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Community Feels Deceived After Company Sells Lodge For Drug Rehab Center

EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - Residents of a luxury community in Eagle County are angry over plans to turn a mountain lodge into a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility.

Members of the Cordillera community are suing the owners of the village's Centerpiece Lodge, arguing the plan to sell the facility has cost property owners $100 million in real estate value. CBS4's Matt Kroschel found residents there feel deceived by the company.

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"It's not a legal term, but we're absolutely getting screwed," Cordillera resident Tom Wilner said.

Wilner knows the law. As an attorney he has argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

"We are shocked and upset," he said.

Now he's fighting for his own home and his neighbors. He has filed a class action lawsuit targeting Robert Behringer, whose Texas-based Behringer Harvard investment firm is under contract to sell the 56-room Lodge and Spa at Cordillera to the Consumer Care Group. They want to convert the lodge campus to a high-end, inpatient drug addiction treatment facility.

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"It's going to be eliminated and turned into a rehabilitation center. And worse than that, we're told we can't use it. So none of the facilities -- the swimming pool, the restaurants are going to be off-bounds to us because the guy ... wants to charge a lot of money to famous people. We can't know who they are, so we can't go there," Wilner said.

Wilner argues that Behringer and his team lied when they pursued a 2009 modification to Cordillera's Planned Unit Development Guide, which detailed 34 potential uses of the lodge, including the possibility of office space, athletic facilities, an amphitheater and medical offices.

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With homes costing millions of dollars, homeowners are worried if they lose the lodge their home values will plummet.

More than 100 people are now involved in the class action lawsuit.

The lodge is set to close next February while the legal case moves forward.

CBS4 tried repeatedly to get a comment from the Behringer Harvard investment firm but has yet to get a response.

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