were filed in April 2004, a judge has pushed back the case’s pretrial hearings mostly at the request of Stockmar’s defense attorneys, Hurlbert said.

“It has been going on a long time, so we can certainly understand her frustration,” he said.

The hearing could have ended the case, Arrowsmith said. Arrowsmith had hoped Stockmar would agree to a plea bargain with prosecutors, ending the three-year saga, she said.

Hurlbert acknowledged that the hearing could have ended the case if the defendant accepted the offer.

A pretrial hearing has been rescheduled for June 18 and if needed, a jury trial would start June 26, Hurlbert said.

Jim Fahrenholtz, Diane Stockmar’s defense attorney, did not return phone calls and a message left at his law firm seeking comment Monday afternoon.

Stockmar faces nine felony charges ” a count of theft, four counts of unauthorized use of a financial transaction device and four counts of criminal impersonation.

Police began investigating Stockmar in 2002, when the Dragonfly Art Gallery went out of business. Stockmar and Arrowsmith, who was then using her married name of Douglas, agreed to open the art gallery in 1999 with Arrowsmith as the financial backer and Stockmar as the art gallery expert. The partnership began to dissolve soon after the gallery opened, the affidavit says.

Stockmar told Arrowsmith to stay out of the gallery because she frightened customers away, police have said. A year and a half after the gallery opened, Arrowsmith wanted to close the gallery because there was no record of any sales taking place.

Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or slynn@vaildaily.com.

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