Nikos Hecht, an Aspen businessman and commercial property owner, was cited in April for misdemeanor trespassing for being on the Skyline Ridge Trail near Sardy Field. It was his conversation with an Aspen/Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Department ranger, however, that raised brows.
Hecht paid the $100 fine and avoided a court date for the incident at the trail, which leads into the Sky Mountain Park open space. In paying the ticket, he acknowledged that he was in an area that is closed to all users from Dec. 1 to May 16 to protect wildlife.
But Hecht denied seasonal ranger Trevor Washko’s account of their encounter, which includes Hecht saying his home was “right up the road and that he had contributed $1 million toward preserving the Sky Mountain Park.”
“He suggested that his contributions were probably paying me to police the area and that I should issue him a warning,” Washko’s report says.
Hecht denied that. In the end, asked about his culpability, he said in an interview: “If you mean will I pay this extortion rather than go spend a day telling a judge about the improper signage, and that apparently some ranger is telling stories about me, I may just agree to contribute this fine as a conservation gift, as I offered there on the spot both for me and the other woman.”
“I don’t threaten anyone ever,” Hecht said in May. “This is absolutely nuts. I was slightly annoyed; you’d barely perceive it.”