Chadwick litigation continues in Steamboat with Friedman in court
December 16, 2010
Steamboat Springs — Richard Friedman, of Chadwick Real Estate Group, took the stand in Routt County District Court on Tuesday to rebut allegations that he owes First Land Development more than $289,000 in a lawsuit related to complex real estate dealings that are a backdrop for one of the most high-profile arrests in Steamboat Springs' recent history.
Friedman denied Tuesday owing any of that particular money to First Land, which has been involved in litigation against Chadwick entities since 2004.
Friedman is a managing member of entities including Chadwick Estates, Chadwick Real Estate Group and RAF LLC.
Attorney Reed Morris, of The Law Office of Ralph A. Cantafio, representing First Land, said the current litigation is related to the $2.38 million judgment that First Land won in June against Chadwick Estates and managing member Brooks Kellogg. Friedman is not personally named in that judgment.
"First Land hasn't been paid a penny on the judgment that was entered in June," Morris said. "So now, we're looking not only at the parties First Land has a judgment against, but we need to start expanding the scope to people who owe Chadwick money."
That, Morris and First Land allege, leads to the involvement of Friedman. Morris alleges that Friedman assumed personal responsibility for $245,000 owed to Chadwick Estates — from the sale of a Chadwick villa to Julienne Lindberg, Kellogg's sister — and therefore, because of the judgment, Friedman owes that money to First Land. A separate piece of Morris and First Land's litigation alleges that Friedman also owes First Land for a $44,301 loan he received from Chadwick Estates.
Friedman strongly denied those interpretations Wednesday.
"Richard Friedman owes nothing personally," Friedman said. "Reed Morris and Ralph Cantafio need the billable hours; they need the press. I really don't."
Friedman stated in court Tuesday that the $245,000 was assigned to Chadwick Real Estate Group, which is separate from Chadwick Estates and not named in the $2.38 million judgment. Friedman also stated in court that the $44,301 loan is classified as his personal income and is not a debt as First Land claims.
"I am not involved individually," he said Wednesday. "Their allegations are incorrect."
Judge Shelley Hill has requested written closing arguments by Dec. 29.
"We'll await a ruling after that," Morris said.
Friedman is a business partner of Kellogg's, and Kellogg is a managing member of Chadwick entities.
Kellogg was arrested Oct. 19 at Denver International Airport on suspicion of trying to pay for the killing of a Florida man, First Land's Stephen Bunyard, who settled for the $2.38 million judgment. With interest, that amount could total $2.5 million.
Bunyard participated via phone conference in Tuesday's proceedings in Routt County District Court. The proceedings gave a glimpse into long-simmering emotions.
Morris at one point asked Friedman whether the financial transfers and classifications were simply a way of "moving money around" between separate entities.
"You can term it any way you want," Friedman replied.
Morris then questioned the timing of Friedman's classification of the $44,301 loan as personal income. Friedman's response included comments about the challenges of the real estate market and the litigation from First Land.
"We haven't had any income for the past couple of years," Friedman said, before directing a comment to Morris.
"Mainly because of your actions," Friedman said.
When Morris asked Friedman to clarify that statement, Friedman said Chadwick entities have seen no significant income for the past two years, at least in part because of the "vindictiveness" with which Bunyard, First Land and Morris have "gone after" Chadwick entities and Kellogg.