One-hundred-fifty unpaid workers part of contract flap

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A construction yard that has become part of a wide-ranging contract dispute between a pipeline company and its contractor lacks proper Garfield County permitting, the county says.

County commissioners decided Monday to pursue possible court action days before a hearing is scheduled over another legal issue about the property on County Road 323 in Rulison.

ETC Canyon Pipeline, LLC, says in a court filing that property owner Calvin Murray and contractor U.S. Central Pipeline prevented it from recovering around $1 million worth of pipes, valves and other supplies from the property, which is keeping it from finishing the 14-mile pipeline. ETC is hoping for a court order Wednesday to let it retrieve the supplies.

Meanwhile, U.S. Central Pipeline has accused ETC of failing to pay it more than $2 million. U.S. Central Pipeline says that left about 150 of its workers jobless and without pay for about two weeks, but ETC contends it has paid U.S. Central in full.

Assistant county attorney Cassie Coleman said Murray had applied for land-use permitting for the construction yard but later withdrew the application. Murray couldn’t be reached for comment.

In another matter Monday, commissioners agreed to pursue possible new legal action against Bill Vezzoso, with whom they already have waged a long-running zoning battle in court.

The county says Vezzoso and Michael Easley are processing natural resources on Red Canyon Road off Colorado Highway 82 south of Glenwood Springs. County officials say the property’s zoning doesn’t allow the activities.

Vezzoso had sued the county over zoning for natural resources processing and other activities on his property near Carbondale, but lost in court. A counterclaim by the county is scheduled for trial in January.
Neither Vezzoso nor Easley could be reached for comment.

The county has taken legal action over several disputes recently. It sued owner Myles Richards of Elk Creek RV Park on County Road 241 near New Castle, accusing him of expanding the park’s size and operating it year-round without proper permitting. The county says the park is serving as employee housing.

In separate actions, it also sued Gregory Selvage and James and Maria Gornick, who own properties west of New Castle. The county says they housed tenants in recreation campers. The Gornicks responded in a court filing that they stopped those activities and are obtaining a county permit.


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