A judge on Wednesday ordered the former parent company of Aspen’s oldest magazine to pay a local journalist more than $2,500 for her work on the publication’s summer edition.
Lyssa Myska Allen of Aspen won her small-claims case after representatives from Ridge Publications failed to show up in court.
She said Aspen Magazine hired her for two weeks after the previous editor and other staff members abruptly quit this past spring. After the summer issue came out in June, the magazine canceled publication of its next two issues.
Earlier this year, the magazine vacated its downtown Aspen office space, and on Monday, Modern Luxury Media announced that it had acquired Aspen Magazine.
Myska Allen said she had worked for the magazine before on an interim basis, editing the 2011 fall issue. But for that stint, she requested and received half of her payment up front, “which probably helped,” she said.
“It’s just a bummer of a scenario all around,” Myska Allen said. “I liked working there and didn’t want it to come to this.”
Her lawsuit was the fourth by a former staffer or contract worker in the past five years.
Myska Allen told Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely of Pitkin County small-claims court that she tried to serve a court summons for her lawsuit on both a Ridge representative and Janet O’Grady, Aspen Magazine’s president and editor in chief.
But O’Grady “was ducking it,” Myska Allen said in court.
O’Grady did not return a message seeking comment, and Ridge officials, who apparently told Myska Allen that they would not be showing up for court, could not be located.
“I think it’s a great verdict,” Myska Allen said after the proceeding. “But collecting on it is a whole other battle. I’m not super-excited about it.”
Fernandez-Ely’s default judgment awarded the entire $2,500 Myska Allen was seeking, and ruled that 8 percent interest on it would accrue annually starting from June 12, when the invoice was sent in.
In other court news on Wednesday, a Leadville man who managed to battle a municipal trespassing citation over three court dates spanning three months was found guilty.
Nikos Warrence, 41, was given a six-month deferred sentence. He received the ticket in June after police said he refused to leave the Aspen Homeless Shelter following an argument with an employee.
During the trial, Warrence repeatedly tried, without much luck, to bring up evidence and statements regarding two out-of-county judges he says are orchestrating malfeasance against him.
At court dates in August, September and on Wednesday, Warrence questioned shelter employees, police officers and a county communications dispatcher about what happened on June 10.
One officer testified that when he arrived at the center, after staff called police, Warrence was railing against billionaires on Red Mountain and that he made no motion to leave when told he’d be arrested if he didn’t do so.
Municipal Judge Brooke Peterson ordered Warrence to stay away from the homeless shelter and stay out of trouble for six months to avoid violating the deferred sentence.