Monday, February 09, 2015

Bitter Legal Dispute Continues Over Colorado Land For Jewish Retreat Center

The Denver Post reported yesterday on a long-running and bitter legal dispute over 22 acres of desert land in Gardner, Colorado that Gary Lensky, an Orthodox Jew who is also versed in Eastern religions, is attempting to develop as a Jewish spiritual retreat center. In 1997, Lensky purchased a small home in the center of Gardner for $29,000.  He then discovered that adjacent structures used by the house's former owners were on property technically owned by an individual who had died decades ago.  Lensky paid the back taxes on 17 acres of the land, planning to build a religious retreat on it that he would call Camp D'ORvid at Casa D'el Arroyo.  Claiming under the doctrine of adverse possession, Lensky then proceeded to file a suit to quiet title not just on the 17 acres, but on 5 additional adjoining acres that other neighbors were using as well.  Initially the court granted his quiet title request, but reversed itself seven years later. Lensky has spent nearly $200,000 in legal fees to try to get title to the 22 acres that have an assessed value of $13,450.  There have also been physical confrontations, harassment and ethnic slurs, with Lensky charging anti-Semitism.  The neighbors say Lensky is trying to steal their land.  A non-binding mediation of the dispute is scheduled for March 20.