The eviction of Amanda Tucker from her unit at the Aspen Country Inn is now on hold following a judge’s order to stay all lower court proceedings while Tucker pursues an appeal.
Garfield County Court Judge Paul Metzger — who earlier this month upheld the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority’s decision to evict Tucker following a one-day trial in Glenwood Springs — issued the order on Tuesday. APCHA initiated the eviction process during the summer after deeming that Tucker failed to disclose Social Security income on her rental application, a violation of agency rules.
Metzger is presiding over the case because Pitkin County Court Judge Erin Fernandez Ely recused herself from the assignment. Tucker, 64, has said she plans to appeal Metzger’s verdict in Pitkin County District Court and also in Denver federal court. She filed a notice to appeal in district court and has yet to file an appeal in federal court.
“While this court is not persuaded that a stay of proceedings is warranted pending a federal ruling, it appears that [state law] requires that all further proceedings in the county court action be stayed upon the taking of the appeal by the district court,” Metzger wrote in his order.
Following Metzger’s ruling issued on Oct. 17, both sides have been filing motions and counter-motions in the case. On Oct. 19, APCHA sought a judge’s order requiring Tucker to pay $3,595 in back rent since it did not accept Tucker’s rent payments from June to September as the case was heading to trial. Tucker filed a motion disputing the figure on Monday, saying APCHA had already received $2,589 from her and the balance owed was actually $1,006.
Metzger’s ruling also awarded compensation to APCHA for legal fees. APCHA has notified the court that Tucker owes $22,000 in legal fees the agency incurred in the county court case. Tucker filed an objection to the fee, calling it excessive and noting that the bill wasn’t itemized and didn’t contain an hourly breakdown of the services performed.
In addition to finding that Tucker misrepresented herself on the rental application, Metzger also pointed out that Tucker failed to abide by a written agreement with APCHA promising to turn over several pieces of financial information by certain dates.
Tucker, a former anesthesiologist, claims that APCHA has used heavy-handed tactics to remove her from the two-bedroom unit she shares with her son after discovering that her rental application had been approved inadvertently by a staff member despite the fact that she was already on the agency’s ineligible list. APCHA has contended that despite the mistake, it is within its rights to pursue eviction proceedings because of Tucker’s many omissions with regard to financial disclosure.