The Colorado Supreme Court has upheld a state Court of Appeals ruling that invalidated an Aspen real estate broker’s agreement to list a multimillion-dollar property for sale and ordered the agent to pay back a commission to a former client.
Joshua Saslove, an Aspen broker who specializes in high-end properties, had contended that he was owed a commission for the sale of a property in 1999 based on an agreement with the sellers to list the property for sale. The sellers, though, sold the home without Saslove’s assistance.
A trial court had originally ruled that the listing agreement was valid and that Saslove was owed a commission for the sale of a property, though the Court of Appeals decision found that the agreement to list the property was ambiguous and not contractually binding.
Robert M. Noone, a lawyer representing Saslove, said the question for the state Supreme Court was “whether the agreement, as written, was enforceable.” He noted that one of the court’s justices did support taking up the matter for consideration, though that was a minority viewpoint.
The appeal to the state’s Supreme Court was filed by Saslove and his company, Joshua & Co. of Aspen Inc., against Nancy B. Oliphant, The Beausant Revocable Trust, The Bearfoot Revocation Trust and Besha Lu Deane Age 21 Trust.
The Aspen Daily News newspaper reported that the home sellers — Adam Trombly and Nancy Oliphant — had sold a one-acre lot for $5.8 million, and that the late Pitkin County District Judge Peter T. Craven had awarded Saslove about $622,000 for a 6 percent real estate commission in the sale plus interest and lawyer fees, based on the agreement to list the property.
The property owners had earlier worked with Saslove on a lot split and a land sale, according to the newspaper. The article states that Trombly and Oliphant e-mailed a statement upon the state Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Court of Appeals decision: “Now it is finished and we can get on with our lives without this … hanging over our heads.”
Trombly’s lawyer, Peter Thomas, was not immediately available for comment.
Saslove has listed several high-profile luxury properties for sale, including the $135 million Aspen home of Saudi Arabian Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz — one of the most expensive homes for sale in the nation.