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‘We’re trying to part ways as soon as possible with these guys’

Developer files $200,000 mechanic’s lien against new Grandote owners

by Mark Craddock

LA VETA — Todd Proffit, CEO of Aspen Development Corporation, has filed a mechanic’s lien against Grandote Golf and Country Club LLC, seeking $200,000 reimbursement for work he says he provided to the new owners.

“In simple terms, we’ve been waiting to be paid since Dec. 14,” Proffit said. “We started working on their project Oct. 1 and going four months without pay is too much.”

According to the lien, filed Tuesday with the Huerfano County Clerk and Recorder, Aspen Development is seeking payment for services it rendered to Grandote, including:

“The initial review and assessment of the outbuildings, the real estate offices, entry gate, maintenance facility, roads, parking lot at the entrance, parking at the maintenance facility, barn, club house, retail area, kitchen area, bar area, reception, interior and exterior inspections. Estimates, designs, valuations as well as plans, renderings, elevations, 3D models, layouts, overlays, for future developments as well as existing developments. Coordinated and paid other parties working on the project all in good faith.”

But Proffit said his service to new Grandote owners Aristotle Karas and Alex Headley went beyond development planning.

“I was hired by these guys to put a package together to get them funded,” he said. “(Headley) approached me and asked me if I could put a funding package together for them. They didn’t quite have the credit to get the loan. I ended up signing for them because they didn’t have any real credit or money.”

Proffit said he is not a partner in Grandote – or even an investor. To the best of his knowledge, he said, Karas and Headley are the principals.

“I’m just a personal guarantor just dumb enough to help them get millions of my friends’ money,” he said.

The public-record paper trail of the latest Grandote deal begins Oct. 4, 2018, when a deed of trust on the golf course was recorded, to secure a $1.2 million promissory note between Karas and then-owner Charles Briggs. That note was to come due Dec. 31, 2018, apparently giving the new owners time to line up additional funding. On Jan. 10, the county clerk recorded a release of deed of trust on that note.

Meanwhile, on Dec. 18, a deed of trust was filed with the county clerk securing a $2.55 million promissory note with a list of 20 investors, including Capella Mortgage Corp of Las Vegas, Nev. That, Proffit said, was the financing package he was involved with.

That day, he said, $300,000 was to have been disbursed.

“They were supposed to give me $200,000 of that $300,000,” he said. “They just disappeared. It took me five weeks to run them down.”

Proffit said he visited the golf course Jan 25 and was told to get off the property by Karas.

“I went to the real estate offices to see if any work had been done – nothing,” he said. “I went to the club house – nothing. I went to the pump house. I saw the roof caved in. Obviously no work had been done. Needless to say, I had concerns. I called Aristotle. He told me to ‘get off my property.’ ”

Proffit said a short time later La Veta Town Marshal Harold Willburn called him.

Willburn said he originally received a call from Karas, complaining of harassment by Proffit. Willburn said he explained that Karas, calling from Aurora, would need to file a harassment complaint with Aurora authorities. But he agreed to call Proffit. He said he explained to both men that most of Grandote is in the county’s jurisdiction, and the roads throughout the golf course are publicly accessible. But he did warn Proffit that if he got off the roads, he could be subject to trespass complaints.

“We’re trying to part ways as soon as possible with these guys,” Proffit said. Karas did not respond to phone queries Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

“There is nothing that I can say that is ready to go public,” Karas told the WJ earlier this month. “Nor can I reveal what is involved. There are too many moving parts still.”

BLANK SIGN on the former Grandote golf course

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