Prince’s workers in Aspen receive walking papers
ASPEN – Employees at Prince Bandar bin Sultan’s Hala Ranch showed up to work Tuesday only to learn they had been fired, according to multiple sources.
The employees were given no severance pay and told to leave the premises, sources said. Workers at the palatial estate sign confidentiality contracts at the commencement of their employment, which forbids them from discussing aspects of their jobs.
Bandar’s Aspen attorney, William Jordan III, was out of town Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.
A member of the Saudi royal family, Bandar, 51, has owned property in the Starwood neighborhood since 1992. Starwood is a gated subdivision on a mesa across from Buttermilk, off McLain Flats Road between Aspen and Woody Creek.
From 1983 to 2005, Bandar was the Saudi ambassador to the United States.
During his time in Aspen, he was known for his philanthropic efforts, giving money to various causes ranging from local footraces to Aspen Valley Hospital.
However, he began tapering back on his Aspen trips over the past couple of years, one of his part-time employees said.
His largest estate, the 55,965-square-foot property known as Hala Ranch, had employed more than a dozen full-time workers. That same property was put up for sale for $135 million in 2006; it was removed from the market in November 2007.
One month later, Bandar sold his 14,395-square-foot guest home, also in Starwood, for $36.5 million to Jeffrey Soffer, a developer from Florida.
Aspen real estate broker Joshua Saslove, who has worked with Bandar on previous local property transactions, said Wednesday he had “no knowledge” of the future of the prince’s Pitkin County estate.
“Everything with respect to that property we’ve tried to keep quiet,” he said, “and I respect their wish for confidentiality and privacy.”
Records with the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s Office link three Starwood properties to corporations controlled by Bandar.
The primary home, larger than the White House, is listed under the ownership name of Aspcol Corp. IV. As of Sept. 14, Pitkin County property taxes for the 15-bedroom, 16-bathroom mansion stood at $275,747.
Another home, under the ownership name of Bricol NV, has a property tax bill of $72,046; the third residence, also owned by Bricol NV, has a property tax balance of $19,950, according to public records.
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Several complaints about poor living conditions and dead horses preceded the seizure of 144 horses from Snow Mountain Stables last week, according to a search warrant for the property.