With options exhausted, Mulcahy says he’s moving out of Aspen housing
After more than 5-year fight over Burlingame house, he and his mother “are just trying to get out of here peacefully”
After a local District Court judge issued what amounts to an eviction notice Monday, former Aspen mayoral candidate Lee Mulcahy said he’s giving up his standoff with the local housing authority and leaving town.
“We got a U-Haul … and we’re loading it up,” Mulcahy told The Aspen Times on Monday. “We’re moving out as fast as we can. The city attorney has defeated us and I am going back home to be with family in Texas.”
Despite repeated threats that the standoff between Mulcahy, a local artist, and the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority would end violently, Mulcahy said Monday that would not be the case.
“We are just trying to get out of here peacefully,” he said. “We will leave (the house) in tip-top shape and clean.”
Mulcahy’s departure from the home at 53 Forge Road in the Burlingame development that he and his late father built ends a more than five-year saga that began in 2015 when APCHA found he was out of compliance with rules stating that he must work 1,500 hours a year in Pitkin County.
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That kicked off years of litigation with APCHA that has seen Mulcahy lose at the district court and the Colorado Court of Appeals, while the Colorado Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court declined to take the case and upheld previous decisions that Mulcahy violated the property’s deed restriction.
APCHA has owned the home since December, when a court-appointed receiver acting on behalf of Mulcahy closed on the property for $990,558. After a defiant Mulcahy continued to issue threats indicating he would not leave the property, APCHA filed an eviction proceeding in district court.
District Judge Chris Seldin issued a judgment Wednesday in the eviction case that said APCHA was entitled to the property, said Tom Smith, APCHA’s attorney. On Monday, Seldin issued what is known as a writ of restitution, which directed Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo to deliver possession of the property to the housing authority within 49 days, he said.
DiSalvo was allowed to use “coercive action” if necessary to take possession, Smith said.
The district court’s eviction action is sealed by law, so no court documents were publicly available Monday.
However, DiSalvo said Seldin called him last week and told him the eviction had been authorized.
“In my conversations with the judge, (he said) basically that the options are exhausted for appeal,” the sheriff said Monday. “That’s the first time I’ve heard the judge say something like that.”
DiSalvo said he’d spoken to Mulcahy, though he did not want to comment on the substance of those talks. He said he planned to give him “appropriate” time to pack up the approximately 2,000-square-foot home before taking any action.
“We had a civilized conversation about moving out,” he said. “I hope Lee complies. I have no reason to think he won’t.”
Mulcahy, who lost handily to Torre in the just-concluded Aspen mayoral race last week, said he will return to Fort Worth with his mother, Sandy Mulcahy, and doesn’t plan to return to Aspen. He might, however, return to the Roaring Fork Valley.
“I would guesstimate that we will build a cabin in Basalt,” Mulcahy said. “They have defeated me and my family. It’s pretty tough. But I think we are more Basalt people than Aspen people.”