An Aspen law firm is suing a local man who was once investigated by the city for allegedly keeping his residence in decrepit conditions, contending that he owes more than $40,000 in legal fees.
Mel Seid, who lives on Dale Street, retained the law firm of Thomas Genshaft Cramer in 2010 when he was sued by his former neighbor.
The neighbor’s legal action against Seid alleged that he “violated various covenants of a certain condominium declaration and otherwise was causing a nuisance on his residential property,” the law firm’s lawsuit says.
The then-neighbor owned half of the duplex he and Seid shared. The neighbor’s suit alleged that Seid was endangering the health, safety and welfare of others, and lowering the value of the neighbor’s property.
Seid was storing hazardous materials inside his home, including flammable material located close to ignition sources, the neighbor’s suit claimed.
City Attorney Jim True, who was at the time special counsel to the city, investigated the claims.
He said Thursday that “the issues we were concerned about were repaired.”
Seid’s legal fight with his neighbor ended when Seid obtained title to the neighbor’s property, said Jill Teehan, an attorney with Thomas Genshaft Cramer (TGC). Seid now owns all of the land and improvements on the property, she said in an email.
Seid also used the law firm in a related court action in 2011, according to TGC’s lawsuit. The suit was filed Tuesday in Pitkin County District Court.
Seid paid the law firm on numerous occasions, and when he began to fall behind on his payments he made “numerous written and oral assurances that he would pay, as agreed, all fees, costs and expenses necessary and incidental to the defense of the litigation against him,” Teehan wrote in the lawsuit.
In trying to get payment, TGC had the sheriff’s office try four times to serve Seid with its demand for the alleged debt.
“TGC also posted a demand for payment and mediation on the front door of the defendant’s home,” the lawsuit says. “The defendant has ignored and has been unresponsive to all communications requesting payment.”
Seid declined comment Thursday.
“I don’t think it’s good idea for me to respond,” he said.