For Denver news junkies with long memories, the December 10 announcement from the Denver District Attorney's Office that a grand jury has indicted Erik Osborn on several felony counts, as well as alleged violations of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, undoubtedly rang bells aplenty, and for good reason. A decade ago, the aspiring big-time developer was convicted in two separate felony theft cases — the first centering on downtown's One Lincoln Park condominium complex and another project in Greenwood Village, the second involving the plot at 1800 Glenarm Place.
Among the investors who accused Osborn of fleecing them to the collective tune of $255,000 was auto kingpin Dealin' Doug Moreland, as detailed in a slew of Westword articles published between 2009 to 2012, including a cover story on March 19, 2009.
Osborn soon occupied a Denver jail cell — quite a comedown from his Polo Club mansion — but one of his convictions was junked on a technicality in July 2012. What happened after that is unclear: Colorado Court of Appeals records from the next month show that Osborn's request for a rehearing in at least one of the cases was denied, and a Colorado Supreme Court document from August 2015 reveals that his Writ of Certiorari in regard to a complaint directed at the state received a thumbs-down, too. Meanwhile, the DA's office confirms that he subsequently wound up on probation for two separate offenses.
Since then, Osborn's profile has been lower than low. But he's returned to the spotlight in a major, and thoroughly unpleasant, way.
According to prosecutors, between November 2015 and the middle of last month, Osborn, 52, owned and operated two construction companies, Oxbo Services LLC and Ozzco construction LLC. Under the auspices of these firms, he worked as a general contractor on assorted construction projects, requesting and obtaining money from owners of homes and businesses that was supposed to be held in trust "for the purpose of paying employees, subcontractors, consultants, or for materials."
Instead, the indictment maintains, Osborn and fellow indictee Joseph O'Rourke, sixty, allegedly used this pool of ready cash "for their own personal benefit, to pay off debts unrelated to the projects, or to pay off personal and/or civil judgments, leaving several subcontractors or material providers unpaid. When the subcontractors could not receive payment of their invoices from Osborn, they demanded payment from the homeowners or business owners or filed mechanic liens. This resulted in the homeowners or business owners having to pay additional funds to satisfy the subcontractors’ claims and mechanic liens."
Because Osborn was on probation at the time, he was legally precluded from opening bank accounts or controlling assets and the like for individuals or groups, the DA's office notes. And as a result, the boom was lowered. He's now scheduled for arraignment on December 19, while O'Rourke's next court date is January 30, 2020.
These developments will ultimately add more steps to Osborn's lengthy trek through the criminal justice system and Denver business infamy. Click on the following clips to trace his journey:
March 19, 2009: "The Osborns' parade of homes"
March 19, 2009 (slideshow): "From big-time developer to the big house?"
November 12, 2009: "The charges are building against disgraced developer Erik Osborn"
November 12, 2009: "The sweet deal that financed Erik and Angela Osborn's Polo Club home has turned sour"
November 20, 2009: "Is Erik Osborn on the lam?"
November 25, 2009: "Erik Osborn is a free man...for now"
December 18, 2009: "Erik Osborn found guilty, faces up to 24 years in prison"
April 26, 2010: "Erik Osborn, Denver developer, back in court today for a second trial"
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
April 29, 2010: "Erik Osborn has a new address: Denver County Jail"
July 13, 2012: "Erik Osborn's conviction tossed in One Lincoln Park case"