In a move he hopes will speed up the resolution of court cases involving the former Hacienda Inn, disputed owner Ben Trujillo went to the Taos County Clerk’s office Monday (Oct. 1) to convey ownership of the property to S.K. Madan.
Trujillo and Madan have been disputing ownership of the property, located at 1321 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, for years. The town of Taos joined the cases, which were recently assigned to a single judge, in the interest of seeing the buildings either renovated or demolished. Trujillo said he decided this week to walk away from the dispute.
“I’m giving up,” he said. “It isn’t worth it.”
Trujillo said he decided on his own to convey ownership of the property to Madan and went to the clerk’s office without the knowledge of his attorney, Robert Crollett, whom he said was upset upon learning of the action.
“He was stunned,” Trujillo said. “He works for me. I’m the guy who makes the decisions.”
Crollett did not return calls requesting comment.
Trujillo said he is suffering from health problems and is ready for the dispute to end.
“I can’t handle the stress,” he said. “This situation is killing me. I don’t want to deal with it anymore.”
Trujillo said he has spent $150,000 of his own money on fixing up the property and $75,000 on the court cases so far. He said because the ownership of the property is in dispute, he can’t borrow more money to perform further repairs to the former hotel.
“My hands are tied,” he said. “I can’t fix the building.”
Madan’s attorney, Julia Armstrong, said she spoke with Crollett shortly after Trujillo signed over the deed. She said without delivery of the paperwork, however, there is no conveyance of the property, and that there will be no delivery until a settlement is reached between Trujillo and Madan.