By Jeff Todd
GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. (CBS4) – The homeowner who had his property destroyed during a SWAT standoff last summer is suing the City of Greenwood Village for violation of civil rights.
“There’s no accountability, no offers of any kind of compensation. They came in, blew up the house, and offered us nothing,” said Leo Lech.
On June 3, 2015, a police chase randomly ended at the home Lech owns but was renting out to his son. A gunman fired a shot at responding officers before running into the house. A child was in the home and escaped unharmed.
Throughout the night nearly 100 officers responded, using multiple tactics to get the suspect into custody. The home was destroyed.
“Progress has been really slow. It’s just been a nightmare for the whole family,” Lech said.
In June Lech’s attorney filed a suit in Arapahoe County, but the City of Greenwood Village has asked for the case to be moved to federal court.
Lech and his other plaintiffs “asserts two federal claims for deprivation of civil right, and five claims based on the laws of the State of Colorado,” a brief in the lawsuit says.
Lech’s attorney says the most important claim is against the Fifth Amendment which says private property cannot be taken for public use without just compensation.
“The Colorado Constitution prohibits the damaging or taking of private property for public use without just compensation,” the complaint says.
“There’s been virtually no progress, the case is moving to federal court now. The city has offered us nothing and we had to get a construction loan, we’re in the process of rebuilding the house,” Lech said.
He’s hoping the foundation will be poured on the new house within the next week, but knows the lawsuit will take longer than the construction.
“Anything in federal court is probably going to take a significant amount of time. Hopefully the house will be done. We’re hoping for some time in the spring, but I have a feeling the court situation will go on for a significant amount of time,” Lech said.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.