Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jesse Murphy

County files motion to dismiss lawsuit


September 28, 2017

The Boulder County Commissioners and the Boulder County Housing Authority filed a response to a lawsuit from a group of Gunbarrel citizens, asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit concerning the Gunbarrel Public Improvement District (GPID). The suit claims that the county failed to perform on its promise to match “up to” $1.9 million of tax funds raised from a 1993 property tax in Gunbarrel approved by Gunbarrel residents.

To date, the tax has raised roughly $2.3 million, while the county has only contributed roughly $1.3 million into the purchase and development of open space per the original tax increase agreement, according to the complaint.

Dave Rechberger, along with Nicolette Munson, Rolf Munson, Laurel Hyde Boni, Dinah McKay, Donald Sherwood, William B. Swafford, Jr., Marilyn Kepes, Donald Wrege and Douglas Johnson are listed as plaintiffs in the original complaint.

Rechberger issued a public statement responding to the county’s motion to dismiss:

“The motion to dismiss is what we expected from the County, an attempt to brush aside the legitimate grievances of taxpayers. We and our attorneys believe this is unfounded. As plaintiffs we stand firmly behind the validity of our complaint, oppose this motion to dismiss, and will continue to vigorously pursue this suit.”

He said that the county’s response comes as no surprise.

“First, they say that we have no standing, that we as taxpayers have no right to bring suit to the county,” Rechberger said. “The second part is that if we did have standing, we are accusing them of fraudulent transfer of lands and that under certain governmental jurisdictions, they are immune to fraud.”

He was speaking of the plaintiffs’ claim that the purchase of land in Twin Lakes by the County, and the subsequent transfer of the land to the Boulder County Housing Authority, constituted a fraudulent conveyance. The county responded that under Colorado’s Governmental Immunity Act, a judge should dismiss the case because public officials are granted immunity from that type of claim.

“The first response from the city, the county or the housing authority when they get a suit, is to dismiss it,” Rechberger said. “It’s very common. If that doesn’t go through, we’ll see how they defend it.”

The plaintiffs have until Oct. 5 to file a response before the motion to dismiss goes to a district judge.

“All of this is working up to whether the case has merit or not,” Rechberger said. “This isn’t part of a legal trial or anything like that. This is a judge deciding if this suit can move forward.”

If a judge were to allow the case to proceed, there would be hearings, discovery and depositions leading up to a trial, so no time frame can be set at this point for a resolution.

Rechberger said that their first request is that the county use funds to purchase the north parcel of 6655 Twin Lakes Road to use as open space.

The county has contended in the past that this parcel is not ideal for that purpose and is defending that decision, but Rechberger said that the plaintiffs will not back off.

“No matter what, the money needs to be spent inside the Gunbarrel Public Improvement District,” Rechberger said.


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