Jurors found that the renter, a 60-year old woman named Carol "Chay" Burdick, owes her apartment complex $1,132.66.
Here's the whole sordid, err, sticky mess...
It began when Ms. Burdick decorated her apartment doorway with Easter decorations last year. The display includes stickers, plastic grass, and a four-story pyramid made of purple, yellow, and pink Peeps marshmallow candies. (No word if this attracted ants or other animals!) Her landlord asked her to remove the decorations because they blocked common areas -- a violation of the terms of her lease. When Burdick refused the landlord removed them.
Burdick, hopping mad, stopped paying rent.
To hear her tell it, Burdick sees the Peep-trashing incident as Constitutional issue.
"Freedom of expression, freedom of speech, honoring the contracts and agreements," Burdick told Denver's CBS Channel 4.
Beyond that, it's now become a financial issue for this former tenant. The apartment's property management company, Meadow Creek Apartments, evicted her and countersued for two months of unpaid rent and legal fees.
Good thing it's really about Peep-driven principal now.
"It's not about money for me. I guess you can quantify that, you have to put some kind of quantifier on it, but it's not a lot of money if you think about it," Burdick told Channel 4.
The jury heard testimony from a self-described "Peep expert" who testified that he stores them for years in his garage without problem. The jury was also supposed to hear from an art expert to defend the position that the Peeps display was art, but that was dismissed. Jon Sands, an attorney for Aimco, the real estate investment trust that owns the apartment, spelled it out:
"[The trial] is really not about religion or faith or principle or Easter or Peeps. This is about a tenant who didn't pay her rent," he told the Boulder Daily Camera.
Now that the three-day trial (or three-ring circus) is over Burdick is now stuck with legal fees. She did gain a couple side benefit from jokester Stephen Colbert of "The Colbert Report": an abundance of Peeps (which she handed out at the end of the trial) and an appearance in a skit on his show called "Easter Under Attack":
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Easter Under Attack - Peeps Display Update|