A long-running feud between neighbors has resulted in a restraining order, a counter-claim lawsuit and an Aspen judge recusing herself from the case on Monday.
The subject of the restraining order is Rachel Polver, who is due in Aspen municipal court next month. She was arrested Dec. 2 for allegedly harassing her neighbor in the Common Ground housing complex on Independence Place in Aspen.
Polver four days later filed a counter-claim against four residents of the complex and the Common Ground housing association. One of the residents, Roya Beklik, is a clerk in the Pitkin County Courthouse of the 9th Judicial District.
That led Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely of Pitkin County Court to recuse herself. Fernandez-Ely’s recusal came during a hearing to determine whether the temporary restraining order should be made permanent.
Polver’s claim against Beklik, Michael Sladdin — both of whom are members of the association board — Catherine Lutz and Elizabeth Lasko. Lasko filed the restraining order.
Polver’s claim is against the association for outrageous conduct. Lasko’s attorney, Tim Whitsitt of Carbondale, also is seeking an injunction to prevent the four defendants’ “unfair and outrageous campaign of oppression and harassment” of Polver.
Polver contends that the counter-claim defendants have filed false police reports, and pursued “false claims and select enforcement” of the association’s dog regulations.
“Acting as board members ... Beklik and Sladdin have actively pursued such claims and encouraged their prosecution selectively against Polver,” Whitsitt wrote.
The defendants also have allegedly ignored her requests to repair defects in Polver’s unit.
An Aspen police report from April 2012 says that Polver contacted an officer to report that she was being harassed by her neighbors.
Sgt. Dan Davis said he read emails that Polver provided to him.
“These emails are the [ones] that Polver has repeatedly told me are ‘evil and harassing’ that she has received from her neighbors,” Davis wrote. “While reviewing these emails, I observed that almost all of the several emails are, in fact, from Polver to various neighbors, not to Polver from the neighbors, as Polver has claimed.”
Lasko told police on Dec. 2 that Polver had berated her outside their residences, which are across from each other.
Polver at first told police that nothing had happened, but then said she had called Lasko “a piece of s---,” a police report says. She was arrested and given a summons for harassment.
Lutz, a former Aspen Daily News employee, is Sladdin’s wife. She said in an email that they deny Polver’s allegations. Beklik declined comment.
“It’s such a shame that one person can spread such outrageous accusations and have a pack of lies occupy the time and resources of the court system and the victims in this case,” Lutz said. “For the past three years, we’ve had to endure Rachel’s twisted and nonsensical rants, only to have her turn around and accuse us of what she is, in fact, saying and doing.”
Whitsitt wrote that his client is seeking damages that exceed the county court’s jurisdictional limit of $15,000. That puts the case in district court, meaning Judge Gail Nichols will likely recuse herself as well for the same reason as Fernandez-Ely.
Fernandez-Ely continued the hearing to Dec. 18 and said a Glenwood Springs judge will likely be assigned to the case.
The temporary restraining order against Polver, originally filed by Lasko on Dec. 2, remains in place. It prevents Polver from having any contact with Lasko.