Let's Not Make a Deal

Four Colorado transactions that put Tom Chapman on the map

Monopoly houses

Monopoly houses    Photo: Images Of Money/Flickr

Realtor Tom Chapman's practice of collecting wilderness inholdings and using the threat of development to force the government and conservation groups to buy him out has made him a controversial figure in his native Colorado. These four deals are among his most notorious.

West Elks Parcels
240 acres of wilderness near Paonia

The Buy: Chapman's client Bob Minerich paid $240,000 for the parcels in 1989; Chapman and other investors bought him out for $960,000 in 1992.

The Threat: Chapman said he'd build a ridgetop mansion.
The Sell: In 1994, he swapped the land for 118 acres near Telluride, then unloaded them a year later for $4.2 million.

Yankee Girl Mine
23 acres atop Red Mountain Pass, including the headframe of a historic silver mine.
The Buy: Another client, Jim Kropp, paid $205,000 for the acreage in 2005.

The Threat: Chapman and Kropp claimed they'd burn down the landmark.
The Sell: Montrose businessman Mark Young paid $246,225 in 2006 to save it.

Black Canyon National Park
112 acres along the rim of Black Canyon

The Buy: Chapman paid $240,000 for the land in November 1998.
The Threat: Chapman said he'd build a mansion on the canyon rim.

The Sell: He completed the house in 2010 and has it listed for $12 million.

Bear Creek Mining Claim
121 acres near Telluride
The Buy: Chapman and Ron Curry paid $246,000 in 2010, ahead of a proposed ski-resort boundary expansion.
The Threat: Chapman cut off skiers from Bear Creek and has said he intends to plow an old mining road up the front of Telluride Mountain Resort.
The Sell: To be determined.

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