CRESTONE — White Eagle Enterprises LLC owners Brian Kramer and Julie O’Halloran issued Alder Lakish a Notice to Vacate the Premises of their property Nov. 6, but neighbors report Lakish is still residing at the White Eagle on County Road T and has not vacated the property.
Lakish contends that he is a trustee of the property based on a filing with the Secretary of State’s Office (SOS), according to a sheriff’s office report last month. In recent letters to the editor and posts on Facebook, Lakish still claims he is a registered agent with a valid legal interest in the property.
Saguache Undersheriff Jim McCloskey, in an Oct. 26 sheriff’s office report, stated Lakish filed as a “registered agent” for the White Eagle LLC May 11, 2017 without permission of the owners. The Secretary of State’s Office told McCloskey that one could e-file fraudulently by simply providing a name and address.
Kramer and O’Halloran denied ever giving Lakish permission to place himself on their LLC as a registered agent. A third member of the LLC, Brian Hendry, later contacted McCloskey to inform him he also was still a member in good standing with the group and had not and could not relinquish his interest without the approval of the other two members.
Records checked by McCloskey showed that the LLC was formed in August 2011 with Hendry, Kramer and O’Halloran as the principals. The deed was filed with the Saguache County clerk and recorder that same month.
McCloskey noted in his report that Lakish “fraudulently represented himself to the Secretary of State as a registered agent, the Saguache Commissioners, the county treasurer and also the U.S. Postal Service,” because he moved the mailing address so the true owners of the property could not receive correspondence, in violation of state statutes.
Saguache County Treasurer Connie Trujillo said during a phone interview Tuesday that she has repeatedly told Lakish “he is not a lienholder for the property and never filed for [a quiet title or] quit claim deed.” Trujillo said she based her arrangements with Lakish on his presentation to her as a trustee for the property, documented by a filing with the Secretary of State’s office. The filing presented to Trujillo was later determined by Undersheriff McCloskey to be falsified.
When McCloskey questioned Lakish after the complaint was filed last month, Lakish told him he was living “inside the lodge.” Several area residents have expressed concerns that Lakish is living in a condemned building and often has his young children with him.
Lakish said no one in county government has ever objected to him living in the building and that many residences in Saguache County would be condemned for being uninhabitable if there were any legal recourse the county could take.
The property suffered extensive flood damage in December 2011 when a pipe burst following a cold spell, damaging the building beyond repair. Co-owner Julie O’Hallaron said last month that owing to the extensive damage, the state red-flagged the lodge, told the owners they could no longer remodel, fix or repair it and must close for business. It was then condemned. The LLC owners had no choice but to vacate the building.
The building has been vacant ever since. The county could have filed for a deed to the property for back taxes after the five-year mark, but Trujillo said commissioners felt there would be too much liability involved and clean-up and restoration would be financially impracticable.
On May 2, meeting minutes show Lakish had approached Saguache County Commissioners during a regular meeting to request that he take over the property since he had seen it on the tax rolls. He asked for a complete or partial “tax forgiveness” and told the BOCC he intended to use grant money from the governor’s office to open a movie studio. Lakish noted at that time that the property had been condemned.
County Attorney Ben Gibbons said the tax forgiveness couldn’t be contemplated because “other entities owed money on the tax bill.” After Lakish put forth some other unorthodox proposals, Commissioner Ken Anderson suggested any decision be postponed until the June meeting and Attorney Gibbons said they would consider the matter.
Lakish was back at the May 16 meeting to notify commissioners he had become the new registered agent for the White Eagle Lodge on the Secretary of State’s website and was moving ahead with his projects. Commissioners said he would have to work out any arrangements with Treasurer Trujillo and this is when he used the SOS trustee filing to negotiate payments on the back taxes. Only one payment was made, Trujillo said, and the agreement required timely payments be made or the deal was automatically terminated.