Forgery allegation halts sale of condo project near Denver for $13M

CallComm Mining claims rights to property under contract to Porritt Group

Alleged forgery of lease blocks sale of partially built condos near Denver for $13M
Porritt Group's Jake Porritt with 240 Lake Dillon Drive (Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Google Maps, Getty)

A last-minute allegation of forgery has halted the $12.8 million sale of a partially built, 80-unit condominium project west of Denver.

Michigan-based Porritt Group was poised to buy Uptown 240, a stalled condo development at 240 Lake Dillon Drive in Dillon, in Summit County, the Denver Post reported. But that’s when CallComm Mining, a telecom firm based in Denver, claimed rights to the property.

The $80 million Uptown 240 was supposed to have been developed into 80 homes.

But the project developer filed for bankruptcy last February, putting the project up for sale. After its first buyer backed out, it was supposed to sell to Porritt Group, according to the Post.

At a bankruptcy hearing this month, CallComm made an 11th-hour claim, saying it had a lease on the property with rights to buy a portion of the land.

Since 1998, CallComm has run a telecom site on the property in a prefab building, with equipment and an antenna. The firm’s last lease, signed in 2016, also gave it the right to purchase half of the small property beneath the building at 186 Buffalo Street — an address that no longer exists.

Before construction began on Uptown 240 in 2019, 186 Buffalo Street was merged into the larger 240 Lake Dillon Drive property. As compensation for losing its telecom site, CallComm was to get a condo at Uptown 240 and a lease for rooftop space where it could put its antenna. Also, it would become the exclusive telecom provider for Uptown 240, according to CallComm.

But that agreement was never “memorialized,” CallComm now says, and Uptown 240 may never be built. Instead, CallComm wants to buy half of 186 Buffalo Street for $32,500.

“That right cannot be stripped away,” CallComm attorney Michael Lamb told the court.

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Keri Riley, the bankruptcy attorney for Uptown 240, disagreed. He said CallComm terminated the 2016 lease in 2019, so it cannot enforce its terms in 2024. Even if it hadn’t done so, he said, CallComm can’t buy half of 186 Buffalo because there is no 186 Buffalo.

“It would be an option to purchase 50 percent of a property that no longer exists. Moreover, it would be a purchase from somebody who no longer owns any portion of the property that no longer exists. So, it creates a convoluted layer on top of a convoluted layer,” she said.

Lamb claims CallComm owner John Gazzo never signed the lease termination. “Mr. Gazzo disputes that that is his signature on the termination agreement,” Lamb said.

“It’s a forgery?” asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas McNamara.

“Yes, your honor, that’s what he will testify to,” Lamb said of Gazzo.

“Well, that’s why we have trials, so we can figure that out,” McNamara said. “That’s a strong position that it’s a forgery. It may be one that requires expert testimony on handwriting.” 

The judge set a hearing for Feb. 7 to sort out whether the lease was ever terminated and, if not, whether it gives CallComm the right to buy part of 240 Lake Dillon Drive.

In addition to being its prospective buyer, Porritt also holds Uptown 240’s debt. So, it could declare that Uptown 240 is in default on its loans and foreclose on 240 Lake Dillon Drive.

— Dana Bartholomew

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