Bankrupt developer under investigation for fraud unloads Aspen properties to pay creditors

A bankrupt real estate developer under federal investigation for securities fraud is in the process of unloading 130 high-end properties in California and Colorado worth more than $650 million to help pay back its creditors.

But no one is getting a deep discount on the Woodbridge Group of Co. properties, including at least 17 in the Aspen area.

“They all range from single-family homes in Aspen Glen or River Valley Ranch, and there are some in Snowmass,” said Laura Gee, who was the managing broker of Woodbridge Realty Unlimited, an affiliate of Woodbridge Group of Co., in the Roaring Fork Valley. Now a broker associate at Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty, Gee said she left Woodbridge in the wake of the Securities and Exchange Commission that led to the bankruptcy.

The SEC has claimed that investors were cheated out of $1.2 billion through a Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Robert Shapiro, who is accused of using investors’ money to pay for his lavish lifestyle. Shapiro, who resigned from Woodbridge in December, has denied the charges.

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A number of commercial properties owned by Woodbridge affiliates also are for sale, including office space at the Willits development ($2.49 million), three properties in Carbondale and one in Glenwood, all of which are under contract, said Suzy Boyle, assistant to broker Lynn Kirchner of Amore Realty in Carbondale, which is handling Woodbridge’s commercial listings in the valley.

Gee and Boyle said Woodbridge’s properties in the valley aren’t being sold at a significant discount to expedite the bankruptcy proceedings. The prices, however, have been lowered.

“They are all being marketed at fair-market value, where previously they were at extreme prices but never went anywhere,” Boyle said. “What happened is they reduced the prices to what they felt was a fair price, not a fire sale, but people are owed money and they’re doing their best to pay those people.”

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