The trial for a local woman facing eviction from public housing is scheduled for next month, but the defendant said Monday she intends to seek a judicial decision in her favor before that.
The Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority in June sued Amanda Tucker to evict her and her adult son from the two-bedroom unit they occupy in the Aspen Country Inn. The housing development is reserved for seniors and people with limited incomes, and the lawsuit contends Tucker failed to report income from Social Security and that APCHA was unable to determine what their assets were. It also says that annual Social Security payments of roughly $15,000 gave them an income, at the time they applied for housing, of $41,822, putting them over the $39,200 cap for two tenants.
Tucker said Monday that she believes the legal action is the latest result of her history with APCHA. The agency also sued her successfully in the mid-2000s, forcing the sale of her home at Aspen Highlands because she reportedly owned some $10 million in Hawaiian real estate.
But that “history with APCHA was all resolved,” she said. “I never did anything to cheat APCHA, I never falsified documents.”
She said she didn’t know that she wasn’t qualified for the home that was the subject of the previous legal action, but believes it has nevertheless “got her a reputation” that led to the current case.
A one-day trial before a judge is set for Oct. 5, but Tucker said she planned on filing a motion for summary judgment on Tuesday, claiming APCHA is harassing her and violating a lease term related to her right to quiet enjoyment of the property.
Tucker in a July motion wrote that APCHA took three months to review her financial records before deeming her eligible for the residence. The lease was prepared and signed in early 2018, after the housing authority “received confirmation” that she had been employed full time in Pitkin County, her motion says, adding she had proof of employment from three local employers in addition to her self-employment.
Despite the multiple jobs, her 2017 tax returns accurately reflect compensation that “is considerably less than the required income cap for Aspen Country Inn,” wrote Tucker, who is representing herself. “It also confirms that the defendant accurately reported her Social Security income and provided release to the plaintiff of this amount as required.”
APCHA has not filed a response to Tucker’s motions, including a motion to dismiss the case. Judge Paul Metzger of Garfield County Court, where the case was moved after an Aspen judge recused herself, said he is reserving ruling on that until after the trial.
Tucker, in the motion that concerned document production, wrote that after she signed her lease in February 2018, APCHA subjected her to a “four-month, unpleasant series of document demands” and repeated notices related to the potential termination of her lease.
The coming motion will say that APCHA has to show the judge that her income is higher than the ceiling allowed for Aspen Country Inn, “and it’s just not,” she said.