Four men face up to 12 years in prison for demolition party's damages

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— Four former tenants accused of throwing a "demolition party" are now facing more severe felony charges after the District Attorney's Office upped the ante in the case.

In addition to the Class 4 felony criminal mischief charge the DA's Office initially filed in the cases, Phillip Hafner, 21, of Oregon; Michael Gatrell, 21, of Ohio; Samuel Walsh, 21, of Illinois, and Raymond Jay, 22, of Arizona, are now facing harsher Class 3 criminal mischief charges.

Police estimate the men caused more than $15,000 worth of damage to a home on Walton Creek Road by breaking windows, doors, appliances and destroying carpet, walls, and fixtures during a party April 3.

If convicted, the men could face up to 12 years in prison and pay up to $750,000 in fines, in addition to an unknown amount of restitution.

Steamboat Springs attorney Larry Combs, who is representing Walsh, Jay and Gatrell, entered not guilty pleas on behalf of Jay and Gatrell during a hearing in Routt County Court last week.

Jay's five-day trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 10. Gatrell's five-day trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 8.

Walsh is scheduled to appear in court at 9 a.m. Oct. 24. Combs did not know if Walsh would be pleading not guilty to the charges or if he would be able to reach a plea agreement with the DA's Office in the case.

Steamboat Springs attorney Adam Mayo, who is representing Hafner, said his client likely will plead not guilty to the charges during a court hearing at 1 p.m. Oct. 22.

Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James, who is prosecuting Walsh's case, said Thursday that he could not comment on the case.

Deputy District Attorney Andy Heyl, who is prosecuting the other three cases, said the Class 3 felony charge was filed "based on a complicity theory." Essentially, the men are facing more severe charges because they allegedly encouraged other partygoers to damage the home during the April 3 party, damage for which they are responsible, Heyl said.

Defense attorneys are concerned their clients are "being backed into a corner" by the DA's Office and could potentially be forced to pay more than $100,000 in restitution, despite being charged with only about $15,000 worth of the home's damage.

Steamboat Springs Police Dept. Capt. Bob DelValle said the discrepancy likely came from the insurance agent's assessment of "actual damage," which was not all directly related to the alleged crime.

Jon Wade, who had closed on the house the men were living in the day of the party, said he hopes the DA's Office balances the men's alleged crime with the punishment.

"I just hope they learn a lesson that this isn't welcome in Steamboat Springs," Wade said. "It's not a good lesson to learn, but unfortunately, it's the path they chose."

Wade said he has been pushing the DA's Office to offer Walsh a lighter punishment because Walsh apparently "owned up" and claimed responsibility for the damage.

State Farm Insurance agent Dax Maddox said he could not comment on the case since litigation is pending.

Wade said he paid a $4,500 deductible, and insurance paid about $109,000 for the claim. The house has since been remodeled, and new tenants have moved into the home, Wade said.

Comments

dundalk 7 years, 2 months ago

sick:

Living less than one block from this party house, I can tell you that the "end of the era" had been going on for quite a long era. The night's basher was not a one time shot. The house was slowly getting trashed by the numerous parties and the surrounding neighbors had to endure the baloney long before it came to a head on that particular night. Drunk people screaming in the middle of the night, garbage everywhere, personally seeing people urinating on anything; probably trying to spell "I'm stupid" in the snow, the list goes on and on.

SO you think the cops trumped up the charges? Sorry buddy. The cops did their job, and responded to that particular house on numerous complaints. These poor little kids knew exactly what they were doing, and from the results left behind, had no sense of remorse or conscience while doing it.

Birds of a feather flock together or so they say - one can only reasonably deduce that the entire group had a notion of what the evening really was about - destruction of the era. Nothing more.

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bikegirl 7 years, 2 months ago

I'd like to know why the landlord was not maintaining his property all along?Does he not have any responsibility here? He knew who he was renting to,He allowed the parties to go on and on.This house has had a reputation for almost 30 years as a "party house"What these young men did was wrong,yes,but what good will come with such excessive charges?Do we throw thier lives away over this?Give them a chance to become better citizens.Yes they need to be punished,but fairly.Restituion,community service,probation,minimal jail if any.The damage they created harmed themselves and thier landlords pockets,keep it in perspective.

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thecondoguy1 7 years, 2 months ago

I can't believe you people blaming the police and the property owner, give me a break, if this were my boy I would not have a nickle in legal fees, he would confess and pay up, period.............

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another_local 7 years, 2 months ago

I would like to see them get hit with about 30K each in restitution, 1000 hours of community service and a 24 month continuance where charges would be cleared if restitution was paid and service performed with no additional brushes with the law. Serious punishment, but with a chance to get out of this mess without a felony conviction.

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sickatheart 7 years, 2 months ago

To the Steamboat Community:

Contrary to the complicity theory, the boys called it an "end of an era" party, not a destruction party. What happened got out of control after very many unknown people, including many seemingly high school-aged youths, crashed the party. Up to 70 people were there at its height. After trying and failing to stop the excessive damage, the accused fled, knowing that police were called and expecting them to come and control it. But they didn't come, whether the fault lies with the dispatch message or not.

There are other names and faces to be held responsible, but so far only these four have been investigated and charged. Perhaps we should ask why? Who is being protected here? Does the police department's negligence figure into the "upped" charge of complicity to keep it contained to the four for total responsiblity?

Just as in the Sweet Pea case, there are other sides to be heard, explanations to be given, defenses to be acknowledged. As with most things in life, nothing is ever just black or white, not even newspapers anymore.

Please be careful with the lives of young men who have never been in trouble or arrested in their lives before. A felony charge that comes as a result of more than only $500 of damage, and now with the potential of 12 years in jail, is already terribly extreme, considering the cost of property and living in Steamboat, and the sky-rocket prices of construction at $1,000 per square foot. Some balance has to be restored, some laws revised.

The young men have sincerely learned their lesson; they are repentant and terribly frightened. These are absolutely not violent young people. They are willing to make restitution that is just, sane, and fair, and to make proper amends to the victim and the community. Isn't that what we want our youth to learn when they make a sad mistake? These are not the sons of wealthy people. Their parents are taking out loans to pay their attorney's fees and offer just restitution to avoid a life-long felony record and incarceration. They are the sons of people like yourselves. Just as you would want for your own children, please find some mercy in your hearts, rather than outrage, There's too much of it in the world as it is.

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dave reynolds 7 years, 2 months ago

as sincere as your blog sounds..you do the crime expect to do the time there biggest mistake was LEAVING if they truely had no intent of doing damage why did they run..put there tail between there legs and ran..had a simaler incident happen at a party my roomates and I had..know what we got RESPOSIBLE people to gether and threw out the idiots...these punks lives are ruined now..but live and learn

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CoJustice 7 years, 2 months ago

Sickatheart: To accuse the department of negligence is a fabricated and a trumped-up charge. To place a call to the department regarding a party falls under the ("This is my problem, now I am going to make it yours") policy, and adding negligence to it, is not going to justify transfer of blame. Sorry not buying it.

They were most likely on one of their important calls of "turn-signal violations".

The truly sad portion is the parents are paying for their mistakes, and in the event the parents stick with "transfer of blame" to the department scandal, I hope this case financially devastates them. Shame on you.

So how many people are you going to have "circling the drain" for your kids?

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kingsride 7 years, 2 months ago

Oh bike girl you are so correct on many of your points. Previous owner(s) could have been held accountable as this place should have been considered a "public nuisance" years ago. Its the see no evil hear no evil mentality that has existed for years here..until something goes wrong. These guys do need to be held accountable for their actions but in all honesty this isnt the first serious incident related to this house and who couldnt see this coming?

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OnTheBusGus 7 years, 2 months ago

Who was on the lease? That is who is responsible. I have a lease and I am responsible for my houeguests. If I somehow found the time to have a party and one of my guests got out of hand they would be asked to leave. If they didn't leave the next logical thing to do is call the police. Now, they might be on a turn signal or barking dog call, but I would hope they would mediate the situation. In regards to these parents bailing their kids out I have to ask how many times have they done this? Will they do it again? They are only enabling negative behaviours. My brother got into some trouble in his late teens and my mother continued to bail him out time after time. It wasn't until family begged her to leave him in jail and let him sort out one certain offense on his own that he finally stopped acting like an idiot. He definitely learned a lesson and admitted that he felt no responsibilty for his actions since he knew that our mother would bail him out every time. That was definitely the turning point for my bro and he's been flying straight ever since. Yes, we all do stupid things in our youth but you have to own up to your mistakes if you get caught. =)

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Ms_E_Bronte 7 years, 2 months ago

anotherlocal: I agree with your comments...while not excusing any of the individuals involved (known and unknown) putting these young adults into the penal system just doesn't fit the crime, in my mind. Some good has to come out of this, after all--again, not excusing their conduct--no lives were lost, the house is back together. All material things. Think about it.

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bikegirl 7 years, 2 months ago

condoguy-These guys are fessing up and paying up,they are not making excuses or blaming others.They have admitted and acknowledged what they have done wrong I just don't see how sending them to prison fits the crime,or will help anyone in the long run.They are not a threat to our community.

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thecondoguy1 7 years, 2 months ago

Ms E, sombody has to be killed before a wrong is valid??? give me a break..........

Gus very well put, thank you..............

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CoJustice 7 years, 2 months ago

The result at the end of the work product produces the BG defense strategy. (BG=Blame Game). The knuckleheads in the DA's office set precedence using their PP policy (Petty Politics), you often times end up with;

BG in a working trial, with PP policy, sometimes you can throw in a PI, you get a diluted case. Defense is hoping for a common jury that cannot process BG's from PP's to determine the BS.

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thecondoguy1 7 years, 2 months ago

bikegirl, they have not gone to prision yet, I for one sure hope they do, keep in mind these are grown men they are not children, please check the definition of adult in the state of Colorado. this was a premeditated on going crime by grown men, give me a break........

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thecondoguy1 7 years, 2 months ago

p.s bike girl. if they have admitted to the crime why the lawyers? why the trial? what is a not guilty plea? did you read this article? these boneheads and their bonehead lawyers are pleading not guilty, and their fool parents are paying for it, they are all going to get what they deserve.............give me a break.

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bikegirl 7 years, 2 months ago

Well ,they are being advised by thier public defenders.You assume parents are paying.They aren't. I think our DA's office could go after more serious offenders in our community than a bunch of stupid young men.

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OYvey 7 years, 2 months ago

Bikegirl -- your opinion may differ had you just purchased this property....yikes! Where is the respect?!?! To you it might not seem like that big of a deal, but to a property owner it means a lot!

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SummitCo 7 years, 2 months ago

Hey Bikegirl. I'm a stupid young man. Please give me directions to your place so I can do 100,000 in damage to it. Thanks. I'm bored.

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clarify 7 years, 2 months ago

None of these young men were on the lease. Not a one. This was not a responsibly run property. The new owner, unfortunately didn't have a chance to change the vibe at the place before the party. But as many stated before it was a long term party house. All three sides are at fault: the negligent property management (old), the police and the obviously, the young men. Did you all know they offered to do the work to repair the home themselves and to pay the actual expenses? These aren't the biggest boneheads ever. They do have a concious and have shone remorse. Also, it is important to note that the victim, a prominent member of steamboat society, the same steamboat society that the DA is supposed to represent, wants charges to be reduced or dropped for one of the young men, Walsh. If the victim has a particular point of view on this young man, the DA and Steamboat should take heed before the mob histeria reaches unreasonable proportions. I mean really. Let them pay for the actual damages, do a bunch of community service time as an apology to steamboat at large and take some misdemeamor charges. Lesson learned for everyone. Jail time and felony conviction charges are extreme. They have learned their lesson I'm sure.

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bikegirl 7 years, 2 months ago

You guys are missing my point,yes these guys were stupid,disrespectful,and caused damages,no one is arguing that.The question is do they deserve to go to prison for what they did.The punishment should fit the crime.The new owner asked the DA to offer Walsh a lighter punishment.The DA is power tripping because he can.

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sickatheart 7 years, 2 months ago

I want to respond to some of these mistaken understandings, since much of this case is already being tried in the press through these comments. There are no public defenders involved. I will speak plainly as a parent of one, hoping some of you might relate.

I'm a divorced mother of three. As a teacher, I made $42.000 last year before taxes. I have hired a lawyer because I do not want a felony conviction ruining my son's life. He has never been arrested, never committed a crime, and has never, ever been violent. Felonies are extremely serious crimes in Illinois which usually involve physical violence or a threat of it, so that's my greatest fear.

Yes, my son ran after trying to stop the craziness. And it was a huge mistake; he ran out of fear. But then he cooperated with the police from the start at my direction. I have raised my kids to respect police and take responsibility for mistakes. We did not hire a lawyer until after his evidence was tape recorded. I trusted that his cooperation would work in his behalf, which was my huge mistake.

My son contacted the victim almost immediately, with a sincere apology and offer to work for him to clean the damage. He would plead guilty to a misdemeanor. I am taking a loan out to repay the victim his deductible and to offer restitution at three times the amount of damage attributed to him. That is the most I can do. If he winds up responsible for more than what I can borrow, and for much more than he did, then he will have to pay for many years and the damaged parties will have to wait for monetary restitution. My son will do community service.

What went on in that location for years is not his fault. My fault was in allowing him to go to Steamboat for junior college because he loves the mountains and making art. It cost the same as tuition in Illinois, and we thought, wrongly, he could establish residency. He has community members, employers and teachers who have writtten in his behalf. The victim, Jon Wade, has been incredible in his forgiveness and support of my son, advocating in person at the hearing to the DA. If we cannot make an agreement, he absolutely will plead not guilty to a felony, and then there will be a lengthy, costly jury trial, costly to the county as well as to us. But would any of you not do all in your power so your kid's life would not be ruined with a felony conviction? A kid who's never been in trouble before deserves one first chance to prove himself, doesn't he?

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sickatheart 7 years, 2 months ago

To justify the implication that police might have been able to curb the damage, see the below quote from the victim from the Pilot on April 17th before accusing others of "transfering blame." That was never the intent. It's just to show this case is not clear-cut and there are complications. Here's the quote:

"I have a hard time understanding how that could be a miscommunication," Wade said. "Damage could have been prevented, and they could have seen the guy swinging the hammer and cuffed him."

I'm sorry someone thinks we should be "financially devasted" and our kids lives ruined. I'm glad the victim doesn't think like that.

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CoJustice 7 years, 2 months ago

Clarify: The participants on this forum are not the ones that raised the bar, or set the standard as to how the case was going to proceed, your attorneys and parents did that by allegation that the police department is at some kind of fault. When you lay blame on the police your are directly responsible for planting a major distraction of fault. You are repulsive.

Sickatheart: Caution who you place blame on, we are not going to stand by and let you, your kids and their attorneys demoralize our police department. Again, you set the standard; the people on this forum did not. You will not get any compassion from me, I am more interested in defending our public servants.

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bikegirl 7 years, 2 months ago

sickatheart-Yes ,these young men deserve a chance,I hope things work out for them.They are basically good kids who used terrible judgement and really screwed up.I know one of these young men through his art,and I know he is sorry and trying to do the right things in his life.He has owned up to his part in this and he is an excellent student,son ,brother and human being.Convicting him of a felony and sending him to prison will serve no greater purpose than to satisfy the DA.

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sickatheart 7 years, 2 months ago

The attorneys and the kids never brought the police into this issue. The charges were raised for the boys before this topic was discussed for the first time on this blog. Again I ask why the complicity theory? Why are others at the party who did worse damage not being investigated and charged?

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CoJustice 7 years, 2 months ago

These children are guests in this community. How do you think residents of other communities in Ohio, Illinois, and Oregon would feel if the tables were turned, and we started to demoralizing their police departments, and getting on their local forums? just courious, you dont need to answer.

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clarify 7 years, 2 months ago

Sorry CoJustice, I'm an adult woman, married, mother of two myself, who knows several of the young men involved. I am not one of the accused defendants. I am also the daughter of a police officer, grand daughter of a sergeant, great neice of a leutinant, and great granddaughter of two sergeants. I am from a police family and believe in justice. My father is also a landlord and contractor and my husband a real estate broker and I know the value of owned property as a homeowner myself. Calm down brother (in blue, i assume).
Big picture, big picture... Punishment needs to fit a crime. This is not eco-terrorism or physical assualt. These is four rowdy college kids who had a party that got out of hand and at least one of them is working earnestly to fix the situation with the victim.

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clarify 7 years, 2 months ago

PS who isn't a guest of Routt County? The whole town is made up of out of towners. Locals have been forced out by out of towners and the ensuing property price increases. The whole guests of colorado thing, I feel, is a trumped up emotional ploy to rally the troops that has nothing do with the crime committed. A "local" kid (steamboat born and raised) stabbed one of the accused for trying to break up a fight last november. This a crime the local boy was found guilty for, not just word of mouth blabber. People are flawed no matter their place of birth.

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another_local 7 years, 2 months ago

All this talk about the police is a distraction. Sure it would have been nice if they had noticed something that drew them into the house in time to spare damage but it is hardly their fault that that did not occur. Blaming past occupants, owners and guests is all beside the point too. These "kids" did the damage and nobody else made them do it. If there ware other participants I hope that our law enforcement is seeking them so they can bear their share of the responsibility.

I also believe that in most cases, people deserve one shot to make things right without incurring a lifetime burden. As I stated above, I think these perps should caugh up $30,000 apiece (Not the just the deductable, they should have to repay the insurance company too) and they should get a hefty dose of community service. If they do those things and keep their noses clean for a couple years they should get out of this without jail and without a felony.

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sickatheart 7 years, 2 months ago

to CoJustice: I have remained silent for months out of fear--fear that the authorities could hurt my son more if I spoke out. But this is America, and a democracy, with free speech that we fight to protect. But just to raise a point of notice is not meant to demoralize a police department, just as to critique what this US administration has done is not to undermine or fail to support our troops.

The police have not been brought into this case legally or officially in any way. My son was a paying, working resident of that community for two and a half years. That party was full of children of community residents.

I am a former police officer, a third-generation member of a family line of "Boys in Blue." I was on the Chicago Police Department from 1976 to 1981 (think John Wayne Gacy times and the Old Mayor Daley). I was in Patrol for 2 years and then an Investigator and Youth Officer for 3. I quit when I had my first born. The job of handling children as victims was too depressing and I saw myself becoming hardened. I thought being a teacher could do more good for the kids of today. My dad was a Court Sergeant during his last 15 years of a distinguised career, and I spent many hours as a child watching cases in the felony and misdemeanor courtrooms he ran, which is why I am so baffled at what's happening here. I have enormous respect for fellow officers, which is why I felt so betrayed after placing my trust in the investigator, holding off on an attorney, and having my son be a key person in giving evidence. In the end, none of that mattered. I am appealing to the community for consideration because I am at my wit's end. Forgive my presumptuousness, if that's how you see it.

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kingsride 7 years, 2 months ago

local; The civil suit by the insurance company to recoup their payout is sure to follow.

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CoJustice 7 years, 2 months ago

Your public appeal for understanding and compassion is very convincing. I know you did not come up with the term "does the police department's negligence figure into the "upped" charge of complicity" by yourself. I agree a lot with what everyone has shared. However I think an apology to the SSPD is in order prior to any other consideration.

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sickatheart 7 years, 2 months ago

to CoJustice: I do apologize if it will help gain more of the community's compassion. Can you concede that in this case, absolutely nothing has been gained by cooperating with the police, offering apologies and reasonable resititution? What are our shared values? Isn't this what we teach our kids?
There is no doubt that I am angry with authorities for disregarding all our efforts at making amends. And would anyone venture to answer my query as to why the complicity charge and why others have not been investigated? Having the charges upped instead of lowered was devastating.

To Another-local: I appreciated your comments; they are measured and balanced, but please notice what the Police Captain in the above article said about the actual damage not being directly related at all to the alleged crime, when people are throwing out figures like $30,000 per kid. That amount of money places an enormous burden on people from our income levels. I can't pay it. I couldn't borrow that much. How long will it take a 21 year old who makes $9.50 as a cook to pay it back? How many jobs can he get when he could have to check the box that says he's been convicted of a felony? Things must be put into perspective, I think. Thanks for the opportunity to dialogue without any name-calling or mean-spirited attacks.

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housepoor 7 years, 2 months ago

Have you seen the new tenants? Same situation. Last night party until 8am.........Mr Wade obviously learned nothing from the situation. The house was trashed before the party, that unit needed to be gutted and the appliances were 20 years old. A crime was commited but com'on....frauds a crime also

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dave reynolds 7 years, 2 months ago

interesting..housepoor..makes me think..scary thought...having been there done that(party scene and drugging) I never once thought of trashing a place like what happened..SSPD goes on a lot of BS calls.so whom ever put that part into play is trying to take away from the real crime here..sickatheart your blogs are passionate and sincere still what happened there that nite was wrong if your son saw what was happening why didn't he stop it before it escalated to that level..i'm sure he had friends? that would back him up what ever happens here it is a true lesson..think before you act

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housepoor 7 years, 2 months ago

The property is the same state as it was a year ago, taje a drive by this am and take a look

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thecondoguy1 7 years, 2 months ago

dub's girls didn't bust up sombodys house to the tune of $115 grand, sombody elses property, how obvious does it have to be? did you see the photos, they maliciously demolished that place, I beg of you to tell me what gave them the right to do that, please, WHAT GAVE THEM THE RIGHT TO DO THAT???????

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bikegirl 7 years, 2 months ago

Well,even gdub's daughters got a second chance.

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Ms_E_Bronte 7 years, 2 months ago

sickatheart: I'm listening to what you're saying...hang in there...sorry you're being attacked so harshly...please read my previous comment.

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thecondoguy1 7 years, 2 months ago

skiin, this is terrific, now we are going to blame the insurance company, problem solved the court will determine who is responsible and what the consequences will be, those grown men, are going to have to live with that. at least you haven't blame George Bush,,,,,,,,,,yet.

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skiinfool 7 years, 2 months ago

A yearly visitor: The justice system/society NEEDS a bit of a parent in these cases. Especially when it involves 4 VERY young men (definition of "adult" on the books, aside) with no prior criminal history. When your child breaks a rule for the first time - do you beat him bloody and senseless so that he fears and loathes you and approaches his life saddled with that fear- possibly to go out and do worse crime to you or to others? Or, do you make sure he is adequately punished and made to appropriately pay for the crime so that he thinks to himself "Geez, that was really wrong. I feel horrible for having done it and I sure won't do it again." This is about societal laziness when it comes to doing our job at keeping each other in check- Let's just throw a felony at them, let's not actually try to make sure they're going to be good citizens. And, anyone that comes to this forum knowing with an utmost certainty that their kid would "never" get involved in something like this is a fool and probably a hypocrite. We've all had people in our lives do surprising things. We've all been to parties and gotten a little crazy on our own level. So, let's have a bit of empathy and compassion. These kids did great wrong. These kids need to learn their lesson. It shouldn't just be about paying the deductible and that's it. They should be inconvenienced in some way- like people have suggested, a lot of community service, a contribution back to the betterment of the community. But, a felony?? And $750K in fines?? What? Why is the DA so concerned with recovering the money for insurance companies? Maybe that's where the blame should be placed- on the insurance companies. It sounds to me like the calculated restitution due here is being inordinately elevated for what sounds like a dump. And the developer didn't even turn it into something better for the community- sounds like he just spiffed up a dump. You could go on and on here... To close, the kids should be punished- not ruined. Everyone have a little empathy.

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bikegirl 7 years, 2 months ago

Again.the dollar amount is 15,000.nobody is arguing what they did was wrong.I am saying,fit the punishment to the crime with fairness.Sending them to do hard time will not benefit anyone,not the property owner,the young men,nor our community.Give them a chance to become positve young men by serving community service and giving back to our community.Don't just lock them up,they are not a threat to anyone.

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stmbtprof 7 years, 2 months ago

I have seen way too many out of state kids at CMC who were spoiled rotten. Their attitude is Mom or dad will take care of it...they have no accountability or resposibility for their actions..it is just getting worse....the kids get into trouble and Mom or dad try to find someone to blame..it is always no my kid...it is someone elses fault the college , the dorm. the profs, the cops....teach respect and make them pay for everything themselves..then they will be too busy working for their ski pass, and know the value of money and have some respect for other people's property. And mom and Dad quit running to help them...that is called ENABLING!!!

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thecondoguy1 7 years, 2 months ago

Again. bikegirl, you don't get it, the purpose of punisment is not to get that pound of flesh, or to get even, it serves to deter others from doing the same thing that's what sets us apart from the barbarians, a little civil order, a little civil order, your buddies will be ok, but if they are guilty they will have to pay, that's the system for keeping order, how about a little order? if they would have pulled this in certain other countries they wouldn't get a trial and they would be going to jail missing their domanant hand, if lucky, if not other essential appendages..........

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skiinfool 7 years, 2 months ago

condodude: that was said half tongue-in-cheek. It's just a discussion to challenge your basic conservatism. I think we all concede that punishment is in order- it's just how much, to what level. Yeah, I think these kids should have their lives upset for the moment... just not for their entire lives. They probably all want to get back to partying and skiing. We don't let them- we make them work for the community of Steamboat for the next year, or whatever- we just don't saddle them with a felony and financial ruin for the rest of their lives.

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thecondoguy1 7 years, 2 months ago

skinfooldude or dudess, what happens for the rest of their lives is up to them..................... due to circumstances beyond my control, I am the master of my fate, captian of my soul.............................

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ringside 7 years, 2 months ago

Lets talk about possible causes and solutions. But to ruin their lives forever if in fact they can learn from this experience? That's one of the questions. I would have to be in the court room myself make that call.
Having lived next to the "house" for the past 12 years. These guys & gals in the house have regular calls made on them by neighbors, tag team on receiving the tickets. Which is why after all these many years and the seasonal revolving door of tenants never go before a judge or get fined. I know of only one tenant that has seen a judge or got fined in all these years. They have it figured out. After months of conversation with the police, they realized they had to start ticketing the people that were on the leases and the same person as well. Not just anybody. They finally got at least one of them in front of a judge. Hopefully the SSPD are still doing that. The city has no policies regarding on going problem houses in town. The police can't act without guidance from the people or the city. Very seldom were the "kids" ticketed.
There are no ways to get any nusience charges made in this town. We tried for years.

10 home owners surrounding the house of shade tried for several years and took 10 letters to the the city manager and went before the city council. They party all nights of the week. That is why the plea's of mercy are falling on unsympathetic ears in the Boat. This was a very notorious house of shade. We even as neighbors would go and plead with the people at the house personally to stop. I begged the city and the police dept. for a mediator for years. No one was able to accommodate that request.
In the town of Steamboat, your rules read that you have to receive 3 tickets a year before you go in front of a judge. Then maybe be fined or do a little jail time.

Call the city manager, speak up and ask the city to make a policy about repeat problem party houses.
I am amazed that someone hasn't gotten killed by a drunk driver coming off that property. I know some tickets were written for that. But many have gotten away. The city and the college needs to step up to the plate but they can't without your direction as townspeople. Good luck.

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JazzSlave 7 years, 2 months ago

ringside:

That's one of the most cogent posts in this thread. If what you and other residents proximate to the problem say is true, then shame on SSPD and/or the civilian authorities who haven't given the cops the teeth they need to crack down. Hopefully, this can be the impetuous to change that.

Re: all those wailing about the perps' youth and how we were all young once cry me a freakin' river. If one is sufficiently irresponsible to cause/allow to happen the deliberate destruction of private property, one deserves whatever one gets when caught.

Depending on priors, it's unlikely than anything close to the maximum will be imposed. I won't shed any tears if they wind up doing time, even if it is the maximum.

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ringside 7 years, 2 months ago

Thank you JazzSlave,

The letters should still be at the city managers office that we the neighborhood took to the city. I hope some one makes a phone call as I no longer live in the area. They know me, we've met, several times regarding this house. FYI In order for a person to get a ticket, the complainant must sign the ticket. What I did was to sign it illegibaly so they could get served. but I wouuld not have repercussions. That ment I had to get out of my house at all hours of the night and times of the year to do that. Which is why I couldn't understand how that house could continue to be so problematic for so many years. Calling anonymously does nothing to get the perpetrators in front of a judge. the poilce will go there and ask them to stop. Some of the house guests hide in the surrounding bushes only to return 10 min. later and start up again.
There was another neighborhood that wanted to unite with us because they had another party house by them as well.

According to the police department there are 8 other houses like that of the shade in the Boat. With the same ongoing problems. Those are your tax payer dollars that pay the police. We just wanted the ordeniences enforced. We couldn't get it done. We went to the planning dept. to find out what the zoning is there. It was for three people and I can tell you at least 8 to 10 people lived there. When the Steamboat Pilot wouldn't talk to us because they were in the process of putting the previous home owner on the front page of the Sunday paper about what an unjustice was being put on him by the city. Poor, Poor home owner. It was awfull what happened up there on all accounts and I'm sure we only know a fraction of what really went on.

When I found out from the previous writings that it is still going on up there. I am stunned with all we did and that things have not changed. You should be real concerned about this as a city. This is a big deal.

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ringside 7 years, 2 months ago

Evidently my comments silenced a town. I'll be go to heck. that's a first.

Hopefully your are busy getting activated. I still think the previous homeowner had a great deal to do with what happened there and should be held accountable as well, from his lack of his response. He was not ignorant of what was going on there since the "house" was in the paper in the police blotter frequently. The Shady Curry Holding Co LLC ( I think I have the right name) It' on public records at the court house. . Hense the name "House of Shade" was born. The city wrote to the address they had on file a couple of times with no response from them/him. It turns out the he lived in Oak Creek, so he was close. The same guy that collected the rent checks and was responsible for the property finally came forward as a responsible party to have his story and his photograph on the front page of the local news paper walked away with a large chunk of change on that sale of the house. He left devistation in his wake. It is horrible what happened there, on so many levels.

I can't belive there has been no response to "the rest of the story." but it looks like the previous owner was indeed Shady as well. He has a large part to do with the drama that unfolded there and that is still being played out there.

I feel for you citizens.

I am changed because of what went on at the house of shade. the depth of impact to me and those around the House of Shade share the same non tollerance attitude.

I guarentee I will continue to defend not only my nation, but my home. The impact of what went on there was great to those around them. I hope the young adults know of our plight. They didn't help the situation at all. They just walked into it and ultimately away from it. It's a bad deal all around.

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ringside 7 years, 2 months ago

Hopefully last and final comment.

I could have walked away from this story but being an adult, I chose not to. There in lies the difference.

I guarentee that if someone would have made a phone call to the police dispatch a second time, to let them know things were escalating rapidly. Someone would have shown up. They might not have had the man power at the time to race up there. Hundreds of man/woman hours have been spent on that House trying to figure out what can be done plus responding to neighbors calls there.
By the time 11 years had rolled around, the police department had grown tired of giong to the House of Shade I'm speculate I don't blame them. Heaven for bid, that someone else in the community needed police assistance at the time. I think it was their turn.

No one shackeled those young men and dragged them to the House of Shade that night. They went on their on accord. With how many cell phones there are out there, I can't bevieve not a one was to be at hand. Gondola Square is only 3 blocks away. There's is a phone to be had there for one thing the Ski area security is there 24/7.

The lack of a phone was not the issue, it was the lack of careing on the participants part.

When you send your "young adults " out into the world and I use the term loosly because of this situation They are governed by our laws. Did you not know that? If they are not ready for the real world, I ask you to keep them close to you and safe. It's costing our city a lot in tax payer dollars to babysit these guys and gals alike.

A conversation about how to handle the other party houses in the future hopefully will begin, followed by action. If it doesn't work make a change. Call the city of Boulder and CSU for ideas. They made policies, they had to. You can ask for help and suggestions, you don't have to do this on your own. I hope this sort of thing will never happen again.

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just_me 7 years, 2 months ago

Everyone here is talking like you were there...YOU WERENT...I WAS. You want to know what happened, ill tell you . I arrived at the house at about 8:30pm, Ray had been home from work for about an hour and had told me and and everyone i was with that we had to dress nice because it was a "formal party" because it was his 22nd birthday and a "Farewell House of Shade Party". "If you had to go to church in 5 minuetes what would you wear?"were his exact words. When i arrived everyone was wearing halfway formal clothes and the environment was nice. Now the only physical damage to the house at this point was graffiti on the walls and the holes that were covered up by posters and other things were hung on the walls to cover them up...and believe me with all the wear and tear of that house over the last 30 years there were plenty of them. I asked them why they "tagged up" the house and they said some of was done over the course of living there the last 2 years, and a few things were done before Ray got home from work and one or two after. The general feel was if anything came up they can all pitch dwon and buy paint and re paint the house. NOT ONE OF THEM EXPRESSED TO ME THAT IT WAS A PARTY TO DESTROY THE HOUSE. I knew every one of the tennants in that house since 2005, i helped move the first guys in and that house was in bad shape. As a result of knowing them i know that they are not bad people. Ray, Sam and Phil were students who struggled to pay rent and eat, Mike was trying to get back into schooluntil all this happened. Ray and Phil graduated May 2007 with degrees. To my knowledge not one of them had ever been in any kind of legal trouble before. Now Ray went downstairs to Mike's studio were everyone was mostly kicking back and reminicing about the last 4 years and he was down there until the destruction happened. I noticed that alot of people i knew were dissappearing and alot of people i didnt know were showing up and starting to find things to put through the walls. This is when Phil and Sam and a few other friends started yelling at people. As soon as the mini wall seperating the kitchen and the hallway collapsed Ray ran upstairs to see what was going on.

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just_me 7 years, 2 months ago

Sam and Phil were yelling at kids who shouldnt have been there in the first place because they did not know them. Ray immediately got on the fire place and tried to get everyones attention. Only and handfull stopped and all our frineds were tryin to calm the situation down. When no one in the house listened or calmed down, Ray went to the room he was staying in and grabbed his back pack and told Sam and Phil he was leaving. At this point i dont know where Mike is, i assumed he left as soon as he heard the crashing noise. Now when Ray left alot of our freinds left and Phil and Sam were trying to get people out. Shouting didnt work and a good amount of people still there no one knew. So Sam and Phil filled up buckets of water and started dumping them on people to get them to leave, this worked to a certain degree. After that Sam and Phil left and i left shortly after that when the more serious damage was taking place. I caught up with each of them the next day just to say hi and see what had happened. when told each one of them what i saw as i was leaving, they looked scarred and dissapointed. When went to see them the next day they told me what had hapened as far as the police were involved. So there it is, thats what i saw and thats what i know. I know all these guys and i can assure you they are all living in fear of going to jail, taking a Felony convivtion and ruining thier chances of travel abroad, getting into a good school and becoming a prominet member of society. Everyone that has posted a negative comment about these guys is doing it out of an opinion offered by this publication. Not once has this publication tried to get the other side of the story. I can tell you that these guys arent rich, bratty kids with parents that will bail them out of anything. I can tell you that these guys are hard working, loyal and keep thier word. Not once in the last four years that ive known them had they ever done me or anyone i know wrong. I understand community service, probation officers, restitution, and even minimal jail time but 12 years? Thats a little extreme even for a law bitting town like Steamboat. I am not asking that you let them off the hook, i dont think anyone in thier right mind would do that, i dont even think the guys would ask that. I am asking that you not judge them by whats in the paper or what you hear from eachother. I ask that this publication write a story that presents the other half of the story and doesnt make these guys look like criminals because they are not. It was a bad situation that got out of control and im sure after its all done it wont happen again. As a member of that i am apologizing to the City of Steamboat Springs, we just came here because this place looked like a fun place to live, not a town to destroy.

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ringside 7 years, 2 months ago

just_me

Take the time and read my imputs as ringside.
I'm glad you posted, Thank you.
I am again in touch with at least one other neighborbood that was effected by that party house.

for clarity so I make sure I am understanding you.

I understand from the piece you posted here, you were a not a member of the household on the lease. Am I getting that right?

You talked further about how you were asked to dress. You arrived home and were asked to "get into formal attire" for the ensuing gathering." You did not leave to redress and honor the requests of the tenants upcoming party and rejoin later when you were properly attired. Instead you stayed there with your enterage of friends which you brought. So did you have fancy clothes in the house?
Just curious. How many people were with you when you arrived? You said you came with friends and did not mention a person greeting you at the door and who let you in or who you were there to see.

I agree that the house was in disrepair and unkempt for a long time inside and out. Which is why I tried to get the city to make a mandate for the living condition standards partialy on your behalf in the rental units in Steamboat. At least we started to go down that path. I am surprized to learn that the previous home owner remained steadfast in his lack of helping your living situation out after all these years. It was a crash pad from it's view to the outside world.

According to you the house was tagged and had holes is the walls prior to that night inquestion, with posters to cover them. Every property I have ever rented in my life we did walk through with the landlord and make note of previous damages so I wouldn't be liable for damages on my vacate. So I can get my damage deposit back or most of it. There is certainly stuff that happens while people are living there. It doesn't require a remodel for every vacate.

Did any see or participate in the prior taggings? Your are right that is a matter of paint later.

When you refer to the "first guys there" when you helped move them in. Do you mean they were consistant tenants for the past 2 years. I remember phil, having met him on a previous incidentant when I had to again go up there to make a correction.
Congrats on the degrees for Ray and Phil.

From your posting I hear that you are the only one who remained upstairs alone. Every one alse is downstairs but you. Just making sure I'm hearing you clearly. Maybe you were getting a beer. Did you ever go downstairs or did you remain upstairs with your entourage? Non of the other tenants were curious as to why a guest would not join them?
Did the uninvited guests break the door down to gain entrance or did they walk in?

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Ms_E_Bronte 7 years, 2 months ago

Ringside...could it be that the previous owner did withhold damage deposits from prior tenants, but didn't facilitate the necessary repairs?...Not to seem rude, but, are you an attorney/judge trying to "interrogate" all those who disagree with what you think? How about taking a deep breath and calling off the "lynching" mob? Seems that these individuals were at the end of the "damage era." And, not to shift blame, if this "party house" was know about for years, why weren't the previous landlords held accountable for what was going on there?

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dundalk 7 years, 2 months ago

Ms.Bronte:

I live three doors down from this party house and most of what ringside states is true and accurate. I was asked to sign a petition that was circulated throughout the neighborhood about this house but because of my spouse's job at the time, felt it better to decline. There was numerous tagging incidents, public urination, demolition and mayhem which happened almost nightly. If ringside is who I think they are, they were very proactive about attending city council meetings, getting neighbors involved and trying to thwart the onslaught of criminal mischief coming from the house.

The police can only do so much and so it is unfair to label the police as being less than cooperative in this case. Ultimately, the older landlord should have been more attentive to the numerous calls they received from neighbors about his reckless tenants. The new owner, Wade, has cleaned the exterior of the house a bit, and I do not hear as many parties and/or noise coming from that corner at all hours of the day and night.

If memory serves most of you correctly, there was some tagging involving Gary Wall's name, so the notion put out that the tagging was over years old is misleading.

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Ms_E_Bronte 7 years, 2 months ago

dundalk...do you feel these four individuals should be sent to prison over this? There are SO many stories about what did/didn't go on at this place, and so many versions as to whether it was years or more recent. Perhaps you could shed some light on it.

The police can only do so much...as a former Steamboat landlord, I personally know that when you rent to three individuals, sometimes that is misread by some to mean 30...even had beds hanging from the ceilings! But, because neighbors called me personally to inform me of the situation, I put an immediate stop to the "misreading." Got the reputation of being a "no-nonsense" landlord. Didn't have any more problems! Most leases have clauses prohibiting these sorts of actions...therefore, where was the landlord(s)--if they were notified about these "happenings"? Seems to me that you as neighbors have rights too. Somebody dropped the ball somewhere!

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dundalk 7 years, 2 months ago

Prison - no. Some nice meaty jail time - yes. Restitution to the owner of the house and oodles and oodles of community service. No slap on the hands for these young men - I think they should remember what they did and pay for it, down to the last penny.

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bikegirl 7 years, 2 months ago

All involved in this situation,Landlord,tenants,displayed gross irresponsibility all around,still doesn't justify sending four young men to prison.I hope our DA and the courts keep this in perspective ,and I hope in the future,the city becomes more proactive in citing irresponsible landlords and property owners.

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ringside 7 years, 2 months ago

Thank You all. Now we're having a conversation. You are welcome for all the ground work that was laid by me and another at the city level. you don't have to start from square one. Can you feel the love? America is a great place to live in that we can change the things around us that are not right. It's a beautiful thing. Ciy councel is an effective tool. If you are living in a place that is so deplorable that it breeds discontent and violence, change it before it happens. You are not in shackels. I have given you the directions of how to get that change done in the furure from my previous writings. Heck they taught this stuff in high school. Please go forth. I have changed many things in my life time and it wasn't from sitting on the sidelines. I may be ringside in this artical but I am in the ring in my life. I perticipate.

Bronte- How can 3 be construed as 30? That must have been like rats in a box. Thanks for clarifying to them. also thank you for reminding me to breath and being concerned for any stress level that might exist. there is no stress here, I'm not the one with a pending court date. Remind them as well to breath and think about their future choices as we don't know how this will play out in the court room. Just so you know I'm only a lowly high school graduate which is why I congratulated the two tenants. I'm not a lawyer but you complimented me thinking I had a higher level of education. I just had questions having been up to my eye brows in this stuff for so long. This isn't rocket science stuff.

Duntalk, Hi. I'm glad things are better and more quiet around the neighborhood. It sounds like it still needs work, on the "house."
When you said "mostly" (barring the things I ommited to date,) what did I miss or miss speak about to date? Can you clairify?. I didn't understand your position then but I do now. Thank you for joining us in this forum It means alot to me, personaly. I'm always interested in my communication (to be mindfull and present.) to listen well and to try to make my community better. Thank you for reporting what you saw and speaking up. P.S. I'll probly chuckle the rest of my life about the absurdity that went on at the "house of shade" havng wittnessed alot of it first hand. Including what we saw go on your property. The ramifications and liabilities were unsurmountable to your property. You had to have been there or close by to have wittennessed what went on there . (I'm still working on my spelling.) Now it's laughable. I wasn't for a lot of years.

Again, let me ritoriate. read my imput. Unless you get involved personally on a city level things can't change. To leave the responsibility on the shoulders of non exsistent home owners which is often the case here, needs to be addressed. I think that is at the core of the issue. Any thoughts?

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Hadleyburg_Press 7 years, 2 months ago

I agree with Dundalk's recommendations. I think that the punishment should fit the crime. The suggested punishment she has made seems reasonable, behaviour altering perhaps, detering perhaps, considerate of the victim, and socially compassionate.

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dave reynolds 7 years, 2 months ago

not only the young men but the landlord too..for not following up on complants..hes just racking in the rent..he shoud be responsible too.

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ringside 7 years, 2 months ago

Let me just say one last thing for today in defense of the police department. A couple of us witenessed, on a bright sunny afternoon a breaking and entering and watched the perps run into the "the house of shade." We called and the police were there in 2 shakes of a lambs tail. The perps were caught. Thank you to the responding officers, long over due.

That is why I'm so curious about the writing from just_me. Just_me sparked alot questions.

When who ever called the police to report not only massive destruction did they not mention there were strangers entering and breaking things up? I think these folks had been there before. A) They knew where it was. B) By Just_me they had an open door policy he walked right in. Just_ me and was not on the lease. I'm pretty sure of it from his account of that night. Just_me accounted for all the tenants where abouts and when they all vacated except for Mike who was missing in action. Just_me acted like a vested renter and was there after all his buddies vacated to be able to report to them the next day what went down with the police. read what he said. Per the planning Dept. there are only to be 3 tenants there it's zoned for familys, RO is the Code there as I remember. per the city on the lease as of 2 years ago. Just_me makes 5. as a tenant. Was Just_me renting a couch for $34.00 a month like so many before him?

Just trying to find what might have happened.

Just_me, consider not going to public forum in the future intill the drugs or alcohol has worn off and you have a chance to digest carefully about the words you bring forth. I appreciate the on site account. You were very brave to let us know a piece of what went on there that night.

Only untill we all speak about the truth and try to fix the problem can we move forward.

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Ms_E_Bronte 7 years, 2 months ago

Ringside...3 or 30...have no idea how it was misconstrued...it just happened, and had I looked "the other way" probably would have continued. A friend of one of the tenants even threatened to take me to court (his mom was allegedly a judge) because I took a "water bong" out of the condo and destroyed it (after the eviction, of course). Responsible landlord, responsible tenants--the key to the solution. Can understand some "responsible" partying, but to let a situation escalate to the degree it did in this situation, with as many tags as they apparently received, then I agree the landlord should also be held just as accountable as the tenants. Maybe the City of SBS should enact a "three strikes you're out" landlord policy...then, just maybe, this type of landlord would sit up and take notice. I can't understand this landlord not caring enough about his neighbors or his property to let this go on. Is it true this house was owned by Shady Curry Holdings? Is this the same company that went bankrupt trying to run a bakery in Steamboat, hired a lot of people to remodel, then left them hanging? Also seem to remember something about some land having a lien on it from one of the suppliers and Shady had to sign over the land to them? Is this the same group who is buying up properties in Oak Creek? If so, they're continuing this type of "management" (term is used very loosely) in that small town, too, but citizens are really starting to speak out about the condition of Shady's properties. Can anyone shed any light on this?

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ringside 7 years, 2 months ago

Ms. Bronte These are all public records at the court house at the assessors office. They must have a record of when the sale happened from and from whom. with any luck. They definatly have the new owner on record. That is where we started way back when. Call the assessors office they will know but you will have to go there to get the records yourself. It has been to many years to remember if it was Shady Curry LLC. or if it was Shady Curry Holdings LLC. I remember clearly that the address was in California and was never resopnded to when the City of Steamboat sent them letters to let them know of the situation at that property.

I would say that what ever the city did back then got his attention. They were just trying to enforce the city ordinences regarding litter and zoning, to many people living there. Which is what prompted "The Guy that came forward to the paper to have his large color photo and story told. I seem to remember I was surprized he said he was the owner. It was on a Sunday that it came out as I remember. It was a big color photo of him and the house. I'm glad you are speaking up about this as citizens but it does no good unless you go to the city and have them make a policy, one that you can help craft. It took Boulder and Fort Collins some time to get it written. The sooner the better. I think your idea is brilliant. You are on the right tract.
Could you imagine the town of Oak Creek being one massive House of Shade"
Is Cargo Rodman still the mayor of Oak Creek? If this is the same group that would be good information for her to have.

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ringside 7 years, 2 months ago

I just called the city managers office, his the number is 879-2060. I spoke to his assistant who suggested I/we put this in an E-mail to citycounsil@steamboatsprings.net asking them to not drop the ball on trying to get ahold of negligent homeowners. The ground work has been laid. Help make the policy. When we were involved the person at the city was Wendy who was at the time the interem city manager. I don't think these young men would have been in near as much trouble as they are now if that House of Shade could have been nipped in the bud.

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