Let the Buyer Beware

Little meth house on the prairie.

You can find lots of oddities for sale on the Denver/Boulder version of Craigslist.com, the electronic anything-goes classifieds network. Shabby-chic Adirondack chairs, season tickets for the Broncos, "casual encounters" in the Park Meadows mall parking lot -- and now, meth houses.

That's right: On September 13, a brutally candid online entrepreneur posted an ad in the site's real-estate section for a "$65,000 Meth Lab Bust: Cute Victorian Newly Remodeled." Not to worry, the ad continued, the beautiful La Junta property, which boasts three-plus bedrooms, two baths and a full basement, was only a meth lab "for ONE day before bust" and has been certified clean by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

If the house is certified clean, why is the seller spilling its nasty backstory? After all, a new Colorado law requiring property owners to disclose meth-lab histories to would-be buyers doesn't take hold until next year, and even then, such disclosures will only be mandatory if the property hasn't been cleaned to state standards. "According to the statute that goes in effect in January, this person is going above and beyond," says Colleen Brisnehan, environmental-protection specialist for CDPHE.

Little meth house on the prairie.
Little meth house on the prairie.

Maybe Off Limits has found a real estate agent with -- gasp! -- a heart of gold. Or maybe the seller is looking for a homeowner who likes a taste of adventure, not to mention a slight risk of catastrophic explosions. It's hard to know for sure, since the poster of the meth-lab Victorian ad chose not to speak with us. It could be that he's too busy dealing with interested buyers, but we doubt it. Buy a house in La Junta? What are you smoking?

Rocky Mountain high: In coolness, it ranks a little below welcoming the Dalai Lama to Denver -- and receiving not one, but two ceremonial scarves (there must have been a run on them at Pier 1). But still, when a member of the U.S. Geological Survey stopped by the Denver City and County Building last week, he determined that the mayor's office on the third floor is exactly a mile high -- at a spot about two feet below the ceiling.

An onlooker reports that John Hickenlooper -- a geologist before he became a brewpub entrepreneur before he became mayor of the Mile High City -- is "enthusiastic" about leaving his mark on the office. Plans call for putting a nice pinstripe around the room, exactly a mile above sea level.

Between Iraq and a hard place: Former senator Gary Hart is the celebrity draw at the Colorado premiere of Robert Greenwald's Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers, showing September 21 at the Mayan Theatre. (Hart's speaking at 7 p.m., with the movie following right after.) But there's another movie making its debut that night that's bound to be the real crowd-pleaser: Beauprez for Sale, a five-minute clip on how the Republican gubernatorial candidate "has basically sold out by voting for contractors in Iraq and actually taken money from contractors he's helped," says Michael Huttner, founder of ProgressNow, which is sponsoring the showing of both movies -- and made the second. If you miss the Beauprez short, you can catch it later at www.bothwaysbob.org.

Scene and herd: Another tradition bit the dust this month when the annual Longs Peak Scottish/Irish Highland Festival in Estes Park booted rugby in favor ofŠjousting? But rugby still scores big in Aspen, where Jalal Talabani, the president of Iraq, took a break from think-tanking to watch one of the matches at last weekend's 39th annual Aspen Ruggerfest and talk about starting a rugby team in his own country. Š Luminaries from the city-planning field were in Denver last week for "Urban Land Institute Colorado -- Colfax Avenue: Hip, Happening and Ripe for Redevelopment." But the event wasn't too hip or happening for one party-goer, who busted her ankle while walking down our own street of dreams. Whether the blame falls to Colfax or the cocktails she had at RockBar, no one is telling.

Why be normal? That's the question falling from the lips of a lot of normal-looking, even business-suited, people these days. Rob Cohen, incoming chairman of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, asked it at the group's annual meeting this month, telling the story of a pierced and green-haired fellow coffee addict who was wearing a button with that slogan and defied the stereotypes her appearance might conjure up. (Copies of the button were provided as party favors; few captains of industry donned them on their way out the door, however.) And then, when Colorado State University president Larry Edward Penley delivered his fall address last week, he started with this: "Why be normal?"

Only one good reason, really: Look what being abnormal has done to the University of Colorado, CSU's historic rival.

 
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