Two brothers, longtime Aspenites and sons of a former Wheeler Opera House director, are embroiled in a lawsuit in which the plaintiff, Gideon Murray, accuses Timothy Murray of misappropriating rental income from their late father’s home near the Ute Trail.
Gideon Murray’s lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Pitkin County District Court, also alleges that Timothy Murray has breached his duties as a co-trustee of their father’s estate. He wants a judge to both appoint a receiver and force Timothy Murray to sell the home, which is worth $2.5 million, according to property records.
The lawsuit says that Timothy Murray, who declined comment Wednesday, has promoted “his own self-interests above those of Gideon Murray as a named beneficiary” ever since their father, Robert Murray, named them co-trustees in 2016. Robert Murray died last year.
He established a family trust for the Riverside Drive home and made his sons the beneficiaries, wrote Gideon Murray’s attorney, Peter Thomas of Aspen. Robert Murray’s goal was to allow both of them to enjoy “quasi-ownership” benefits of the home on an equivalent basis while at the same time “mitigating the potential conflicts between my sons which would be inherent in any form of direct co-ownership by them,” according to the trust.
It provides that Timothy Murray can utilize a detached accessory dwelling unit and Gideon Murray would have sole use of the main residence, the lawsuit says. If the plaintiff is not occupying the home, the trust calls for him to be paid the net income that would be generated if it was rented.
The filing alleges Timothy Murray has failed or refused to account for rental income, and to make distributions; used rental money for his own personal use; has not accounted for claimed maintenance expenses; made improvements to the home without authorization; and signed rental agreements without Gideon Murray’s knowledge or consent. The claims include breaches of fiduciary duty and good faith and fair dealing.
Timothy Murray is no stranger to lawsuits. He has sued the city of Aspen at least three times over construction at the Aspen Club and other sites near the home, representing himself in the filings. Two of the lawsuits were dismissed with prejudice, meaning he cannot sue the city again under the same claims.