Parade of Groans

A luxury homebuilder's dispute with customers results in a felony charge.

But Lambert is still facing other legal hurdles, from a $21,766 judgment in favor of the Colorado Department of Revenue for state taxes to a lawsuit filed by his ex-wife, Doron Kleinman, over the 2004 sale of the Villa Bellagio to Golden real-estate investor Michael Keiter for $4.5 million.

According to the sale documents, the purchase was funded through a $2.7 million first mortgage and a $1.8 million loan from a second lender. The second loan was repaid the day of sale, with interest, from the proceeds of the closing. Keiter put no actual cash into the purchase; in fact, a company he owns was paid $165,000 out of the sale proceeds. In addition, Lambert was given an option to repurchase the property for $2.9 million and was allowed to live there as a renter ("Back at the Villa," July 1, 2004).

Kleinman contends that the deal took equity out of the VB that should have gone to Dorian Homes and its creditors. Lambert has denied any wrongdoing in the transaction, saying that he went out of his way to satisfy lienholders he wasn't required to pay.

Paul Lambert's dream home, the Villa Bellagio, sold for 
$4.5 million in 2004.
John Johnston
Paul Lambert's dream home, the Villa Bellagio, sold for $4.5 million in 2004.
Paul Lambert
Paul Lambert

No trial date has been set yet in the criminal case. Nakagawa suggests that there might be a lesson for others in his ordeal. "If you're going to build a custom house, you must have an attorney look at the situation," he says. "I never wanted to build a house this way."

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