Lawsuit claims former Steamboat Springs City Councilman owes former ranch owners $2.3M for unpaid loan |

Lawsuit claims former Steamboat Springs City Councilman owes former ranch owners $2.3M for unpaid loan

Tony Connell, right, shows neighbor Dan Simon the flood damage to the Saddle Mountain Ranch house back in 2011.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A Montrose couple has gone to court to collect nearly $2.3 million from former Steamboat Springs City Councilman Tony Connell after he allegedly stopped repaying a loan he got from the couple a decade ago to buy their Routt County horse ranch.

According to a civil lawsuit filed against Connell earlier this month in Routt County District Court, Connell got a $1 million loan from John and Christi McRoy when Connell purchased Saddle Mountain Ranch from them in 2007 for $2.9 million.

The McRoys claim Connell stopped paying back the loan and the interest in October 2010. They also claim the missed payments started after they agreed to let Connell start paying a lesser amount on the loan each month.

Alpine Bank acquired the 60-acre-ranch, which features outdoor horse arenas, three barns and stocked fishing ponds along the Elk River seven miles west of Steamboat, in 2012. It has since been purchased by new owners.

Court records show the McRoys sent letters to Connell in October 2016 and February 2017 to ask about the missed loan payments and seek an amicable solution.

"According to our calculations, we only received $204,644.44 of the $1 million loaned to you," the couple wrote in their most recent letter to Connell. "We have been patiently waiting, but with no response, we will be forced to turn this over to a collection agency."

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In their lawsuit against Connell, the McRoys claim they haven't heard back from him regarding the missed payments.

The $1 million the McRoys lent to Connell carried an annual interest rate of 7 percent.

According to the terms of the promissory note Connell signed, if any amounts were not paid when due, the interest on the loan balance would increase to 12 percent annually.

The legal complaint also mentions that all of the unpaid principal and accrued interest is due by Oct. 25, and Connell is responsible for any attorney’s fees related to the collection of the debt.

Connell resigned from the Steamboat Springs City Council in January citing work demands and a desire to spend more time with his children.

A message left for Connell on his cell phone Tuesday morning to discuss the loan complaint was not immediately returned.

The McRoys also did not return phone messages.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10.