Douglas Bruce's Furious Objection to Denver's Sale of Allegedly Blighted Lot

Douglas Bruce at a 2015 court hearing.
Douglas Bruce at a 2015 court hearing. Colorado Springs Gazette via YouTube
Last week, Douglas Bruce, father of the controversial Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, otherwise known as the TABOR amendment, blasted the City of Denver for seizing and selling two pieces of allegedly blighted property on which he held the first deed of trust.

After the publication of our post on this subject, Bruce formally filed an objection to the transactions in Denver District Court. The sale wasn't just bad, according to him. It was a "shocking, fraudulent proceeding," a "legal perversion," a "waste of time" and "ongoing crime," and the people involved are "milking it for their personal gain."

That's just the beginning. The document stands as a cry of rage against what he sees as an act of political vengeance for TABOR, a 1992 measure conservatives love for restricting government growth and progressives revile for placing an obstacle — voter approval for tax increases — in front of education reform and more.

The four-page objection also shows that Bruce is a long-form master of 21st Century-style anger that Twitter chops into bite-size rants. The text is filled with CAPITAL LETTERS in standard and BOLD PRINT, underscored passages and random punctuation exclamations (!), as well as asides that vividly portray the quirks of his personality.

For instance, Bruce demands a hearing but requests that it be scheduled for after 10 a.m. "due to rush hour traffic from Colorado Springs," where he lives.

A pre-demolition view of the property at 37th and York. - GOOGLE MAPS
A pre-demolition view of the property at 37th and York.
Google Maps
The first property in question, located at 3701 York Street, is a two-acre spread in the Cole neighborhood that once boasted eight fourplexes; the filing refers to it as "York-Gaylord." But after the land was taken by the City of Denver following years of judicial wrangling, it was sold to TYL Foundation, an entity acting on behalf of the nonprofit Mile High Ministries. In recent weeks, the fourplexes were demolished to prepare the site for development as low-income housing.

Denver City Council member Albus Brooks defends this process and says that the property "has been a community blight for twenty years." Brooks adds that "Mr. Bruce has been completely disrespectful of the community in his upkeep of the property, or lack thereof."

Over the years, critics have branded Bruce a slumlord. But in the case of the York Street spread, he says he sold it in 2003 to Tele Comm Resources, a limited liability corporation based in Idaho that subsequently deeded it to an entrepreneur named Roger McCarville. Months after the second transaction took place, Bruce continues, McCarville wrote by hand a grant deed back to Tele Comm Resources that the latter didn't accept. As Bruce sees it, that means McCarville is still the owner, although he hasn't been recognized as such by courts. But in any event, Bruce retained the first deed of trust, putting him in the position of a bank, not the owner — one of many reasons he rejects Brooks's condemnation.

As for the second property, a smaller plot at 601 Lipan Street, near a Sixth Avenue overpass, Bruce holds the first deed of trust on it, too.

The property at 601 Lipan. - GOOGLE MAPS
The property at 601 Lipan.
Google Maps
But as the document points out, "prior judges have refused to make Bruce a party, though he is the real party in interest by virtue of his first deeds of trust on both York-Gaylord and 601 Lipan. His equity in the former is the entire value (c. $5 million) and c. $1 million in the latter. [The judge] finally verified the illegal 'sale' of Lipan to a billionaire operating a foundation" — a reference to TYL and Ed McVaney, the co-founder and former CEO of the JD Edwards Corporation who's connected to it.

The latest filing lays out this complex web of claims in exceedingly colorful fashion, as epitomized by its introduction, which reads: "Plaintiff and receiver are counting on this new court to reflexively rubber stamp their effort to steal the equity of Douglas his York-Gaylord FIRST deed of trust, which was recorded in 2004, about 10 years before the bogus lien was filed against defendant (NOT Bruce). They now want to SELL A PROPERTY THEY DO NOT OWN and seize the proceeds to 1) pay themselves for their illegal receivership actions, 2) pay Denver’s illegal claim against the FORMER OWNER, and 3) steal the equity of Bruce in his note and first deed of trust — all illegal."

The section adds: "There is NO EQUITY other than Bruce’s deeds of trust. They will also swindle a new
buyer. Denver and the receiver will stop at nothing to use the equity to pay themselves and punish Bruce, NOT a party here, for writing TABOR, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights."

Oh yeah: Bruce is still looking for an attorney to help him take on Denver over his motion to void prior court orders after a hearing in regard to York-Gaylord and Lipan. And he's just as spitting mad about a finding against what court documents refer to as the "Cheesman property," on which he also holds the first deed of trust. In an email to Westword, he writes: "The city's phony judgment for its liens against the FORMER owner [Tele Comm Resources again] is being paid out of MY equity in my first deed of trust — $2.4 million. What was that lien for? A $999 daily fine since June 30, 2010, and other penalties, because the FORMER owner, a Limited Partnership (NOT ME), did not rent out apartments as demanded by Denver." He calls these actions "both corrupt and insane."

And the beat goes on.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts