A prosecutor on Thursday filed 41 charges against three members of an Aspen family who hosted parties for high school students where, according to police, cocaine and alcohol were freely provided.
Joseph Lipsey III, 56, who faces 16 charges, has hired attorneys Yale Galanter of Miami and Richard Cummins of Aspen. Galanter has represented O.J. Simpson and, closer to home, actor Charlie Sheen and his then-wife in Aspen-based cases.
The charges filed, according to deputy district attorney Don Nottingham, are for Lipsey III: one count of distribution of cocaine, 11 counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and one count of possession of cocaine, which are all felonies. He also faces three misdemeanor counts of providing alcohol to minors.
His wife, Shira, is charged with cocaine distribution, 11 counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and three misdemeanor counts of providing alcohol to minors.
Arrest affidavits say the couple, during multiple parties attended by high school students, provided “alcohol for everybody,” a person whose name is redacted told investigators. Joseph Lipsey III handed “bottles of liquor to kids who are under 21 years old and made statements such as ‘be safe, have fun,’” police were told by a teenager, according to his affidavit.
According to investigators, a juvenile interviewed in early January said that he was attending a party at the Lipsey home. Around 12:30 a.m., he went upstairs and saw on a table in the living room “a pile of white powder on a yellow plate, straws, a credit card and a few dollar bills,” an arrest affidavit says. The youth, whose name is one of several redacted in the affidavits, told police that he also saw two adult males, and that he “secretly filmed the powder and the men and sent it to friends on SnapChat …”
Another teenager told police that Joseph Lipsey III “was passing around a plate of cocaine” and that a person, presumably a minor, as their name is redacted, “did some lines, passed it, I guess it ended up with Mrs. Lipsey,” an affidavit says.
“We’d been over there for parties, and there’s been like some beers and alcohol, but like nothing like that,” the person told police, according to the affidavit. “That was kinda weird.”
Investigators allegedly recovered videos and photos from the teens’ phones depicting the cocaine-laden plate. One included a SnapChat image in which the user wrote, “This kid’s parents are tryna kill me” on the screen with the video’s image,” a deputy wrote in the warrant. “The video is timestamped Jan. 3, 2019, at 2:45:36 in the morning.”
Another video taken with the SnapChat app shows the same plate of cocaine, with the poster of the video writing, “Almost did it all,” the warrant says, adding it was timestamped 10 minutes later.
Cummins said Thursday that he had not seen the formal charges and declined further comment. It was not clear if his wife or son, Joseph Lipsey IV, had attorneys.
Investigators allege that a drink containing codeine was consumed at the defendants’ home, as well as champagne and vodka, with the adults’ knowledge.
Joseph Lipsey IV, 19, faces 10 charges, including distribution of MDMA, possession with intent to distribute codeine, possession of cocaine and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He is also charged with misdemeanor possession of Xanax and Soma, a muscle relaxant, and three counts of underage possession of alcohol and one of furnishing tobacco to a minor. The latter four are considered petty offenses.
The Lipseys, who are free after posting a combined $300,000 in cash-only bonds, are next due in court on April 1.